December 3, 1943

Soldiers teemed in streets, plazas, stores and restaurants. And there were rumors that more than half a million more were coming to fortify the country and eat up the little food supply that we had. From the port there were days when more than forty damaged battleships and transports were seen anchored at the Bay. As Hongkong, Haiphong and other ports of the Continent were being frequently bombarded, we were suspecting that Japan had changed its course of providing for the southern front, and re-routed the same towards this country which was the farthest from American bases. But they were not safe even here. Commuters from the Visayas narrated the appearance of monstrous submarines which torpedoed Japanese destroyers almost within sight Cebu and Iloilo. A number of ships salvaged from the Pasig and the Manila Bay were brought to war, only to return to their ocean sepulchres. But the Daihon-ei dispatches remained mute on this destruction.


June 23, 1942

We received the first news from Hongkong. This was the first communication we had from abroad in six months. The Dominican Superior of Rosaryhill sent a letter through the Foreign Office of Tokyo. According to the letter, all the Fathers and Brothers were safe and sound. By reading between the lines, however, we could feel that something was wrong. The Novitiate was either badly damaged or occupied by the Japanese. Provisions were very scarce and they had to appeal to the Spanish government, through the Japanese Embassy, to send them food. Due to the food shortage, the twenty Vietnamese Dominicans studying in Hongkong were sent back home.


Saturday, March 18th, 1899

The Weather is clear everything is quiet along the line the Mail arived via Hong Kong recieved 3 letters and lots of papers also a box of Candy Queen Regent of Spain signed the Treaty we had fresh Beef and fresh Bread to day

The weather is clear. Everything is quiet along the line. The mail arrived from Hong Kong. I received three letters and lots of paper. I also received a box of candy. Queen Regent of Spain signed the Treaty. We had fresh beef and fresh bread today.


Sábado 13 de Agosto 1898

Hoy la plaza de Manila se ha rendido a los yanquis. Las primeras horas del día no anunciaban novedad alguna, (…) De repente se ha puesto en movimiento toda la escuadra yanqui. Los Vapores que estaban de guardia han ido á reunirse con los demás y se han dirigido hacia el fortín de S. Antonio. Cuatro barcos grandes que debían de ser el “Olympia”, el “Boston”, el “Raleig” y el “Baltimore” han cañoneado aquel fortín. Luego la han emprendido contra las trincheras perpendiculares á la línea de la playa, jugando el principal papel en el ataque un Cañonero que debía de ser el “Leyte” ó el “Callao”, En medio del cañoneo ha sobrevenido un fuerte chubasco que nada ha estorbado el ataque, A las cinco cuartos de hora de fuego han juzgado los Yanquis que el campo estaría completamente despejado, por lo cual han suspendido el fuego de los barcos empezando á marchar el ejército de tierra en formación hacia Manila. Nuestras tropas agazapadas en las trincheras que aún quedaban, han sorprendido con dos rociadas de balas á los yanquis que entraban con toda seguridad y que se han quedado parados. En esto el “Olympia” y el Monitor “Monterey” se habían colocado frente á Manila, y este último tenía sus cañones de 30^5 centímetros apuntando á la batería de dos cañones de La Luneta, Ha disparado el “Olympia” un cañonazo sobre nuestras trincheras cuyos soldados han recibido luego orden de retirarse mientras sobre las murallas de la Ciudad se levantaba una gran bandera blanca. La plaza, llena como estaba de gente indefensa, no ha hecho fuego sobre los barcos por no atraer sobre sí las balas enemigas. Ha habido parlamentó en el cual parece que los Yanquis se han mostrado generosos en todas las condiciones, con tal que se les entregue la plaza. Los insurrectos han estado á la mira con ánimo de sacar todo el partido posible de nuestra desgracia. La amistad que mostraban estos últimos días, era la simpatía que por el rico moribundo sienten sus domésticos quienes procuran apoderarse de sus riquezas , antes que de fuera venga otro á tomárselas. Un poco antes que los Yanquis han atacado ellos las trincheras y luego han entrado por la brecha que han dejado abierta nuestras tropas al retirarse. La Vanguardia Yanqui que iba á preparar sitio á los demás se ha dirigido al Observatorio…

(..,) hasta las 6 de la tarde se ha visto pasar por las calles de Manila diversos Cuerpos del ejército español que iban á dejar las armas en la fuerza de Santiago. A las seis la bandera española que coronaba esta fortaleza ha sido arriada, siendo izada en su lugar la bandera Yanqui. Los Yanquis que estaban en la fuerza han saludado la bandera con el grito de “urra”  y una banda de música ha tocado el himno nacional delante de la bandera en el paseo entonces solitario de María Cristina (…).

Las trincheras de la parte de Binando y Sta Mesa, continúan defendidas por nuestras tropas mandadas por el GraL Monet y el Coronel Carbó. Hay por aquel lado mucho tiroteo y mañana abandonarán los nuestros aquellas posiciones para que las ocupen los yanquis si les viene en gusto.

Las bajas se calculan en 400 por nuestra parte, y 2,000 por la de los Yanquis. Es probable que estas cifras sean exageradas como de primera impresión (…). Al caer la tarde se ha embarcado con su familia para Hong Kong el General Augustin.

Today the plaza of Manila surrendered to the Yankees. The early hours of the day gave no new signs at all. The Boston was guarding off Parañaque, the Petrel and McCallouch off the mouth of the river. The rest of the squadron was idling off Cavite. It must have been about 9:00 when we saw sailing into the bay a merchant vessel flying the German flag. Someone said it must have been the boat bringing peace, and secure in this, we positioned ourselves to watch it as she entered the bay. She was signalled off Cavite where she was heading, and turned back to join the rest of the German squadron near Pampanga. All of a sudden the entire Yankee fleet was in motion. The boats keeping guard sailed away to join the rest and headed towards Fort San Antonio Abad. Four big boats, which must have been the Olympia, Boston, Raleigh, and Baltimore, cannonaded that fort. Then they aimed at the trenches perpendicular to the beach . . . . During the attack, a heavy squall fell, but without disturbing the bombardment in any way. After five quarters of an hour firing, the Yankees thinking the field was already fully cleared, ceased firing their guns, while the land forces began their march towards Manila. Our troops crouched in the trenches still remaining intact surprised with a shower of bullets the Yankees who confidently came and were stopped in their tracks. At this moment, the Olympia and the monitor Monterey had moved themselves in front of Manila, the latter with her 30.5 cm. cannons pointing at the battery of two cannons on the Luneta. The Olympia fired a cannon shot over our trenches, where the troops subsequently received the command to retreat, while over the walls of the city a huge white flag was being hoisted. The plaza, filled as it was with noncombatants, had not fired at the ships lest it draw enemy fire. A parley followed during which apparently the Yankees have shown generosity in all the conditions, provided the plaza be surrendered. The insurgents have watched from the sidelines, intending to take all possible advantage of our disgrace. The friendship shown these past few days was that which his domestics feel for a dying rich man, and who seek to take possession of his riches before others come to claim them. Ahead of the Yankees, they had attacked the trenches, and later entered through the breach left open by our retreating troops. The Yankee vanguard which came to prepare the ground for the rest went to the Observatory, asking Fr. Algue if they could lodge there. Father answered politely he did not think so since the ground floor was filled with refugees, and mainly because if the city resisted anew (for the result of the parley was not yet known) the Observatory despite being a building of an international character would be a target of the cannons of the plaza. Accepting the explanation, they asked Father if there was a place where they could shelter themselves, and he indicated the volodrome. Within a few minutes, some insurgents came to the Observatory, and very politely asked the Father’s permission to put by the window grating the insurgent flag, lest the Yankees claim the building. While Father was trying to dissuade them from it, others proceeded to place it nonetheless. Two lieutenants ordered a soldier to remove it, and on obeying, he was rattan-whipped and the flag remained where it was.

[From the time of the noon meal] until 6:00 in the evening, one could see various units of the Spanish army passing through the Manila streets going to deposit their arms in Fort Santiago.  At 6:00 the Spanish flag which used to crown this fort was furled, in its place the Yankee flag was hoisted. The Yankees who were present in the fort saluted their flag with shouts of “Hurrah!” and a music band positioned at the time of the solitary passage of Maria Cristina played their national anthem before the flag. -— Since the Yankees have taken possession of all the barracks, the Spanish authorities cannot find sufficient place to lodge the troops who are retreating to Manila. The former have filled some churches, and our church, too, if we had not offered them a place in the Ateneo, where the native Regiment No.73 and two artillery companies have stayed.

The trenches along Binondo and Santa Mesa are still being defended by our troops under the command of General Monet and Colonel Carbo. There is plenty of shooting in that part and tomorrow ours will abandon those positions that the Yankees may occupy them if they wish.

Today’s casualties are calculated to total 400 on our side, and 2,000 on the Yankee side. Probably these numbers are exaggerated from first impressions. The family of Gen. Augustin boarded the ship for Hongkong at sunset.


Miércoles 6 de Julio 1898

(…) Es esperada con ansia la escuadra española del contra almirante Sr, Cámara, la que según dicen pasó el 28 último por la isla de Seering en el estrecho de  (…) Parece que Aguinaldo ha recibido de la junta revolucionaria de Hong Kong presidida por Agoncillo (el viejo) orden de rescindir el contrato hecho con los yanquis, pues ha sabido aquella junta que los Estados Unidos preparan para Filipinas una grande expedición de inmigrantes que tienen ya constituido el Sindicato azucarero y abacalero para explotar en beneficio propio el comercio de aquí.

It seems Aguinaldo has received from the revolutionary junta in Hongkong presided over by Agoncillo (the elder) orders to rescind the contract made with the Yankees, since that junta has known that the United States are preparing for the Philippines a huge expedition of colonists who have already established a sugar and abaca syndicate to exploit by themselves that commerce here.


July 1, 1898

Reveille at 6 am. Everything packed and awaiting orders to land at Cavite at 1 p.m. We received 50 rounds of ammunition last night. Heard news of a big battle between Spaniards and Filipinos. Despatch boat left for Hong Kong at 5 pm. Natives reported at 6.30 that Insurgents had won a great battle. There was also a report that a German vessel wanted to land provisions and was fired on.


Domingo 29 de Mayo 1898

(…) Por los diarios de Hong Kong se sabe: 1º que á últimos de este mes ha debido salir de Cádiz una Escuadra Española que se cree viene á Filipinas, compuesta de un acorazado, siete cruceros y tres torpederos; 2º que nuestra escuadra de Cuba ha obligado a los Yanquis por lo menos de momento a levantar el bloqueo de todas las costas, 3º que Aguinaldo ha recibido del Comodoro Dewey 500 rifles con 200.000 cartuchos. Corren rumores de que en Cavite dos compañías de indígenas del Regimiento nº 74 se han pasado al enemigo y que casi han exterminado a una Compañía de Infantería de marina que andaba con ellos. En Bulacán hay mucho peligro de insurrección. Hay allí muchos hombres armados con fusiles procedentes de la escuadra enemiga. Aguinaldo ha enviado emisarios á muchas provincias á preparar el levantamiento del país.

These days, the cutter McCollouch has been ferrying men from Bulacan to Cavite at night. Those who want to join the insurrection present themselves in Cavite where their names are taken down in the house of Maximo Vincencio who has been executed by firing squad, Aguinaldo’s residence, and are sent to the arsenal where they are incorporated to the enemy ranks, receive a rifle and ₱4. From the dailies of Hongkong, we know: (1) at the end of this month a Spanish squadron, composed of a battleship, seven cruisers, and three torpedo boats, should leave Cadiz for the Philippines; (2) our squadrons in Cuba have forced the Yankees to lift at least for a moment the blockade around the island; and (3) Aguinaldo received from Commodore Dewey 500 rifles and 20,000 rounds of ammunition. There are rumors in Cavite two native companies of Regiment No. 74 have gone over to the enemy and have almost exterminated a Marine Infantry Company with them. There is serious danger of an insurrection in
Bulacan. Many men there are armed with guns from the enemy squadron. Aguinaldo has sent emissaries to many provinces to prepare for a national uprising.


Monday morning, May 23, 1898

The English gunboat, Swift, has arrived in Hongkong. An important dispatch: the Americans are sending not 5,000 but 15,000 men. The first convoy should arrive in three weeks. The Spaniards still have time to upset this plan. What are they doing? Nobody knows. Perhaps this silence has a meaning. But just like the false image of profound thought the Arabs project by their solemn air, these Spaniards in reality have no plans at all.

Chamberlain’s patriotic statements are spreading among the English-speaking communities in the Far East, giving us food for thought. Perhaps, in time, a militant party will be born of the imperialist party. It would be interesting to follow this trend either in England or America where a number of refined chauvinistic clubs exist. But, why not? No government policy can explain the variations in man’s nature as he goes through the difficult moments in his life.

God bless the Swift, which brings us our mail. There aren’t many joys greater than opening letters which come from the other side of the world, even if the stories are slightly distorted by distance.


Thursday, May 19, 1898

The cutter McCollouch arrives in Manila from Hongkong, bringing aboard Emilio Aguinaldo with other [revolutionary] heads who sailed for that place last December. Aguinaldo’s story, as reported in the Daily Press of Hongkong is as follows. Hoping to take advantage of the Spanish-American war, Aguinaldo went to Saigon to confer with some of his associates, and on 21 April he proceeded to Singapore to seek the counsel of an Englishman named Award [sic for Howard] W. Bray who had been in the Philippines for fifteen years, Aguinaldo revealed his plan for an independent Philippines, offering to rally his countrymen against Spain if the United States
promised to recognize her independence. His justification was Spain’s failure to carry out the conditions under which the peace treaty between the Spanish government and the revolutionary leaders had been signed
last 14 December. According to Aguinaldo, these conditions were: (1) expulsion or secularization of the friars or religious orders and their inhibition in matters of civil administration, (2) general amnesty for all the rebels with guarantees for their personal safety against the vengeance of the Spaniards on returning to their towns. (3) radical reforms to extirpate abuses in the civil and military administration, (4) freedom of the press to be able to denounce corruption among the officials, (5) representation in the Cortes, and (6) abolition of the iniquitous system of secret judgments of exile for suspected political crimes. These conditions, according to Aguinaldo, formed the base of the peace treaty of last 14 December. But someone who saw and copied the treaty certified there were no such conditions, except a note which read: “The government shall attend to the just grievances of the natives without prejudice to the country’s progress.” Bray and Mr. Pratt, the American consul in Singapore received with joy Aguinaldo’s suggestions, and on 24 April the three had a meeting, in the presence of Leyva, Aguinaldo’s secretary, Gregorio Hilario del Pilar, and Marcelino Santos. Various telegrams were exchanged between Mr. Pratt, Commodore Dewey who then was in HongKong, and the Washington government. When that government accepted Aguinaldo’s proposition, the latter with his companions left for Hongkong on 26 April. When he arrived in Hongkong, the American squadron was already in the waters of Manila. Aguinaldo regrouped all his companions, except two, and in the first trip there of the cutter McCollouch, he boarded it with them and today he arrived in Cavite. Some Hongkong dailies of the 13th of this month carry a proclamation by Aguinaldo whose principal points are the following: (1) the interior affairs of the independent Philippines have to be settled at a conference of Europeans and Americans; (2) this foreign intervention in the Philippine government must not be confused with the protectorate under the United States exercised temporarily on the same bases as those intended for Cuba; (3) the judiciary shall be composed of Europeans; and (4) complete freedom of worship.