July 5, 1945 Thursday

This is one of my happiest days. I finally received a letter from my wife. I also received letters from all my children Lily, Tony, Dely and Lina (twins), Tesy, Alfredo, Remedios, Pacita, and little Menchu and my sons-in-law, Padilla and Cojuangco. My whole family is well. Everybody is in perfect health, and well provided for. They have plenty to eat, and they have not borrowed money; on the contrary they have more than enough. Tony is engaged in business, and my sons-in-law are helping very much. Paddy is engaged also in business and he made my wife one of the partners although she does not work and she put up no capital. Many friends have brought food, clothing and all kinds of things to my family. My wife especially mentioned Dr. and Mrs. Victor Buencamino, and our relatives from Batangas who gave them rice, eggs, fruits and vegetables.

Such a situation is more than I expected.

Our house in San Andres was burned down. All our belongings, together with my priceless collection of historical documents including many originals, furnitures, and objects of importance like the cane used by Pres. Quezon during his campaign in America for the approval of the Tydings-McDuffie Law which he gave me as a gift of appreciation for my participation in securing approval of the law, were lost in the fire.


November 6, 1944

More bombings yesterday at 12, 2 and 4. Then early this morning at 4 and at 8:30 the Pier area was strafed and bombed. There were many ships there because several Jap divisions arrived. They probably came from Singapore.

Just received a phone call from Ning. He says that a bomb hit Paco Bridge. It was probably accidental. So far practically all bombs have been directed at military installations. In fact, most of the casualties have been caused by the shrapnel from Jap AA guns. One shell burst right in Julito’s room destroying his wardrobe and the walls of his house. His Jap neighbor ran to his hous to find out what happened. The Jap said “indiscriminate bombing by the Anglo-Saxons”. Then Julito picked up one of the fragments and it had a Jap inscription.

Right now we are still under ‘alert’. That means I can’t go out of the house this morning because the Jap sentries stop everybody on the way. They ask for passes or permits and I haven’t any.

There were several fellows here yesterday and the conversation was all about the bombing, of course. Julito thinks they will land in Luzon before Elections. James claims that Atimonan is already being shelled. Mama expects landings somewhere in Batangas. If Mama is right, we may see Romulo and Osmeña and Valdes and good old Mac before the 15th. Batangas is just about fifty miles from Manila.

Deputy Military Governor Figueras was here last night. He said he was called by President Laurel because the President had issued a confidential order “conscripting all able-bodied men from 15 to 50 for labor purposes”. Personally, I believe that labor conscription is worse than military conscription. Under military conscription, you at least get armed and then if you feel like turning around, you can do something about it. With labor conscription, you become human fodder. Imagine having to work in airfields, shipyards and military establishments. Figueras said Laurel told him “Fix this order up to make it look voluntary. The Japs demand Filipino labor for their roads, airfields and military installations.” Figueras said he will try to fix it up to permit substitution. This is a bad arrangement, in my opinion, because only the rich will be able to ‘buy’ substitutes. Figueras said he told Laurel that all young men will go up to the hills if this is publicized. It must be enforced quietly through the neighborhood associations.

Paier, our Swiss neighbor was crying yesterday. He received word that his best friend Carlos Preysler died in Fort Santiago (he must have been tortured to death). Teddy Fernando, a friend of mine from the Ateneo, was arrested a few months ago and his wife recently received word that she may get his corpse from Santiago. After this war, there will probably be many Jean Valjean stories about Santiago.

I’m still very depressed about the news of Eking Albert’s capture. He was actively engaged in guerrilla warfare especially after his daring escape from Muntinglupa Prisons where he was a military prisoner. Raul, who is also in the hills, wrote me a sad account of Eking’s capture. That means that 3 of my close friends are gone. Paquing who disappeared in Cabiao; Johnnie Ladaw who died in Bataan and now… Eking. Of course, there is a chance that Paquing is still alive. Who knows, he may still be in some underground unit?

I’m going to take my breakfast now. I wonder what it is. I haven’t eaten eggs for months now. It costs ₱10. When will I taste bread again and ham and… oh well. Probably it will be a little rice and dried fish because the cook was not able to go to market yesterday. And I don’t think he’ll be able to go today also. It’s good we still have a little supply of canned goods, which we bought four years ago. Heard Dunn of CBS kicking about corned beef the other night in a broadcast to America, imagine!

There goes the siren again….


November 5, 1944

Just came out of the shelter so I’m quite dirty right now. The bombing was quite stiff and the mud on the sides started to scatter all over the place. I can’t stand the shelter so I went out to take a look at the dogfights. Saw a plane shot atop Camp Murphy. First it started to spin downward and then there was smoke and finally it lighted up in flames. I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad. I don’t know whether it was Jap or U.S. The bombing began at about 8 a.m., just after Mass and it ended at 8:30. They came back again at 10. I wonder if they’ll come back before this afternoon.

Perrucho was here and he was complaining about his salary. He is receiving ₱22o plus corn ration of 200 grams. That’s certainly not enough. A ‘papaya’ costs ₱50. If you take your lunch downtown, it’ll cost you around ₱300. Then, of course, the conversation was all about the war. People think Luzon will be invaded before the Elections. Anybody who thinks otherwise is considered a defeatist. Papa told us not to speak very loud because outside the house there is a Japanese sentry. The Japs are very strict these days.

Everything is quiet right now, although we are still under ‘alert’. The radio is still blacked out. If you look out of my window and the see the fields and the carabao wallowing in the mud near Tito’s shack, you’d think there was no war.

Now I can hear the motor of Jap planes. There are three of them flying near Murphy. There are four columns of smoke in the direction of Mandaluyong and another one around Pasay.

Mama’s calling me for lunch. She says we better eat early because they might come back again.

I listened to the press dispatches from Leyte last night. In fact, I’ve been listening for the last of three nights. I like the shows of Dunn, Flarety, Clint Roberts, Cummison and others. The Time Inc. story was also very good.

P.S.

This is shocking news. Eking Albert was captured. You probably heard of his escape from Muntinglupa and his guerrilla activities. He is a great loss. He had a thousand and one ideas and he had nothing but his country in mind. He is a great kid.

Because of Eking’s arrest and the arrest of Gen. de Jesus I am very cautious these days. I have made arrangements for a hurried escape, just in case the Japs start knocking at my door one of these nights.


October 31, 1944

It’s three in the afternoon. Vic’s listening to the radio. Papa is reading Willoughby’s Maneuvers in War; Neneng is cooking; Lolo sleeping and Dolly is looking at the planes from the window. There are many planes flying but they’re Japs. You can tell by the metallic desynchronized roar of the engines. There’s one plane flying very low. It passed directly on top of the house. There was a time –just after Bataan when I would dive on the floor when I hear a plane. I must’ve been bomb-shocked but I didn’t realize it.

Received a letter from a friend in Baguio. She wrote it a week ago. There are no more mail deliveries. If you want to send a letter, you’ve got to look for some fellow who’s going up or down from Baguio who’ll be kind enough to play postman for you.

Went downtown this morning. I was soaked wet by the damned rain. It’s been raining since yesterday afternoon. There seems to be a weak typhoon somewhere. Saw carromatas being commandeered by Japs in Avenida Taft. Heard too that Tio Charlie’s car was taken by Jap soldiers somewhere in Tarlac. He was evacuating to Baguio because the Japs took his house. Saw Feling Avellana who was trying to sell his wife’s ring. “I need it for food”, he explained. Life’s getting tougher these days.

The Tribune says the Americans are shelling Lamon Bay. That’s about 60 miles from Manila in a straight line. Why don’t they hurry up because this waiting and waiting is killing me? Somebody told me the suspense is like waiting for the bride to appear in Church. Saw Emilio on my way home. He was looking at the map.

I can hear the sound of blasting somewhere in the direction of McKinley. I’ m afraid the Japs are planting mines.

Heard the G8s have been tipped to expect landings on either the 3rd or 4th.

Listened to broadcasts from Leyte to America by the different newspapermen there. Liked Cliff Roberts’ “personal report”. Time had a good story on the naval battle off Leyte Bay. Courtney had a good report on the rehabilitation work in Leyte.

P.S.

Heard that Romulo gave a nationwide instruction to the Filipino people. It was short, dramatic: WORK OR FIGHT!

There are no more planes flying. The sky is also beginning to brighten up. No more rain. I hope the typhoon blows far out of here and then maybe they can commence landings in Luzon.


July 27, 1942

 

A Japanese civilian came to my office. He spoke arrogantly, bluffingly, threateningly. He wanted one of my rent houses. I showed him that I was not afraid of him. I asked for his name. And when I started dialing for the Military Police, he backed out and changed his tune.

Told Lolita of the incident. She was very nervous.


July 3, 1942

Am writing a letter to Fort Santiago requesting the release of Pagulayan and Unson. Will give the following reasons:

(1) They are good, useful men.

(2) They have excellent records in the government service.

(3) Whatever propaganda they disseminated has been checked.

(4) They have been more than sufficiently penalized.

I also offered the guarantee Pagu’s good conduct with my life.

Lolita praying for their release. She sent Pagu a medal of Santa Teresita.

Played tennis and bowling.