June 17, 1942

Food production campaign not going on well. People are discouraged to plant. When fields are all planted, the fields are commandeered. Some are transformed to airfields. Payment given does not compensate for value of the products.

This is the trouble with the Japanese. They want the people to like them but they slap the people and torture them.

They want something for nothing all the time.

They can’t eat the cake and keep it.

Lolita baked a cake. Vic ate one-half.

 


June 16, 1942

Talked to Fukada regarding Mr. Inada. I told Fukada that Inada must be told to change his arrogant ways. He cannot treat Filipinos like dogs. Personally, he has not been rude to me. But I resent his rudeness to fellow Filipinos.

Fukada asked me to be patient.

The Japanese are thinking of introducing Hori rice. They are excited about it. Hori rice seems more glutinous.

Walked home. Walking is a good exercise.

 


June 15, 1942

Visited Pagu at San Marcelino police station. He was with Unson and several others. They were all thin and pale and their hair was cut short. I thought I would not be allowed to see them but the policemen let me in. They said they were arrested because of alleged distribution of enemy propaganda. I asked them how they were treated in Fort Santiago. They remained silent. I understood.

I promised to work for their release. Just keep on praying to God, I told them.

Talked to Phil about Bataan till past midnight.


June 13, 1942

Mr. Fukada ordered the removal of all pictures of President Manuel Quezon from the Naric. He explained that this was in line with a suggestion issued by Malacañan a month ago.

Presented my resignation again.

Refused again.

 


June 3, 1942

Military parade held in Manila yesterday. Lt. Gen. Homma reviewed his victorious Japanese forces. The newspapers say there were many onlookers. It was not so. There were very few and the majority were forced to attend the parade. The people did not applaud the troops. There was none of the usual fanfare and cheers from the crowd. Men, women and even children looked grimly, sadly. I kept thinking of the last line of Zulueta’s prize-winning essay during the Commonwealth regime: “And gods will walk on brown legs.” Were these the gods—these men that tramped in their ugly shoes and drab uniforms? There was something about the way they marched, a sort of automatic shoving of the feet forward, their bodies swaying to the left and right, just forging on and on, wearily, doggedly, fanatically…

I felt cold, like awaking from a nightmare.

 

 


June 2, 1942

More deaths in O’Donnell.

A mother heard her son was badly in need of medicine. She begged the authorities to let her see her son. After several days, her pleas were granted. She arrived in the prison camp with a doctor. When she saw her son, the last had just closed his eyes.

People are angry at Filipino high officials. Why don’t they make strong representations with the Japanese authorities? Why don’t they say bluntly, frankly, sternly that if as the Japanese claim, they are our “liberators,” then why don’t they free our sons and brothers and fathers and friends from the concentration camp?

My wife’s cousin broke into the house late last night with tears in his eyes. He received a crumpled sheet of paper from his son in camp. The boy was asking his father for medicine. He was very ill. My wife’s cousin wanted to find out if I could secure a permit to bring medicine for his son. “Surely,” he said, “there is nothing wrong in sending medicine to a dying son.” I brought him to Mrs. Vargas. She will try to use her influence. But maybe, it will be too late. I feel it in my bones.

A man came to the house this morning begging for alms. He was pale and thin and unkempt. He extended his hands tremblingly.

“Please, sir, can you give me some money? I would like to buy some medicine, sir.” His whole body was shivering.

I noticed his eyes. They seemed to be gazing nowhere. His eye sockets were yellow. But his eyes were piercing, penetrating and yet they looked dazed, unearthly.

I looked at his feet. They were swollen and his ankles were bandaged by black, dirty rags. They were feet that had walked and ran and had been soaked in mud and water.

He spoke haltingly, hesitatingly: “Sir, I am hungry. They did not want to give me food in the house over there. They told me I am strong enough to work. Please, sir, could you give me some food?”

This man, I thought, was no ordinary beggar.

“Who are you? I asked

He did not want to answer.

“Do not be afraid” I assured him.

And he told me his story.

“I was a soldier in Bataan. I escaped and walked through the mountains and the fields until I reached Manila. But when I arrived in my house, my family was no longer there. I do not know where they are. I cannot reveal to people that I am a soldier. The Japanese might arrest me.”

And then he opened his shirt. He had six wounds in his body. He was awarded the silver star for gallantry and the purple heart for his wounds.

I stood before the young veteran. Before me was a Filipino hero.

 


June 1, 1942

Constabulary Academy inaugurated. Graduates will be utilized as peace officers, according to Japanese authorities. Several hundred Filipino youths reported for training. People downtown do not look favorably at those who have joined the new constabulary. “Instead of fighting in Bataan, they fight for the enemy,” they comment. “They’ll be used as shock-troops by the Japanese,” others point out. A friend look at the point from a different angle. “Let more Filipinos,” he said, “join the Constabulary so they can get arms and then…”

Bought spare tires for my bike. Gasoline and alcohol are getting very scarce.

 


May 31, 1942

KGEI admitted the sinking of an Allied warship in the port of Sydney by the attack of a special Japanese submarine flotilla.

Rode in a calesa. Asked the cochero: “Who do you think will win the war?” I was curious to know the sentiments of the masses.

“The Americans!” he answered unequivocally.

“Why? “I asked to provoke him.

“Because MacArthur will get plenty of planes and then . . .”

“And then what?”

“Aba, señor, maybe you are from Fort Santiago and then you will report.”

“No, No. You can trust me. My son is in the Army. He is now in Capaz.”

“Ah, I wish I was also fighting in Bataan.”

“But why do you think the Americans will win?” I brought the subject back.

“How can these people win? Look at their trucks, cars, tanks, uniforms. Not so good. It looks breakable like Japanese toys.”

“Well, then, why did the USAFFE lose?”

He thought for a while. And then he said: “Because they were surprised. Even Jack Dempsey, I can knock out if I just hit him suddenly. But when MacArthur comes back with the flying fortress and the bombers and tanks, well, well…”

“What do you mean—well, well . . .”

“I mean it will be just very well, heh, heh, heh!”

“Well, stop out there at Tom’s, on that corner.”

I entered Tom’s. The place had a different atmosphere. The floors were wet and sticky. The people were not as well dressed as in the pre-war days. And the customers were different. There was a pianist playing “My Baby Don’t Care” and a fat lady was singing in a high falsetto.

“Coffee!” I told the waiter.

While waiting for the coffee, a hostess with gold teeth sat on my table. “Please,” she said in a state of semi-intoxication, “protect me from that brute.” She was pointing to a Japanese officer. I did not know what to say. “The Japanese…“ and she started giving a speech against Japan. “Don’t speak loudly,” I said. She spoke louder and louder. “Stop it!” I said. “This man here,” she said, “agrees with me!” “Stop it!” I said. “STOP IT! STOP!”

“Wake up, Vic,” said my wife.