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 3, 1945

Coconut milk, weak coffee and weaker rice mush. Mostly water. Weighed myself this morning. Weighed 119 lb. When I was in the Gym, I held at 170 lb. and now, the extreme low. Oh well, it won’t be long now.

Had soy bean soup for lunch. Not very much but it was hot. for supper, one rounding ladle of camotes boiled with skins on and a ladle of vegetable and mongo bean soup. Gee, was I hungry last night. Couldn’t sleep. My stomach kept inquiring why there was no food. It thought that my throat has been cut so that I couldn’t swallow anything.

We haven’t had a calamansi for about 15 days, nor a banana for over a month and we have forgotten what an egg looks like. The last banana that I had was a little surly saba that never got ripe. Well, I baked it in a fire and ate it “mas que”. Now as to camotes, it takes three times the weight of camotes to equal the same amount of rice, so if we had three ladles of camotes last night, we would have bloated up like a balloon. Now you see why I was hungry.

About 5:45 p.m., saw 4 of our dive bomber type planes fly over Grace Park and Quezon City. The Nips shot at them but the planes did not stop. So that ended a perfect day.

January 2, 1945

10:45 a.m. Another flock of our planes just passed over. No air raid alarm and no rough stuff.

We had a tasty dinner yesterday. Two scoops (small) of rice, camotes and carabao meat fried with garlic and leeks. mmmm! tasted mighty good. Also a fair sized ladle of meat gravy. Would have liked to have had double the helping. Then my poor little tummy would have been full for once.

Breakfast this morning — just mush. I got some hot water and mixed some of the mush on the hot water with salt and had a hot drink. Trying to fool myself, but no can do.

At 3:30 p.m. 10 B-24’s passed over Quezon City, going east. Anti-aircraft batteries shot at them but no hits. (They drove them away.)

Rice and mixed camote and talinum greens with meat gravy. No taste.

Wednesday, September 29, 1943

Things are going on and I don’t know whether they’re going to ship the married men back to Santo Tomás or not. I’m going to try and get the straight of it tomorrow, although I doubt if anyone has the true facts. I heard positively today that we’re to have a new Commandant and another less authentic matter regarding repatriation. I wouldn’t mention except for the source—four ships on the way to take us home. There’s still nothing going on in the barracks. I’m sick and tired of the whole mess. I love you Damn it, the years are going by—here I am 35 years old and hoping that next 50 holds more than I’ve been willing to believe possible. So it goes—When will we have a chance?

Thursday, May 20, 1943

…Calhoun spoke over loudspeaker tonight, said news from Manila exceptionally good, etc. The news brought into Santo Tomás by some 70 reinternees is good, if we can believe what we hear. We have to remove hat and bow to sentries on point duty, there is one, sometimes 2 of them. But thing is to keep away from them. Fruit etc. is coming in great quantities…

December 1, 1942

I had just visited another concentration camp—that of Santo Tomas. There are actually some 3,000 internees and in some more time, a few thousand more are expected from the south. The Japanese guards deal with them liberally, without getting involved in the private life of the prisoners. In the two hours during which I went around the camp and many of its structures, I saw no other sentries aside from those at the gates.

The prisoners are receving a monthly allocation of some ₱30,000, with a committee in charge of utilizing it to provide for the prisoners’ needs. Another Committee is responsible for peace and order with some 150 Americans acting as policemen. Everybody is given an assignment according to his talents. They have to do all the work within the Camp. Some American and Spanish Dominican priests are allowed to enter the Camp everyday to celebrate Mass and give religious instruction to the children. They also give lectures to the adults about social and apologetic questions, and watch over the properties of the University which are still being stored there.

A good portion of the Camp has been converted into a vegetable garden. According to the foreman, they harvest more than a thousand kilos of vegetables a month. These are apportioned among the garden tenders, the hospital and—if there is a surplus—among those who need them most.

The prolonged confinement, the weariness, the monotony and the lack of nutrition are already telling on the prisoners, taxing the spirit even of the most optimistic. During the earlier months, they had been living in the hope of an early liberation. Although this hope is revived from time to time, it is withering like a flower deprived of the sunlight of reality. Those who still have money and relatives or friends in liberty receive support with which they supplement their meager diet and are provided with clothing, shoes, cigarettes, etc. For the others, nostalgia becomes doubly burdensome.

May 16th, 1899

Paterno, upon assumption to power, as President of the Council of Secretaries, made the following appointments:

Felipe Buencamino…………………………. Foreign Affairs
Hugo Ilagan………………………………….. Finance
Severino de las Alas………………………… Interior
Mariano Trias………………………………… War and Navy
Leon Ma. Gerra[1]……………………………… Agriculture, Industry and Commerce
Aguedo Velarde……………………………… Public Instruction
Maximino Paterno…………………………… Public Works and Communications
This was known as the Paterno Cabinet.
The Mabini Cabinet was composed of:
Apolinario Mabini……………………………. President
Mabini………………………………………… Department of Foreign Affairs
Teodro Sandico……………………………… Department of Interior
Mariano Trias (Arcadio del Rosario, acting) Department of Agriculture
Gracio Gonzaga…………………………….. Department of Fomento
Baldomero Aguinaldo………………………. Department of War and Navy
Cruz Herrera (acting)……………………….. Department of Public Instruction

The Foreign Affairs portfolio was given to Cayetano Arellano, who, however, did not assume office after taking his oath.

Once the Paterno Cabinet was established, peace negotiations were considered based on a proposal of autonomy patterned after Canada’s. In fact, he gathered in San Isidro, Nueva Ecija, Generals Luna, [Pio del] Pilar, and other chiefs to deliberate on the idea. Buencamino read a well-reasoned proposition; but it was taken by those present with reserve. The officers left for their posts, the majority of whom reserved their opinions.

The American advance, arrested in Calumpit, finally broke the line by attacking Quingua, then Pulilan, from which point they penetrated Calumpit suffering many casualties. They continued advancing to Apalit, Santo Tomas, and San Fernando, where they stationed themselves for a few months. Since the capture of Calumpit, the Filipinos fortified Bambang and established the capital of the Republic at Tarlac.

It must have been May 9 when Congress was convened at San Isidro, resulting in the resignation of the entire Mabini Cabinet. Once the “unreasonable” person was out of power, the conservatives spread the news everywhere that peace had been declared. It even reached the mountains, and was a powerful reason for those taking refuge in the environs of Biyak-na-bató to return to their homes. Numerous families went back to the towns believing that very soon peace would be a reality.

I went to Malolos after I left Polo. Then I accompanied the family of Mariano de Santos to Baliuag and San Miguel de Mayumo. When the latter was captured by the Americans, we took to the sitio of Balaong[2] near Biyak-na-bató. We had two houses here for two large families. We had to provide thirty-three cavans of palay or more and some sacks of salt for a year’s supply.

We moved into the houses. The family of Nazario Constantino was joined by his brother-in-law, Santos de Castro of Polo with his three sons, his cousin Teresa, and the family of Lucio Ongsiaco; and that of Santos was joined by the mother-in-law of Nano[3] with her companions. The two houses were full.

With the capture of San Miguel, fearing that the Americans might conduct an inspection, we spent the night in the Tañganan cave. The next day, about midafternoon, we returned to the house and found the other members of the household preparing to return to their respective homes, as news of peace were being circulated all around from mouth to mouth. During the night, all our belongings were placed in the carts that had arrived from San Rafael.

The next day, May 15, all of us, riding on the fifteen carts, were on our way to San Rafael.

Major Soriano and I should have stayed behind; but we believed it to be our duty to take them as far as the environs of said town. It must have been about 5 o’clock in the afternoon when we saw the town proper from afar, but we had to pass through the populous barrio of Caiñgan towards which we were riding. Soriano and I should have returned by now; but at the insistence of the young girls who invited us to dine with them, we accompanied them to the barrio about 7 in the evening.

[1]Leon Ma. Guerrero.


[3]Mariano de los Santos.