August 2, 1945, Thursday

We began a Novena to San Judas Tadeo, my wife’s favorite saint. She used to go to the Cathedral to pray before the saint. Paredes is the leader. He also has been going to confession. We were wondering whether he had left the Masonry in which he was an ex-grand Master and one of the most prominent.

It was reported that Cummings, when he was Attorney General, rendered the opinion that collaborators would lose their citizenship. The best legal talents are here in this camp and they all said that they could not understand how Cummings could render such an opinion.

We received another version of the instructions of Pres. Quezon. It was in the form of a cablegram to Col. Nakar, Commander of the USAFFE forces in Northern Luzon, which reads as follows:

For Gov. Quirino and Gov. Visayas, Masaya, Isabela. In reply your telephone re instructions to you in case occupation your province by Japanese, you must remain in your post to maintain peace and order and protect civilian population until Japanese take over government authority. In case you asked by Japanese to continue performing functions you should use discretion considering best interests your people but should be sure no personal or official aid and comfort to enemy especially its military activities. Municipal police should continue maintaining peace and order until relieved by Japanese but Constabulary should immediately join nearest Philippine Army detachment. In case you withdraw to hills or mountains keep in touch with Voice of Freedom, or another station in occupied territory or K.G.E.I. San Francisco for possible further contact with Commonwealth Government. Quezon.

The telegram was dated Washington, April 18, 1942.

Above is substantially the same as other instructions given, which I have previously mentioned.

This day the Lieutenant came with an American who was looking for me. I became rather nervous. It turned out that he was Mr. L. C. Ashmore of the C.I.C. I thought he came to investigate me. He introduced himself and he seemed to be very nice. He said that the Manila office had sent him a letter to ask me certain questions on Imports and Exports during the Japanese occupation and also certain business practices of the Japanese. He gave me an outline of what he wanted. I immediately prepared a memorandum on the different matters contained in his memorandum and, on August 15th when he came back, I handed it to him. I kept copies of his memorandum and mine.

On account of the Luz’s illness, we have been recalling his many acts. Zulueta recounts that one afternoon, Luz called Alunan and himself, and with Luz’s forefinger on his lips to indicate that they should make no noise, he led them to a corner. Luz said he had very important news and Alunan and Zulueta became very anxious to know what they were. Suddenly he stood up and sang “Pregunta a Las Estrellas.”

Shortly after his arrival, he asked that we hold a special prayer for the soul of his mother as it was the anniversary of her death. He prepared a prayer which he said with full devotion. But his prayer was that Madrigal give his millions to our cause.

The next day he called us all to a meeting. He said he had very important news to transmit. Since we did not know him very well then, we were very eager to hear what he had to say. After a long preliminary which kept us more anxious, he broke down and began to cry. He announced that he was suffering from malaria and he hoped that we would not mind if he stayed with us. In chorus, we told him that we had no objection.

November 12, 1944

Typhoon is over, the sun is up again and the sky has brightened to a clear blue. The bird that perches on the tree near my window is there again, fluttering its wings and in a while I’m sure it’ll begin to twitter.

No planes this morning. Everybody was expecting them today because they’ve visited us every Sunday morning for the last three weeks. We woke up early this morning because we thought the planes were sure to come. There were many people in Church and everybody hurried home because “they’ll come around breakfast time”.

Instead of the planes came bad news. Ramon Araneta who was brought to Fort Santiago two nights ago died in one of the dungeons. The Japs called up his daughter and said that she could take her father’s corpse. Mrs. Araneta does not know that her husband has died. All Manila knows about this “sudden” death. Everybody thinks that Ramon was tortured. The Japs went up to his house at midnight, searched every nook and corner, every drawer, behind portraits and tapped the panels and floors, questioned his wife, daughters and servants. They they told Ramon to dress up and they took him with them. I was in their house yesterday and three Japs investigated one of Ramon’s maids and they brought her to Fort Santiago also.

This death has shocked Manilans and if the Japs think this will intimidate the people, they are very mistaken. The reaction has been the contrary. More young men want to go to hills. Vengeance is in every heart. His burial will probably look like a demonstration as Ramon is very well known. His death is the fourth in a row. First, Teddy Fernando; then Almazan; recently Preysler, whose wrists and ribs were smashed; and now –Ramon Araneta. Conversation now-a-days is nothing but of Jap atrocities. The greatest propaganda agency for America is not the Voice of Freedom or KGEI or Free Philippines but Fort Santiago.

General impression downtown is that the Leyte invasion has bogged down because of the typhoon and mud and arrival of Jap reinforcements. Some think Luzon liberation will begin only after Leyte has been completely liberated. Others insist that Mac will “pocket” Japs in Ormoc and then “hop” on to Manila.

Meanwhile, Japs are getting stricter, more brutal and desperate. Filipinos have to submit to the indignity of being searched by Jap sentries in almost every street corner. Fort Santiago has arrested many Bataan and Corregidor veterans. They are alarmed at reports of enthusiastic collaboration of Filipino populace in Leyte and Samar and great activities of guerrilla units. It is not an uncommon sight to see dead bodies thrown in public highways. Four days ago, a naked corpse with ten bayonet stabs was sprawled in the small plaza between the Legislative Building and City Hall.

Food situation is getting more acute. Yesterday, a man entered the house and he was thin, haggard, skeletal, with a wound on his feet. He asked for “a little rice or soup or anything”. More such walking-corpses can be seen all over Manila as Jap trucks speed through streets loaded with sacks of rice and vegetables.

Many Jap soldiers in Manila now, probably getting ready to move to battle areas. Some reinforcements to Leyte are being sent to Sorsogon where they go on small launches to Ormoc or Carigara. Very few Jap trucks in City. Soldiers walk. Army men now wear their battle uniforms, steel helmets and camouflage-nets. They stop cars, rigs, bicycles. They confiscate all forms of transportation. The Jap Army is desperate. It has its back against the wall. But before they go hungry, the civilian population will have to suffer first. Hope lies in Mac. Come on America!

November 7, 1944

Saw some of the Jap troops that arrived recently. They looked haggard, unkempt, underfed. Their shoes were made of black cloth and some were dragging their feet. Their uniforms were very dirty and smelly. Many of them were asking the people downtown f they were in Australia. No doubt Japanese people are being duped by their leaders.

Listened to the Voice of Freedom from Leyte yesterday. Heard Brig. Gen. Romulo speaking. I immediately recognized his voice although at times it sounded tired and far away. Then the Philippine National Anthem was played and I felt like crying. The last time I heard the Voice of Freedom was in Mt. Mariveles. I was lying on the ground, shivering with malaria. Brig. Gen. Lim of the 41st and Brig. Gen. de Jesus of the Military Intelligence Service were listening too. It was April 8th, the night the lines broke in the eastern sector. The Voice said: “Bataan has fallen but its spirit will live on forever….” there were other weary-looking, haggard Filipino officers under the tall trees of Mariveles that night gathered around the radio. All of us had tears in our eyes. Gen. Lim wiped his eyes with a dirty handkerchief and Gen. de Jesus turned around because he did not want to show his feelings.

Heard Clift Roberts speaking from Gen. MacArthur’s headquarters to Blue Network last night. He was poking fun at Radio Tokyo. He said that the soldiers in Leyte listened to Radio Manila and Tokyo for fun. Imagine the difference! Here under the Jap rule, we listen at the risk of our lives. One man was shot for listening in on KGEI.

Walter Dunn speaking to CBS described the rehabilitation work now being undertaken in Leyte. He said bananas cost 1 centavo each; now they cost ₱2.20 in Manila; Eggs at 3 centavoa piece in Leyte and here it costs ₱10 each; corned beef, .13 and here ₱25.

Its raining this morning. Maybe there won’t be any raids. I watched the planes yesterday afternoon hitting Murphy and U.P. site in Quezon City. They kept circling and diving over their objectives and there was practically no ground nor air resistance.

I don’t know why but my Jap neighbor came to the house yesterday. He was full of explanations. “We are just drawing them in”, he explained. I did not say a word. He also stated that their Number 1 General is here. General Yamashita, conqueror of Singapore. Gen. Kuroda is now in Baguio, he revealed.

Walked down V. Mapa with Johnnie and Eddie. We didn’t bow before the sentry. He got sore, called Johnnie. Eddie and I remained on the other side of the street. Johnnie bowed before him. “Discretion is the better part of valor,” said Johnnie.

Jap Military Police are now very active, taking people to Ft. Santiago on mere suspicion. One house near Johnnie’s was raided by about fifty M.P.’s with fixed bayonets. They arrested two doctors living there. According to rumors, the two doctors have already been killed.

The Japs have their backs against the wall. They are fighting a losing fight. Their actions are desperate. They’re commandeering all forms of transportation. Any rig they see, they take. They got all horses. They’re taking bicycles too. Filipinos can’t even ride streetcars these days. Its only for Japs. Everything in the market is being taken by them. They are the only ones using cars. Most Filipinos walk. Somebody said “They might take our legs too.” One fellow laughed at the idea. “I’m not wisecracking,” said the first fellow. “If they take our lives, why not legs.”

October 15, 1944

Hooray, there were here again… this morning. They came at about 10 o’clock, after Mass. Of course, you know who I mean by “they”.

Japanese planes went up this time. People said there were many dogfights around Caloocan. Several civilians were killed.

I saw a heartbreaking sight. An American aviator bailed out. First, he looked like a toy dangling on a white umbrella. Then his figure became more distinct and people started shouting “Parachute, parachute!”. When he was just above the housetops, Japanese soldiers started firing at him. I even heard the rat-a-tat of machine guns. Made my blood boil, this slaughtering of a fellow that’s defenceless. Can’t conceive how the Japanese can interpret such an act as bravery.

No more raids this afternoon. The radio is announcing this results. All-clear has been sounded. A Japanese major –our neighbor– visited us this afternoon and there was a smile on his face. “We drove them off,” he boasted and “12 aircraft carriers were sunk”. I wonder if that’s true. Maybe there is something to it because not so many bombs were dropped and they didn’t come back anymore. I’m sure there was not much damage this time, as compared to the first raid. First of all, the Japanese were not caught by surprise. Secondly, they had enough time to spread their supplies and to even intercept. I didn’t feel the ground shaking like last time. And unlike the first raid, I actually saw many Japanese planes scouring the skies. I’ll listen to KGEI tomorrow to see what America has to say about this raid. Personally, I have a feeling they didn’t do so well. I hope I’m wrong.

Several of the boys that came to the house to play basketball believe this is the prelude to invasion. “The raids won’t stop anymore,” they say. One fellow said this was Halsey’s fleet on its way back to its base after the Formosa raid. Oh well, let’s wait and see….

October 2, 1944

When you meet a friend in the street today or anywhere for that matter, the first thing said instead of the usual “nice weather eh” is “Well when do you think?” or “How long more?” and you are expected to say “very soon, man, maybe in a day or so” otherwise you are apt to be taken for a defeatist or a pro-Jap. And then you lower your voices and look around you and then “You’ve probably heard the latest from KGEI, haven’t you?” and of course the answer is “You bet, so many more miles to Berlin and the British Navy is already in the Indian Ocean and so many Jap planes and ships sunk here and there, heh, heh.” And of course, if the conversation gets prolonged it usually turns to the food situation. “Wothedickens, did you know how high rice is at present?” and “while we Filipinos starve, the Japs are giving white rice to their horses, to hell with co-prosperity.” And this is the usual end of all talk: “With all this obvious unfairness and oppression, how the hell can that guy Aquino and Laurel be such pro-Japs?” …. oh well!!

Still no bombing, still no landing, still no nothing…. if that’s grammatically correct!

September 26, 1944

Am very tired, fagged out. Carrying furniture and bags the whole day. We’ve moved to a small bungalow in V. Mapa. The Japs have taken our house in the name of “co-prosperity and cooperation” and a lot of potatoes to that effect.

Only happy note of the day has been the 72-hour ultimatum. You’ve probably heard that it was announced over KGEI that Roosevelt gave the Japanese 72 hours to leave Manila or else he’ll bomb and rebomb the life out of them.

Mama has been very nervous the whole day. The Japanese major was asking for one of the pianos. “Mrs. the colonel,” he said very nicely, “would like to have one of your pianos?” My mother refused, replied “you are taking our house. Now please leave us our things.” And he answered in typical Japanese fashion: “But we are not taking it: only borrow…” But Mama was adamant. What kind of an Army is this that fights a war with pianos and nice residences? Another officer, by the way, wanted Mama’s orchids. Mama said “No.” We still have the piano and orchids… Mark –“still”.

Will write again tomorrow… I’m very sleepy right now… gnight.

July 8, 1942

Mr. Toyama, a very nice, educated Japanese, employee of Mitsui, will teach the family Japanese, twice a week in the evenings. My son Vic refused to study. He said “It’ll be a dead language, after this war.” I told him: “You don’t lose anything by studying Japanese.”

Naric Inspection Division will now survey the makers of “Puto” and “bibingka” on a large scale. Naric will sell binlid directly to those large-scale makers.

Went home early. Listened to KGEI but there was too much static.

May 31, 1942

KGEI admitted the sinking of an Allied warship in the port of Sydney by the attack of a special Japanese submarine flotilla.

Rode in a calesa. Asked the cochero: “Who do you think will win the war?” I was curious to know the sentiments of the masses.

“The Americans!” he answered unequivocally.

“Why? “I asked to provoke him.

“Because MacArthur will get plenty of planes and then . . .”

“And then what?”

“Aba, señor, maybe you are from Fort Santiago and then you will report.”

“No, No. You can trust me. My son is in the Army. He is now in Capaz.”

“Ah, I wish I was also fighting in Bataan.”

“But why do you think the Americans will win?” I brought the subject back.

“How can these people win? Look at their trucks, cars, tanks, uniforms. Not so good. It looks breakable like Japanese toys.”

“Well, then, why did the USAFFE lose?”

He thought for a while. And then he said: “Because they were surprised. Even Jack Dempsey, I can knock out if I just hit him suddenly. But when MacArthur comes back with the flying fortress and the bombers and tanks, well, well…”

“What do you mean—well, well . . .”

“I mean it will be just very well, heh, heh, heh!”

“Well, stop out there at Tom’s, on that corner.”

I entered Tom’s. The place had a different atmosphere. The floors were wet and sticky. The people were not as well dressed as in the pre-war days. And the customers were different. There was a pianist playing “My Baby Don’t Care” and a fat lady was singing in a high falsetto.

“Coffee!” I told the waiter.

While waiting for the coffee, a hostess with gold teeth sat on my table. “Please,” she said in a state of semi-intoxication, “protect me from that brute.” She was pointing to a Japanese officer. I did not know what to say. “The Japanese…“ and she started giving a speech against Japan. “Don’t speak loudly,” I said. She spoke louder and louder. “Stop it!” I said. “This man here,” she said, “agrees with me!” “Stop it!” I said. “STOP IT! STOP!”

“Wake up, Vic,” said my wife.


Baguio, May 11, 1942

Since Manila is the only place enjoying the media of press and correspondence, our only source of information in this wide and mountainous habitat is the radio. There is a heated contest of broadcasts between the warring radio stations as to whether the defense of Bataan and Corregidor by the USAFFE forces had been heroic or cowardly. The Allied radio claimed that the resistance offered by these fortresses was as epic as it was desperate, and that it yielded only because of the heavy avalanche of men and armaments which Japan rained on them, as well as the lack of supplies and ammunition on the part of the defending forces.

Tokyo however retorted—and this was relayed to Berlin and Rome—that the American claim was an empty yarn. It further asserted that Bataan and Corregidor collapsed like cardboard castles without putting up any significant resistance.

One who listens to only one side of the contesting broadcasts would get incomplete—not to say incorrect—information. But by listening to both sides, neither could one tell which one to believe.

The same heated contest of broadcasts occurred over the battle of the Coral Seas. Radio San Francisco claimed that the Allied forces sunk fifteen enemy ships and that they themselves suffered light casualties. Radio Tokyo replied that the Japanese forces sunk twenty Anglo-American warships and challenged Washington to publish the Allied losses and the extent of their naval disasters. If we believe the broadcasts from Tokyo and Berlin, it would appear that the American naval forces in the Pacific have been annihilated. The broadcasts from San Francisco and London give the impression that the American naval victory in the Coral Seas had decisively smothered Japanese attempt to invade Australia.

Regarding the defense of the two fortresses, some combatants related many incidents attesting to the courage and bravery of the defense line. As far as I see it, the defense was characterized more by the prudence rather than the heroism of the defenders. The desire to prevent further suffering and save human lives prevailed over the desire to inflict the maximum damage on the enemy and write a brilliant military history.

Some of the soldiers claim that very few of their men died in combat and that they did not suffer from hunger although provisions were a little difficult. They were therefore surprised when their superiors ordered the surrender because they were convinced that they had enough power to continue fighting.

Of course, the one who spoke were the combatants on reserve who hardly saw battle. Those in the frontline and in fields of encounter were already exhausted. Sick with malaria and dysentery and debilitated by lack of food, many were hardly on their feet.

The High Command must have been fairly convinced that, without hope of an early reinforcement, prolonged resistance would have been suicidal.

But had the defenders utilized the natural and artificial defenses available, they could have caused considerably more damage to the enemy.

Witnesses whom I interviewed were unanimous on the Filipino soldiers’ manifestation of gallantry and courage during the whole period of fighting. In Bataan, the Philippine Constabulary and the Philippine Scouts fought on the frontline of defense, sometimes assisted by the American Thirty-First Regiment.

Most of them were new recruits, untrained in the art of battle. Their superiors, convinced of the futility of sacrifice, did not require them to fight with the utmost degree of heroism. This speaks highly of the humanitarian rather than military sense of the High Command.

A marked contrast is noticeable between the strategies of the Americans and the Japanese. It has never been a part of the Americans’ military program to fight to the last man. If they cannot fight with advantage or the hope of success, they would either abandon the battlefield or surrender. As soon as the Japanese had landed in the north and south of Luzon and destroyed the first line of defense in Pangasinan and Tayabas, the Americans abandoned all ideas of organizing a vigorous resistance against the invaders. Their strategy consisted in delaying the enemy’s advance by blowing up all bridges in order to give their troops ample time to retreat to Bataan. They declared Manila an open city and left all towns open without any official declaration.

They attempted, with such moves, to spare these places from destruction and save the lives of their soldiers so that they might fight instead in Bataan. However, they were not able to spare the cities and towns from destruction, for what was spared by war was not spared by vandals and looters.

Neither in Bataan nor in Corregidor did the defenders fight to the peak of heroism. They were neither cowards nor were they remiss in their military responsibilities. They fought until Bataan was technically taken but not until death. In Corregidor, they fought with bravery while they could keep the enemy at a distance, but they surrendered as soon as the enemy crashed the gates. Many if not all of the combatants wanted to fight to the finish. The North American war plan, however, was not a useless sacrifice of soldiers for the heroic defense of just one or two fortresses.

We do not know the Japanese mettle in resisting, since none of their towns or properties had ever been subjected to the test of a serious attack. But if we are to judge them by their aggressiveness in assault, then their tenacity and constancy cannot be gainsaid.

We cannot say whether this indifference to death and this daring ferocity are due more to the soldiers’ bravery, valor, or to the strict requirements of the army. The Japanese are very patriotic and disciplined. Their patriotism is for them almost a religion. They are accustomed to deprivation, hardships, the most trying strifes, and the most rigorous military discipline.

It should be noted that the Imperial Army employs a good number of the suicide squads—exalted patriots who would offer their lives to inflict the greatest damage and destruction on the enemy. The Japanese themselves attributed the debacle caused on the American Contingent at Pearl Harbor, and the sinking of the Prince of Wales, to a certain number of volunteers who offered to guide the torpedoes which destroyed both targets, with the Japanese guiding the torpedoes.

If the Japanese would someday find themselves in a situation similar to Bataan, they would suffer more casualties than the USAFFE, and they would resist more violently before surrendering, if they would surrender at all.

The Japanese Army is more mechanized in the moral and spiritual rather than in the material sense. Its war machine is more tempered in discipline and organization than in its steel artifacts. To be defeated, they must be annihilated. And this can be done only by a force superior in quantity and quality in terms of planes, tanks and naval equipment. They will not run away in the face of more numerical superiority as did the British in Malaya and the Americans in the Philippines.

And before thinking of surrender, they would rather commit group or mass suicide.

A few days ago, a Japanese officer told me, “A Japanese soldier will not surrender. He will fight to the end, willing to die for his Emperor. If captured alive, he would rather cut his tongue with his teeth than tell the whereabouts of his troops”. In fact, there were instances when this was literally done.