From Bad-as, we are now hitting the trail to the sea below Sinogbuhan San Joaquin. We are here very early—thoroughly exhausted. Our presence attract the attention of people on the beach. We have eaten our breakfast hurriedly. Our sailboats have been waiting for us. We immediately board them and [?] sail with Point Siaton in Negros as our objective. We feel slightly nervous, for we have to pass through Jap-controlled waters between Panay & Guimaras. Thank God, no Jap motor boat pops up. The wind is intermittently blowing, and we drifted into the mouth of the strait for a while. An East wind blows now, late in the evening. We are now heading fast to Siaton. We feel safe now from the enemy.
All night last night we heard the sound of planes and bombing, still in the same area. The food problem is very acute. Rice is now 300 Pesos a ganta (about 2 ½ lbs.), pork is 280 Pesos a kilo, beef 160 Pesos a kilo. One pair of men’s trousers (not new) costs 2,500 Pesos. 3½ yards of cotton fabric (ABC percale) costs 1,200 Pesos. One roll of Scott Tissue toilet paper is 500 Pesos. There is a rumor that the Americans landed on Leyte and Negros, and the next landing will be on Panay. Everyone is wishing that the critical days were over, and each one has a prayer in his heart that he will come safely through.
Yesterday was quiet, but today there have been so many planes flying overhead that I no longer keep track of them. Early in the morning three formations flew over Iloilo bay and dropped their bombs. We have heard that there is an anti-aircraft gun on a small island on the other side of Guimaras Ialand (between Iloilo and Negros).
At noon, three waves flew toward the same direction and bombed again. Just before bombing, the sound of cannon fire was heard.
It has been reported that American ships have been sighted off the coast of Iloilo!
This morning three Japanese soldiers came to the house looking for eggs. The hens we have are not laying, and I told them the few eggs we have, we bought at the market for 20 Pesos each. I gave them tea. I always serve tea whenever anyone comes to the house. Those who have come to the house are very respectful. They are not always like this with other people. In some cases, they go straight to the kitchen and help themselves to the food. I think it all depends on how they are treated. While they were in the house, four American planes flew over very low. After the soldiers left, two Japanese officers came to the house. One of them we had already met last year. A few minutes later, the sound of a heavy drone of planes was heard. We are glad they did not bomb. It makes us extra nervous to have Japanese in the house when American planes fly over. The planes flew off in the direction of Negros and soon after the sound of bombing was heard.
Many planes flew over today. At 11:00 a.m. a heavy drone was heard and on looking out we saw 50 American planes flying towards Negros. Some came close to Iloilo and we expected a raid. The Japanese guard gave the warning and left his post to seek cover. A few minutes later we saw one lone Japanese plane flying very low towards the air field. It did not land – only flew around, no doubt trying to escape from the American planes.
This morning when I looked out all I could see was water and the houses looked like boats on a lake!
The water began to recede slowly around 8:00 a.m. The weather cleared up and the sun shone through the clouds, and we were all very thankful to see the blue sky again.
Around 11:00 a.m. we heard a heavy drone, and on looking out we saw 29 American planes flying in formation. I was frightened for fear we would get a raid, and with all this mess people can’t get into their shelters. Fortunately, they passed over and went on to Negros. Soon after we could hear the bombing, and it sounded terrible as big bombs are being used. One Japanese said, “You can get away from the bombs, but the noise and concussion is so terrifying that it would drive you mad.”
At 12:00 noon we heard another drone, but this time there was only one plane flying very low. We were surprised to see how low it was flying. I noticed the Japanese sentry on the roof across the street left his post and went to the shelter. The plane flew over the flooded area, and I was thrilled when I saw the star at the tail end!
By 5:00 p.m. the water had receded considerably and by 6:30 it was gone, so we all slept downstairs with the exception of Dolly and the maid. They placed their mattresses on the floor and barricaded themselves with pillows and cushions.
Last night while we were eating supper at 6:00 p.m., a volley of bullets started flying. We all jumped up from the table and ran downstairs to the shelter. The shooting continued for a while, and then all was quiet, but one never knows when it will start again. After the shooting, John looked out from the back porch and he saw Japanese soldiers crawling in the rice fields towards the coconut grove (about 2 km from us).
The rest of the evening was quiet and we were able to sleep.
This morning we arose early (at 6:00 a.m.) and got dressed. Breakfast was served at 7:30, and since it was Junior’s birthday, everybody sang “Happy Birthday.” He no more than finished unwrapping his gift when the shooting erupted again! It did not last long, so we did not go downstairs. It’s a great life dodging bullets and I wonder how long it will continue!!
Today several planes (Americans) and numerous Japanese planes have flown over the whole day. The island of Negros is being bombed almost every day, and the big bombs are being used. The concussion of these bombs is so great that it causes bleeding from the nose and ears.
On November 6, 32 planes circled Iloilo three times, and yesterday 21 planes flew overhead. Today 14 planes visited us and circled four times over the city, and then flew off in the direction of Negros. A short while afterwards, we could hear the bombing. Negros is being bombed daily, as the Japanese there are resisting. Over here there is no resistance. We have no anti- aircraft guns on Panay, so the planes can fly without any interference. There are no Japanese planes on either airfield.
On November 6 many of the soldiers at the schoolhouse across the street were sent to Negros, but there are still many left in Iloilo. The nights have been quiet since the Japanese received reinforcements and are patrolling.
The food problem is becoming worse. There wasn’t anything in the market today and we do not dare open our canned goods, as we must keep them for the landing. Roland, Millard and John went to the rice field behind our house and were able to catch enough fish for our lunch.
The rice paddies are always filled with water and so are the ditches. There is a type of fish (pantat) which thrives in these waters.
Today is the first day that I have relaxed since Dolly and Junior have taken ill. They are both improving – Dolly can take a little more food, and Junior was able to retain his orange juice today.
Last night we spent a peaceful night – no shooting anywhere. Early this morning the Japanese re-occupied the schoolhouse across the street from us. They had been sent previously to Negros, but they came back today with reinforcements.
We spent a quiet day – no planes flew over.
Dolly and Junior are improving. Believe me, we are surely going through difficult times, and to have two ill at this time is awful, especially not knowing just what will happen from day to day. We are expecting the American troops to land at any time.