Dolly is better this morning. She is able to take a little orange juice and retain it. She is terribly jaundiced, but it is clearing up slightly. She has lost a lot of weight and is still very weak. Jr. is getting better.
On October 29 a messenger girl came from Barotac. Rose had sent her from the farm with 6,000 Pesos for us (Japanese notes), a few eggs, salted pork and peanuts.
Conditions in Barotac are o.k. All the Japanese are gone from the town, as well as from the neighboring towns of Pototan and Dumangas.
There was some trouble in the town of Anilao. The guerrillas killed 27 Japanese soldiers, and the following day the Japanese retaliated and many civilians were killed (beheaded) while the guerrillas fled to the mountains. (Anilao is only about 7 miles from our farm).
Joy of all joys! We received a letter from Coné this morning and I shall quote it to you:
“February 24, 1943
Thank God we arrived safely last Sunday with Efrain after eight days of sailing in an old motor boat. Our companion motor boat capsized under our very nose. It had started leaking when we left Manila, and we had to tow each other, by turn, due to engine trouble.
The school here is open and it would be better for the children to attend school at Colegio de San Jose. They now accept boys as well as girls.
Most of our furniture is still here, but the aparadors are empty of clothes. When the appropriate time comes I want you all to take our important things, especially my trunk and instruments and drugs so I can practice.
I cannot leave the city – not advisable since I have to report every week.
I am getting stronger. Dorothy and Meñing are very kind to me, and Dorothy has been taking care of my diet.
There is no need to be too much in a hurry to come to the city. We have been away so long from each other, so do not take unnecessary risks in coming – come when safe. Tell Agustin, Melecia and Rose of my desire that you come to Jaro if there is no danger along the way. Perhaps in a couple of weeks, trucks will be running to Barotac and a train may run to Pototan.
I am sending you a can of guava jelly and a big can of margarine through the relative of a former patient (the wife of the man to whom I gave 13 blood transfusions). I will have to stop writing now as she is waiting for the letter.
Love to all”
We were so overjoyed at getting his letter that we cried and thanked God for His goodness!
I am very much afraid that Coné’s old problem with his stomach (ulcer) has flared up again due to poor diet and these stressful times. As soon as all is safe and we are sure of no more ambushing we shall return to Jaro.
Around our vicinity it is now quiet. There are no Japanese in Barotac or Pototan. They are going in the other direction towards Passi and Calinog (towards the center of the island). Every day we hear bombing coming from that direction and two nights ago a Japanese ship shelled the coast of Barotac Viejo (north of here).
Our air raid shelter is finished and it is better than the one we had in Barotac.
Several days have passed since I have written. It is very quiet out our way since Pototan has been taken by the Army, but there is always trouble in Iloilo. I am thinking of my many friends that are there and I hope they come safely through, as it will be a reign of terror when the army enters the city. Spies that have come from Iloilo recently said, “La Paz, Iloilo and Jaro are well fortified by the Japanese with land mines and traps.” Sometimes I feel like I cannot stand the suspense of it all, and I believe my nerves would have cracked if I had not come here. I now eat and sleep well and I am gaining a little weight. Rose has been very kind; she has been with me ever since we moved to this new hideout and contributes towards expenses.
Today is Sunday and we are very quiet. Since Pototan has been taken, we no longer hear gunfire or the booming of trench mortars.
Two days ago a soldier came from Iloilo and he says there is plenty of fighting in Jaro and Iloilo. The La Paz Ice Plant has been burned and the army’s (USAFFE) policy is to burn all houses in La Paz, Jaro and the few remaining in Iloilo. I am wondering about the fate of Susie Gurrea. She was still living in their house adjoining the Ice Plant. I also fear for Dr. Porras and his family, Mr. Mijares, Mr. Silos and Atty. Ismael – they are all on the Army’s black list.
The fall of Pototan took place on October 20, 1942. The Japanese that were left escaped to Iloilo in armored cars and now Pototan is in the hands of the Army. The rumor is that over a 1,000 civilians have been killed in the fights and skirmishes – some of them shot by the Army as pro-Japanese.
On Thursday night (Oct. 15) and Friday (Oct. 16) there was fighting all the way from Leganes (a town outside of Jaro) to Pototan. There were heavy losses on the enemy side, but a few casualties on ours.
Guerrilla warfare is taking place all over the islands and almost every day there is fighting some place. Last week the City of Zamboanga (located in the southern part of the Philippines on the big island of Mindanao) was burned by the USAFFE Army.
On Saturday, Oct. 10, we evacuated to the mountains. Our nipa hut is situated on a hill and we can see for miles around us. From where I am writing I can see the sea and the island of Negros, where there are numerous fires visible. The USAFFE is burning all the towns and places where the Japanese have lived.
I have been resting ever since we have arrived here and I am feeling much better knowing that we will not be bombed or machine gunned.
Estrella is adding on a kitchen and toilet as there are no such facilities in this place. Rose is with me and she contributes towards the expenses. I appreciate it very much as it makes it easier for me.
Three days ago we saw a Japanese warship in the distance and that same ship shelled Barotac Viejo, a town approximately 11 km from where we are staying. Fortunately, there were no casualties.
Two nights ago there was heavy fighting outside of Pototan. We could hear the trench mortars very clearly.
The civilians must be suffering terribly and many will be killed, if not by stray bullets, they will be shot as collaborators. Our family dentist, Dr. Hinahon, has been put on the USAFFE black list. I firmly believe that many on the list are innocent of such charges and they are being friendly to the Japanese for their survival.
We have heard that the water supply in Iloilo and Pototan have been cut off and the shortage of food is now acute.