November 16, 1944

I went around the City yesterday to see the effect of the bombing last 13th and 14th. About 14 ships were sunk in the Manila Bay Area aside from the partial destruction of Jap military installations in the City.

Ermita district got the greatest share of civilian casualties, because they are very near the shore. There were many dogfights on top of the Bay and everybody was talking about that lone U.S. fighter that was being chased by two Japs that “suddenly swerved and machinegunned one Jap till it plummeted to earth, chased the other which ran away and then suddenly turned into flames.”

The Apostolic Delegate and the Archbishop’s Palace were partly damaged by the raid and the Japs capitalized on these things, placed them on the front page and squawked about “Anglo-Saxon violation of religious beliefs of Catholic Filipinos.”

The fact is that the Archbishop and Apostolic Delegate left their respective places months ago because the Japs used their residences as ammunition dumps. Several Manila churches were also filled with boxes of ammunition.

Japs have spread their supplies throughout the City under trees, in parks among bushes to minimize destruction from bombing. To really destroy all Jap suppy dumps, the whole City would have to be destroyed because they have used private homes as warehouses.

Yesterday I saw sailors, survivors of sunk ships, lying wearily on the grass under the shade of trees at Taft Avenue. They looked hungry and half-dazed and their clothes were smeared with oil. They were just sitting around looking at nowhere and their faces looked pitiful.

I saw two truckloads of Jap dead passing Taft Avenue and there was a bad odor that made me feel sure that the trucks carried corpses. Due to lack of transportation facilities, carts covered with white sheet were also seen in several Manila streets pulled by Jap soldiers. All Japs had their caps off in respect to dead inside carts.

Meanwhile the Japs are frantically vacating their military establishments. They are commandeering houses of civilians to hide from U.S. bombs. Schoolhouse amid civilian houses in Altura is now Military Police headquarters which was bombed in last Tuesday’s raid.

Manilans are ready to suffer damage to their properties and even death to themselves as long as they get back their freedom. One Manilan said: “Let them bomb my house if that’s going to hurry things up.”

A Jap soldier passing by the house yesterday asked to come in. He was very pale and he said he was shivering with malaria. He asked for quinine. The fellow had a very sad face and then he wanted to know if this was New Guinea.

A friend of mine told me yesterday that there was Jap nurse who burst out in tears when she read the papers announcing American landings in Leyte. The nurse remarked: “I thought we were winning all the time.”

 

October 16 (later)

More details on Ramon Araneta’s death at Fort Santiago. The phone rang at the Araneta home. Corito, the daughter, answered. Jap from Santiago said: “You can take your father now. He is DEAD, DEAD, DEAD…. do you hear me?” There was no answer. Corito fainted. When her mother came to ask “What’s the matter?” she gathered her strength, pretended nothing had happened, said “I couldn’t understand.” Corito is a very courageous girl. Japs wanted to bring her to the fort also but changed their minds when she was dressing up. They said: “O.K., just stay, we are gentlemen, we take you some other time.” Japs suspected she was typing radio broadcasts from San Francisco.

Minister Arsenio Luz, Jose Corominas, Juan Chuidan, and Dr. Antonio Vasquez were the ones who took Araneta’s corpse from Santiago. Japs couldn’t understand why they went there and there was a long time trying to ask for Araneta. Until finally, one Jap who understood a little English brought them to a room. Araneta was there, stiff on the floor, with a dirty sweater. Minister Luz who thought Araneta was well and to be released was shocked and having been slightly inebriated at the time, he lost his head and started to shout and curse in Spanish “Esto no puede!” until Dr. Vasquez silenced him and said “not here, not here.” Corominas, a good friend of Araneta could not speak. With his pal’s corpse prostrate before him, he looked straight at the eye of the Jap who also looked fixedly at him. He used to be afraid of Japs and Fort Santiago having been locked there too in the past. But at that moment, he was no longer afraid. He had ceased to care. Indignation was greater than fear of death. He kept looking at the Japanese, spoke a thousand words by his silence. The Jap took off his glance, showing signs of shame. The four friends carried Araneta’s stiff body to Luz’s car.

News has been spread that Araneta died of a heart attack. Indications are that he died because he was battered in the fort. His body had contusions around the stomach pit. But the doctors who autopsied his body do not want to talk, not until day of liberation.

It appears that Japs suspected Araneta was listening over the radio. When he received a tip that they might pick him up, he transferred his set to his secretary. Japs caught his secretary who unable to withstand torture began to talk. Japs arrested Araneta midnight. They knocked at his door: “Open up! Open up! Military Police!” His wife who was awake put on her lounging gown before opening door. But Japs broke it before they could get the key.

His night watchman was tied. Four Filipino informers investigated the servants and searched first floor of the house. Japs investigated Araneta and wife and children upstairs and inspected rooms. Japs took ₱40,000 from one of Araneta’s drawers, drank his wine and took canned goods. His chickens, turkeys and pigs disappeared too.

Chief Justice Jose Yulo brought this to the attention of Colonel Nagahama, head of Military Police, a friend of the Chief Justice. He immediately sent investigators to Araneta family to find out the truth. Japs recovered part of ₱40,000 and paid rest and returned one can of sardine, apologized, explained: “you see the men were hungry and had not yet eaten.”

Tragic part of story is that the wife thought her husband was going to be released. Mrs. Jose Yulo, sister of Araneta called her up and said, “Coring, come with me because this afternoon Col. Nagahama has invited us for a cocktail.” Nagahama promised to speed up Araneta’s investigation. He explained that it was because they suspected him of listening to short wave broadcasts. It is evident, however, that the colonel did not know what was happening in his own office and it was possible that at the time of the party Araneta was already dead.

Mrs. Araneta believes her husband died because he was very worried about his daughters whom Araneta loved very much. But, she is taking her husband’s death very calmly because she is resigned to her fate.

To make matters worse, Araneta’s home is being taken by the Navy. The family is now packing up and they don’t know where to transfer. They need not worry about having a home, however, because many families are willing to share their homes with them. A bomb also dropped at the Araneta garden during last Tuesday’s raid. Their house was covered partially by earth and their glasses broke. Apparently the American plane was hit and the aviator was looking for a vacant lot in which to dislodge his bombs and then to land. He found the garden which is quite spacious between the Araneta home and the Hernaez residence. He let go his bombs before plummeting to earth.

There were many visitors offering condolences to Araneta family. Mr. Ramon Araneta is a well known social figure in Manila. At present, one of his daughters is in the United States. The mother cries when she thinks of this girl who will return home and find her family without a home and above all —-without her father.

To all this, Japs have said ———-So sorry!


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.


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!


January 3, 1938 Monday

Segundo-Desk Private-1938_Page_006

 

Went to O’Donnell to see the road and determine its suitability for the maneuver.

Stopped at Dau and looked over the fishponds. Went to Hdqrs Ft. Stotsenburg to find out if there were any orders or changes re maneuver. Met Maj. Price Cav. who was at Riley with me. Met Col Daugherty 26th Cav.

Rode with daughters Ramon Araneta.