Sunday, February 4, 1945

After Mass we went to market again. The girls dropped by from home and told us that Emy said that there was news from the Quemas that the Americans arrived last night in Caloocan and were coming towards Rizal Ave. That’s why we heard the machinegunning. It was so hard to believe! The majority of the people heard the good news and rushed to the market. The market was almost empty. There were just hard kernels of yellow corn, a few coconuts and kangkong and talinum.

Papa bought a big pushcart for ₱5,000,000 and a smaller one for ₱3,000,000. Mama bought meat for ₱1,500.00 a kilo.

The Japs look desperate. They were very, very strict with the people. People were slapped more often without knowing why.

3rd February 1945

With the Americans at the gates of Manila the official Imperial Rule Assistance Association called a “Victory in the Philippines” rally at the Hibiya public hall today. It was piercingly cold even in mid-afternoon and the steep backstairs were slippery with crusted ice. Backstage distinguished visitors were shown into a shabby clingy waiting-room and served the usual tea. Japanese officers and dignitaries arrived in succession, glum and blue with cold, and with a strange and awkward air, half-defiant and half-apologetic. Nobody talked about the war but it was obvious that for the Japanese the news was bad.

Presently the distinguished guests filed out to the stage. Overcoats were taken off and hurriedly put on again. Only the officers with ostentatious asceticism remained coatless, sitting with an easy arrogance, their hands clasped over their sword-hilts. When the curtain went up, it was seen that the pit was full but there was only a handful of people in the galleries; not until an hour or so later were they to be comfortably packed with officials and members of the association as well as “invited” representatives of firms and other organizations with interests in the Philippines.

The stage itself was decorated with huge Japanese and Filipino flags, as well as patriotic slogans. All the speakers bowed deeply before each of the two flags before addressing the audience. The whole thing started of course with a general obeisance in the direction of the imperial palace and a silent prayer for the imperial forces.

The first speaker was General Matsui, grandfather of all Pan-Asian, precursor of the empire-dreamers and the empire-builders, apostle of Greater East Asia. He was a pathetic figure as he read from a classic scroll that tumbled and twisted, as it fell from the rostrum to his polished boots. His voice was quavering and his head shook and jerked in nervous spasms, the spasms of senility, cold, or profound embarrassment. He was not going over; there was only perfunctory applause at the end of those high-pitched periods for which the old man must have dreamt the deep roar of exultant victorious armies imposing dominion over Japan’s Asia. In the end, amid a silence that was almost poignant, the old general slowly and with deliberate dignity, touched with dreamy pride, rolled up his scroll again, turn after turn, until it was all neatly wrapped around its wooden core. Then he tied it up carefully with a broad red ribbon and walked unsteadily back to his seat. They were bungling his grand design, he seemed to be thinking, these younger men were bungling it all. Well, that was the way it went: a man had a great idea, an idea to shake the world, and others would laugh at it at first, and then they would get into trouble and snatch at it and steal it away from its owner, and then they would bungle it. Look at the way they were bungling Daitoa. And they would not let him do anything but take trips where he was bundled off very courteously from one airport to another or else make speeches before clerks and crooks and stenographers and shopkeepers who stared stupidly and slouched in their seats and smoked their stinking cigarettes. The general sat down.

Now a short stocky young man bounded up from his seat. As he bowed to the flags, one could feel the nervous eagerness in him, impatient and barely restrained for these formalities. Then he strode to the rostrum and grasped its sides tightly with his sinewy hands. This man could speak. Even to those who could not understand a word he was saying, he conveyed all his meaning with his fine vigorous voice, his impassioned gestures, even his shrill grimaces which in English would have been utterly ridiculous. He leaned over to every man in the audience, hungrily, commandingly, until it seemed he would knock the rostrum over and fall over the footlights. He shook his fists in the air, he stamped his feet, ranged and prowled from one end of the stage to the other. He was an angry man. A member of the diet, he had incurred the displeasure of the warlords, been called to the colors as a buck private, and packed off to Yiojima. Now he was back in Tokyo; a friendly commander had commissioned him to bring back the ashes of his fallen comrades and the mounting American bombings had cut off all communications with his post. He was back, and he was angry. His anger flamed and flared and shrivelled up the husk of language; he was angry at the stupidity, the complacency, the selfishness, the blind pride and paralyzing prejudice, the consecrated incompetence and gold-braided stripetrousered folly that were ruining his country and his people. He did not say a word about the Philippines but he said every word that could be said about Japan and Japan’s tragedy. He had been scheduled to speak for five minutes; he spoke for almost an hour. The befuddled chairman frowned, rapped on his little table, sent him indignant scrawled notes, and finally, unable to stand it any longer and trembling in his frayed gaitered trousers, rose and whispered to him insistently. But the audience, this picked and packed and guaranteed and certified audience of lingers-on and joiners, petition-signers, parade-marchers, pay-roll ciphers, even these had caught something of his anger and they shouted him on and shouted the chairman down, they called him back, when he made as if to go to his seat, they cheered, they chorused, they stamped and whistled and cheered again. The generals and secretaries on the stage frowned and gaped and, catching themselves leaning forward, pulled themselves up and frowned again. But they did not count any longer, only they did not know it as the old general knew it, grasping his scroll with a distant and melancholy smile.

Saturday, February 3, 1945

The same half-boring, half-scary life. Early in the afternoon Papa, Frank and Nong came home with 3 bayongful of money.  (Papa had mortgaged the farm.) We knew that the Americans were near so we decided to spend the Japanese money quickly.

Mama and all of us went back and forth to San Andres market. We brought brown sugar at ₱800.00 a kilo; red beans at ₱400.00 a kilo; chicken eggs at ₱100.00 each. A bottle of peanut butter was ₱800.00; coconuts were ₱150.00 each; cassava flour ₱500.00 a kilo; coconut oil ₱80.00 a tansan bottle. Rice was ₱1,800.00 a ganta. (Some sellers asked ₱18.00 Philippine money.) We couldn’t buy more as the sellers just brought the goods to the market little by little. And then 12 Japanese soldiers surrounded the market to get all the food. We escaped and ran home as fast as we could.

Baby and I spent the night in Frank and Josie’s at Georgia St. It was 9 p.m., but the skies were red and orange and bright like sunset because of the fires. We watched the fires from the porch and then went to bed. But I couldn’t sleep. I lay awake. I was very impatient and homesick. By midnight, we could hear faint machinegunning and shooting. But the sound was so far, far away. The night seemed so long.

February 2, 1945

[Separate sheet of paper dated]

Febr. 2nd (1945)

1st Friday and Communion – A spiritual happiness & joy which gives strength far beyond mere physical strength – Hope and charity –

There are reports – fairly reliable – of landings at Nasugbu Batangas 2 days ago and at Subic Bay 3 days ago – Nasugbu is to the South on the West Coast – Subic to the North on the West coast – the Subic landing aims at the capture of Olongapo, the naval repair

[separate sheet dated]

Feb 2nd (con)

base, the cutting of the communication of the Japanese forces resisting our advance over the mountains from the Zainbiales Coast, and our advance from Olongapo over the mountains to the East to cut the Japanese retreat into Bataan– The Musugbu landing will aim, of course, at the Cavite naval base, at cutting off a possible Japanese retreat to Teinate & Maic (?) & this evacuation to Bataan– And incidentally, after passing the Tagaytay ridge, will turn towards Manila.

Again these landings to the North & South of Manila Bay, the terrific bombings of Corregidor,

[Separate sheet dated]

Feb 2 (con)

Cavite Naval base, Fraile Island may be the prelude to an advance by task force into Manila Bay – the mines will have to be cleared and there are many wrecks in the harbor –

Gradually, the Japanese are being forced to decide what to do in the South – In a short time, any troops they have there will not be able to join the Northern forces –


Skewtch from the last entry in Holland's journal.
Skewtch from the last entry in Holland’s journal.



January 28, 1945

[Separate sheet dated]

Jan. 28th

Tho’ I am weak today, I feel rested and completely peaceful -I went to Confession last night & to Communion this morning – I saw Jose Ossario and know that if I die Dorita & the children will be sent back by the 1st boat and will be taken care of – It is a good thing to get these arrangements finished – So many now are beginning to collapse and die within 24 hours –

But while this may sound depressing, I am not depressed – In fact, my hopes are high, the news is good – And soon we shall see each other again – And all of this will be a nightmare, gone, dissolved, only remembered on stormy nights when one feels lost and alone – and really despairs.

17th January 1945

The Japanese financial adviser in Manila has given us a few graphic flashes of the last days of the Laurel regime in that city. Its government, he said, had ceased to exist for all practical purposes. It could not collect one centavo in taxes; the collector of internal revenue had himself fled to the provinces on the excuse of bad health; the government was living on 50 million yen borrowed from the Nampo (Southern Development) bank against the 200 million credit granted last year by the Bank of Japan. Nor could the government exert its authority outside the city borders of the capital. Orders to provincial governors could be delivered only through the Japanese army. The governors of Bulacan, Rizal, and Pampanga, summoned to Manila to receive instructions, had disappeared on the way back to their posts.

The people were starving; about 200 died of hunger every day. Rice was so scarce that when the Japanese garrisons went out to wash their messkits at roadside faucets, hundreds of Filipinos would gather around them, shouting “service” (one useful English word the Japanese had picked up), and waving thick wads of military notes for which they wanted only the pathetic privilege of washing the mess-kits and scraping together the few grains of rice left in them.

The Japanese, of course, know nothing of the horror they have wrought. They believe their newspapers which picture the Filipinos as grateful to the Japanese and ready in this hour of trial to fight at their side. They themselves, poor devils, are not better off. It is just as difficult to blame them as to pity them.

January 12, 1945

[Separate sheet dated]


Jan. 12th (1945)

Landings began Jan. 6th – MacArthur & staff landed Jan. 9th. 9:48 A.M. – Lingayen, Damartis, Dayupan, Mahilaoe taken .20 miles inland – No definite report from South, but it is rumored that the Japs have left Los Banos Camp. Task force shelling Cavite coast & Corregidor –

4-engine bombers went, along Mariquina Valley bombing this AM (22 in all). Later many flew north –

Another man died this morning about 10:00 A.M.

[There are no entries for January 13-27, 1945]

January 11, 1945

[Separate sheet dated]
Jan. 11th

Only a scoop of watery rice mush for breakfeast – But our hopes were never higher! The Jap radio said this morning that they were repulsing our landings at Lingayen which had started on the 6th (5 days ago!)

There are rumors of a task force & convoy outside Manila Bay – Demolition work is continuing –

I am probably under 100 lbs again but it won’t be long – Dorita & the children, thanks to the extra food, are holding up well –

[Separate undated sheet]

Bombing and strafing this afternoon – Large fires started –

Reports of landings are becoming more definite –

Food tonight very skimpy.

Another man died at 900 PM this evening – 2 more are dying – Many are

Fainting in line41 –

January 10, 1945

[There are no entries for January 1-9, 1945.]

[Separate sheet with date]

Jan. 10th

Air-raid alarm on now since 7:30 AM Jan 6th Definite reports of landings on Luzon – Anbimonan, Batangas, Cavite Province, San Fernando –

Our big planes came over at 10:00 AM and heavily bombed the North Road & Grace Park – Leaflets were dropped (picture of MacArthur & Kruger) with message that our troops were back again, that Filipinos were to get away from military objectives, that our Army was so strong it needed no help from Filipino civilians and that our troops would

[Separate undated sheet]

be here in a few days –

Demolition work continued all day – Apparently in Port Area –

This evening there were terrific explosions not far from the camp –

Perhaps San Lazaro –

The electric power plant, the gas plant & the water works have not yet been blown up.

The food situation is terrible – Thank God, I managed to buy that extra food for Dorita & the children.

[Separate sheet dated]