July 19, 1972 Wednesday

[p.1]

11:35 PM

PAGE 2203

July 19, 1972

Wednesday

Malacañan Palace

Manila

We have one of the worst floods in years. Almost all of Western Luzon is under water. While Typhoon Gloring is leaving to the NE (1,500 kms. away) and merely skirted the Philippines sucking in the SW monsoon causing the precipitation, there is a new Typhoon (Phylles is the international name for Gloring and the new typhoon is named Tess) also about 1,500 kms. east of Phylles of Gloring. So we expect the rain to continue.

Our helicopters flew rescue and relief missions following the national highway. But visibility is zero and the Clark Field helicopters did not fly.

Even trucks could not move because some parts of the road like Carmen, Rosales and Dumalupihan are under four feet of water.

Malacañan is under water. The Heroes Hall and the entrance are under one foot of water.

I attach the reports.

Even Mandaue Tatyana Nikolaeva had to ride in a Sierra Lakes cowby to come to the palace for a courtesy call and for lunch.

As of now 166 are dead from the flood and all our rice plantings are a complete loss in Central Luzon the rice granary.


21st March 1945

The Times today carried two remarkable stories, both hand-outs of the military press corps.

The first comes from Yiojima. “With the fighting on Yiojima reaching a state of ever-increasing bitterness,” it states, “Unit Commander Masuo Ikeda decided to ‘win by dying’. His determination was carried through completely to each of his men. So many volunteered for his close-quarters combat force that he was hard put to select his men. When the force was picked each man was given a mark with the word, ‘flesh’ written in red in the center of the cherry blossom. The conversation of the men in this force dealt mostly with the ideas on how to kill the greatest possible number of the enemy. That each would die himself was a foregone conclusion. The training was furious; it was simultaneously training to kill one’s self. Supreme commander Kuribayashi and his staff expressed amazement at the furor of the training. They said they had nothing more to ask nor did they see any necessary revision in their scheme of training. Standing by his men practicing to die, Unit Commander Ikeda felt a pain in his heart.

“Whenever I give the command, these men will die, and willingly,” he used to say, pointing to his force….

“Holes were dug in the ground and empty drums lowered into each. A man with a land-mine entered each drum. The drums were covered with earth and the surface made to appear natural. The man in each can sat in the cramped space with his mine, listening intently for the approach of the enemy. One enemy soldier was allowed to pass — or two, small prey. When a 40- or 50-man force came overhead the Japanese soldier inside the drum seized his chance. Now was the time to die. He set off his mine and blew himself and the enemy force to bits….

“This was a new method of attack which the enemy could not have thought of. It was a method of attack which only the Japanese could carry out. The will of the Ikeda death band to die in order to win was more fiery than the boiling sulphuric water which shoots up from. Yiojima.”

The second story would be of particular interest in the Philippines. It follows the adventures of Yokohama-born 18-year-old Miss Komaji Okada who is said to have escaped from Saipan three days after the invasion. “As one of the escaping party she was helped by natives who provided food and a simple dug-out boat which they rowed down a small river. For two days and two nights they drifted in the open sea when suddenly an enemy plane appeared and rained a hail of machine-gun bullets on the poor defenseless party. There was no recourse but to jump into the water to protect themselves from the deadly missiles. Miss Okada was hit in the thigh and though the surrounding water was reddened with blood that was oozing out, she never lost consciousness, and ever driven by the thought that no enemy should dare kill her, she applied a tourniquet with a towel as she precariously clung to the side of the capsized boat. The eight hours that ensued as she swam or floated around until she was picked up by a Japanese warship were a nightmarish inferno of anguish and torture.”

Miss Okada was taken to a “certain island” (apparently in the western Visayas) where she was receiving medical treatment when she had once more to flee. “This time the boat she was fleeing on was attacked by enemy submarines. Swimming about in the water she was sure that luck would not desert her. The bodies of many of her dead companions came floating by and bumped against her. As she saw these poor victims, she could not help but renew her determination to live.” By means unrevealed, Miss Okada turned up in Cebu. For a third time she had to flee. And again the vessel on which she was escaping was sunk, this time by planes. But she reached Luzon by lifeboat only to find that fighting there had already begun. For the fourth time Miss Okada fled. She is now in Taiwan and the people in Taiwan must be feeling a little apprehensive.

These two stories should be material for historians of propaganda and students of national psychology. Miss Okada seems to flee right out of Hollywood, via Ferry and the Pirates, Wild West Magazine, and possibly C.W.L. unit Commander Ikeda has more the tragic dignity of the insane.


8th March 1945

On the 8th of every month, which is set aside all over Japan to commemorate the imperial rescript declaring war, Vargas pays his respects at the Yasukuni shrine, where the spirits of Japan’s war-dead are enshrined. Today, after the customary ceremony, he was taken to a new six-foot drum.

“Will His Excellency be so kind as to beat this drum?”

His Excellency did.

“No, No,” the chief priest exhorted. “Harder, beat it harder, hard enough so it can be heard in the Philippines.”

Apparently the drum has not been beaten hard enough. The Asahi complains today that “our crack forces on Luzon and Yiojima are fighting valiantly, causing the enemy much bloodshed, but to our regret the hegemony of the sea and the air is in enemy hands.” And the paper continues: “While our forces have little means of further supplies the enemy is in a position to obtain supplies in rapid succession. Accordingly, in spite of the valiant fighting of our forces, the war situation on both battlefields cannot but be judged unfavorable to us.” The paper then goes on to warn that a landing on the mainland is to be expected.

For its part the government has decided to reopen the diet for a single day on the 11th March “with the intention of explaining present conditions and of clarifying the conviction of the government to cope with the situation.” Another session of the diet will be called on the 15th or 16th “to present various bills.”

As the shadow of invasion and defeat falls deeper on Japan a cold wind of suspicion and hatred for all foreigners rises. The German embassy has found it advisable to warn all its nationals off bombed areas “to avoid disagreeable incidents”. Nor are the East Asians wholly sheltered from this popular reaction. The press speaks openly of the “Bei-Hi-Gun”, the American-Filipino forces now fighting on Luzon. The Philippine Society, in planning its new quarters, has notified the embassy that shelter will be provided for Filipinos “in case of rioting”. But most chilling symptom of all has been the current box-office-hit in Tokyo, a thriller called “Rose of the Sea”. The star portrays a Filipina of mixed Chinese parentage who operates as an American spy in Japan, transmitting military information through a radio set hidden in a Christian church. She reforms in the end, of course, arid realizes “her true Asian destiny” but the implications are ominous. The film could not have been produced without official approval; indeed it is said that it was produced under the auspices of the military police. If it was, then the plot provides a good clue as to the No. 1 police suspects in Japan: Filipinos, Chinese, and Christians. It is a far cry from the 1944 box-office sensation, “Shoot Down That Flag” which portrayed the Filipinos in Bataan and Corregidor as oppressed by race-conscious Americans.

One of our students sneaked into a downtown theater to see “Rose of the Sea” the other day. When the lights went on, his neighbor, a Japanese, turned on him suspiciously and asked sharply: “Are you a Filipino?”

He looked so threatening that the poor boy stammered:

“No, Burmese.”


11th January 1945

As the Asahi puts it, with typical bombast, “the American troops have at last set their dirty shoes on the soil of Luzon.” the paper thereupon goes to great length to call for “powerful politics” enforced at any cost. But nowhere in the lengthy article does the paper get more definite than the following; “There may be questions pertaining to raw materials, labor, transportation, in addition to other bottlenecks and impediments which, with the progress of the war, are likely to become further accentuated.” The nearest one gets to actual facts is the rather pitiful story that even scouting and training planes in the Philippines have had bombs hooked onto them for suicide dives.


10th January 1945

Not all the Japanese are unaware of how things are going. Today a Japanese admitted to me that the situation looked “hopeless”. The Americans, he said, were betting huge sums and Japan had no chips left. We were playing poker, which explains his choice of metaphor.

No, he said, the Japanese did not mind their sons and husbands being marooned and doomed on Luzon as on the other bloody islands of the south; that was a sacred duty cheerfully fulfilled. All the same, what was the use? He had already forgotten those sanguine expectations he had told me about one year ago, expectations of Chiang’s surrender after the victories in central China, expectations of “annihilating” the Americans once they came within range of the tokotai. This was no longer a 50-50 affair lacking only the mediation of Stalin for a negotiated peace. It was now 30-70, he judged, and it was, more than ever, time for peace. But no, not surrender. He could not bring himself to say it.

Afterward I had another chat with a Japanese newspaperman, To him too the situation appeared irretrievable and the future unpredictable. The young people were deeply Asian in outlook, he thought; they hated the America and England for whom their fathers and grandfathers still, in their hearts, had a haunting fear and respect. (Yvonne tells us that the little boy who lives next door to her sticks out his tongue every time they meet and calls her “dirty foreigner”). But nobody knew what time would bring. Would the youngsters hold out to the end, hurling the empire with them into national suicide? Or would the old men smother this fierce frenzy with their knowing pessimism, the instinct of age to save what there was left to save, to compromise, to fix, to bargain, to keep a penny rather than to risk and loose it all?


January 8, 1945

Breakfast — thick lugao made of rice and rice flour and a small ladle of coco milk. Made hot water and made soup of coco milk, lugao, and salt. Had something hot although it was not so good. The camp is about out of salt. They never put any in the mush and I have just enough for tomorrow morning.

A flight of our big planes came over this morning and I saw a sad but also terrible and awe inspiring sight. One of the planes was hit and soon caught fire. One man bailed out at once and drifted down through a screen of anti-aircraft fire. The plane left the flight and fell in pieces over near the San Juan river, either on the Santa Mesa or Mandaluyong side. Big fires where it fell. The air was full of burning pieces. Saw what appeared to be three parachutes on fire. Pretty tough on the boys. The crew of those planes are from 9 to 12 men. Well, such things must be but I don’t like to see our boys get it like that.

There are three landings on Luzon today, San Fernando, La Union, Nasugbu, and on the Tayabas side.


November 14, 1944

Manilans are excited, morale has soared and there are bright smiles on the faces of everyone you meet on the streets. All day yesterday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for almost every hour, U.S. planes bombed and rebombed Jap installations in the City. There are fires all around: two in the direction of Murphy, three in the area around Nichol’s Field, and one, big blazing hell around the Pier area.

Talk of “landings in Luzon” is in everyone’s lips. Some think Mac is now somewhere in Camarinez, others that American marines have taken positions in Tayabas and still others think that the shelling of Batangas coast has started. Others believe that “landings will be effected on the 15th, Commonwealth anniversary” and some are of the opinion that “landings will be effected within this week in Luzon”. All these opinions and beliefs and hunches tend to show one thing: the bombings have lifted morale, bolstered some weak spirits already on the downgrade due to marked decrease of aerial attacks on City and claims of Jap victories off Philippine waters by Radio Tokyo and “slowing down of Leyte operations”.

Everybody agrees that yesterday’s air raid was the “strongest and longest” ever experienced by this City but the main highlight was that U.S. fighter plane that flew a few meters above old, historic Jones Bridge. “You could have hit it with a stone” said an eye-witnesss who was at the Escolta at the time. Japs machine-gunned the lw-flying plane but it swerved right back and strafed Jap vessels docked at the Pasig. People at the National Bank said that they could feel strong gusts of wind hitting their chests every time bombs were dumped at several Jap boats at the Boulevard. No Jap planes flew up to challenge the Americans. “But,” said someone “tomorrow’s paper will claim that Jap planes repelled American attackers and that very little damage was done to military installations and that great casualties inflicted on civilians.”

I was all dressed up yesterday to go to Monching Araneta’s burial when all of a sudden I saw hundreds of planes swooping down on Murphy. I could distinctly hear the rat-a-tat of the machine-guns. Then the earth began to shake and mama started shouting for “Dolly and Neneng” to go to the shelter. Then the siren sounded and the Japns on the other house started scrambling for their foxholes. Several AA shrapnel dropped in the garden and one AA shell fell short and burst beside the Jap sentry on the corner of the street beside the house. The Jap ran inside our garden and his face was pale and lips were trembling and he kept pointing at his feet making signs to show that one big chunk of iron passed a few inches between his legs.

There was no light until six o’clock yesterday. Electrical communications were destroyed. A lot of the meat and fish we had stored up on the frigidaire got spoiled and the electric stove couldn’t be used. Ma had to do the cooking on native stoves with firewood. Our telephone went “dead” too because the lines around Santa Mesa were either “sabotaged” or grounded. Radio broadcasting was blocked off and the only way to get news was by short-wave but my radio was out of order. I went to the radio man to fix it up and he promised to have it ready for today. On the way, there were very few people on the streets and almost everybody was walking. All Jap soldiers were wearing their battle-uniforms, steel helmet, fixed bayonets and camouflage-nets all around their bodies. All Jap girls were wearing slacks clipped around the ankle. I met a friend and he shouted: “Business is very good, a lot of gains and the balance has been definitely in our favor. We may expect dividends any day now. The competing firm is about to close down, in a few weeks.”

Early this morning, we had another raid just before breakfast time. I was beginning to feel sad when I woke up because I thought there would be no raids today. When all of a sudden, the siren sounded and then I heard the distinct roar of U.S. planes. Yes, its another raid. Looks like we will have plenty of visits today. Come on Mac.


July 8, 1943

The so-called guerrillas in this pacified region of Luzon are growing in number and militancy. They have formed a semi-secret organization which, in addition to its active members, is enlisting many young Filipinos who are under instructions to be prepared for active duty. They do not interfere either with the Japanese or the general public, but they are liquidating collaborators both in Manila and the suburbs. In some cases, some well-known active and talkative collaborators have been kidnapped and later released after strong admonitions. Others were sent letters warning them to be careful in what they do or say. These threats are usually effective.

In Cavite, an upsurge of robberies in bands is victimizing defenseless barrios, extending such activities to nearby provinces and causing panic among the helpless townspeople. A band of some seventy bandits armed with rifles swooped down on a barrio in Calamba a couple of days ago, divesting its inhabitants of their clothings, money, work animals, etc. One of the gang leaders was seen the other day hanging dead on a pole, killed by guerrillas who did not want to be held responsible for the despoliation.


July 1, 1943

General Homma told the Philippine Mission which was sent to Tokyo to witness the Japanese war machine: “Notwithstanding the favorable report of Prime Minister Tojo, your country remains the most anti-Japanese conquered region. You will be granted your Independence not because you are collaborating sincerely with Japan, nor because you deserve it, but because of the magnanimity of Japan.” Roma locuta est, causa finita est.

And even if Homma did not say so…

Aside from the state of open rebellion existing in the Visayas and some mountainous regions of Luzon, an increasing movement of some kind of fifth column secretly directed is operating with efficiency, both in Manila and the adjoining regions.

In Sta. Mesa, a number of Japanese were killed in three consecutive incidents. Some members of the neighborhood patrols are scared and in many places the vigil has been suspended. The vigilants are equipped with sticks, while the guerillas were armed to the teeth.

Alejandro Roces, Jr., while leaving his house was shot to death together with his wife. The father, owner of the TVT, seeing his son and daughter-in-law being carried, lifeless, into the house, suffered a heart attack and died on the spot. The press published the news of the father’s death but was silent on the cause and manner of the son’s death.