December 21, 1944

Significant developments. Puppet P.I. government moving to Baguio. Laurel and all Ministers including Manuel Roxas scheduled to leave for Baguio last night. Jap Embassy also hurriedly packing to transfer to Baguio. Jap Dept. of Information burning papers, will continue propaganda in Baguio. Speaker B. Aquino remained in Manila, promised to go up after wedding of his son Billy. Minister Antonio de las Alas expressed fear Japs will eventually bring P.I. cabinet to Tokyo. Gen. Paulino Santos, head of P. Constabulary, will reside in Malacañan. Japs planning to give Sakdals thru Makapili more extensive powers in Manila government.

Further indications Japs vacating Manila: big shipyard and iron works in Findlay & Miller docks being dismantled; ammunition dump in Pinaglabanan being transferred. All telephone installations of buttai 2944 in City being removed. Jap leather factory in Aviles has stopped work. Wives of Jap civilians left by train last night. Preparations to move sick Jap soldiers from Quezon Institute now underway. Non-stop movement of troops, trucks, tanks, artillery in Manila roads. Soldiers are in full pack. Trucks loaded with supplies and baggages. Roads leading to the outskirts of Manila filled with Japs leaving the city hurriedly.

Manilans agog by these new developments. Morale of people has risen to skies. Jap morale evidently on the downgrade. An old Jap who had been here 10 years said: “What do you think of all these things?” Manilans think Americans will be in Manila by the 15th of January. Landings will be effected “maybe before Christmas or New Year”. People suspect landings in Batangas. Everybody is in gay spirits. “No better Christmas could be had!” some say. Talk of open city revived.

Barrio Teresa, Sta. Mesa, zonified yesterday morning. All houses in said barrio searched. About 400 males corralled near Sta. Mesa market. Everybody made to sit under sun. One man being battered with a blunt instrument kept shouting, pleading: “Somebody please kill me, please, please, please.”

Victor Pagulayan, assistant manager of Naric, dying. After leaving Fort Santiago he was brought to the hospital. Several liters of water have been taken from his lungs.

Indications rise that RICCOA, newest rice agency, may be able to distribute around 600 sacks for Manila before Christmas, if Japs permit. It is reliably known that Japs have recently decided to take “all rice that can be procured from Central Luzon because of military needs.” Rice to be harvested will not be deposited in Jap bodegas in City. Harvest will be stored in warehouses along Central Luzon. This again indicates Jap intention to leave Manila. This will naturally worsen food situation in City, increase hunger-deaths. Doctors of San Lazaro hospital estimated that deaths due to chronic hunger in city around 500 daily. Many walking in streets can be seen suffering from vitamin deficiencies. Beri-beri rampant especially among lower classes.

With all these significant developments, I am of the opinion that Gen. Yamashita recognizes the untenability of defending Manila. The more troops he keeps here, the more will be sacrificed. Manila is indefensible due to its many exits and entrances. Consequently, Yamashita has taken away from city all material and people like the puppets whom he would not like to see in the hands of Americans. He has sent the bulk of his troops to the north. He has sent a minimum force to guard the coasts of Tayabas and Camarines and Batangas, most possible landing points. Yamashita realizes that his troops in the coastline will only be decimated by U.S. aerial and naval bombardment. Coastline of P.I. is flat and open. No natural protection to defenders from skies. Yamashita expects to make his stand in the north with his back to Japan. There he has natural protection, mountains, cliffs and food.

People are waiting for the zero hour. When, when will it come? Opinions range generally “from Christmas” to the first 15 days of January. Up to now the furthest I’ve heard is “around the month of March.”

Meanwhile collaborators have changed tune, speak differently. Even Aquino is changing his opinions. Opportunists, perhaps.

Guerillas are increasing in numbers. Some believe capitol of Batangas, taken by guerillas, with aerial support.


November 9, 1944

Just woke up from my siesta because the rain was entering the window. It looks like a strong typhoon. The Weather Bureau now under Japanese control refuses to give warning as to the strength of the typhoon. Dad thinks its No. 3 but that the vortex will not hit Manila. This kind of weather will hamper smooth operation of MacArthur’s offensive in Leyte and naturally the invasion of Luzon.

Manilans are now very impatient. Everybody is asking “When?” but then everybody answers the question with “not later that this month, of course.” Some think “After the typhoon, but definitely.” Others ask: “Will it be after Leyte and Samar have been completely taken?” or “Will they just pocket the Japs and skip to Tayabas or Camarines or Batangas or in all these three potential landing points at one time?”.

Guerrillas are getting ready for the zero hour. When the time comes, MacArthur’s troops will get determined assistance from the rear. Many young men are “going up”. Maybe they’re “up” already. I have been called for next Tuesday.

Pagulayan was brought to Fort Santiago yesterday. He was very ill with probably stomach ulcers. His sons came home and they were crying. This is the second time he is brought in. Papa guaranteed his good behavior with his life. My dad is very sad.

Dids Adriano was taken in also. They said he was buying grenades for guerrillas. He was apparently brought in by a Jap spy who “planted” the grenades.

Colonel Juan Moran was also picked up by the M.P. He was apparently lured by the notorious Madame Pansani who they claim is a spy also working for the Japanese.

No planes today. Japanese or American. Once a truck passed and I thought it was a plane. Japs are able to sleep these days. They are sure there will be no bombing while the typhoon continues. I hope the Americans arrive when the sky brightens.

And they better come before the year ends because the food situation is getting worse and worse. Rice costs ₱5,600 a sack.

Today’s Tribune announced Yamashita, Singapore’s conqueror, is the new Commander-in-Chief of the Philippine sector. There were also a lot of news stories about how Jap Kamikaze unit dives into aircraft carriers. Somebody remarked: “Why do they toot their horn so much about their readiness to die?” What about those American pilots diving at the Jap airfields and strafing from a stone’s-throw altitude?

Good crack I heard: Jap communiques always speak of planes that have not yet returned to their base after a daring attack on enemy positions. Somebody said: I was trying to see in today’s paper if those planes have already returned to their base.


July 10, 1942

Thinking of Pagu. At a dinner at the Hotel with Major Nishimura, I asked about Pagu. The interpreter said in broken Spanish: “Ese para muerto ya” and he made a gesture with his hands as though slitting his throat. I got pale. I said: “But he is a very good man. He is very needed in the Naric. And what he did was nothing. Everybody had these leaflets. I also.” The interpreter laughed.


July 3, 1942

Am writing a letter to Fort Santiago requesting the release of Pagulayan and Unson. Will give the following reasons:

(1) They are good, useful men.

(2) They have excellent records in the government service.

(3) Whatever propaganda they disseminated has been checked.

(4) They have been more than sufficiently penalized.

I also offered the guarantee Pagu’s good conduct with my life.

Lolita praying for their release. She sent Pagu a medal of Santa Teresita.

Played tennis and bowling.


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.


May 27, 1942

Monthly consumption of tiki-tiki by Japanese Army is 6,000 sacks according to Mr. Kobatake.

Monthly quota to be covered by Naric in the provinces: Nueva Ecija—3,000 sacks; Bulacan—2,000 sacks; Tarlac—500 sacks.

Price of Tiki-tiki in Manila: Tiki-tiki No. 1 is ₱2.50 per sack of 48 kilos gross excluding sack; Tiki-tiki No. 2 is ₱2.00 per sack of 45 kilos excluding sack; Tiki-tiki No. 3 ₱1.50 per sack of 45 kilos excluding sack.

Mata-mata is ₱2.00 per sack of 45 kilos gross excluding sack. Binlid is ₱3.50 per sack of 50 kilos gross excluding sack.

Price in the provinces in 10 per cent less than the price in Manila without sack.

…Telephone calls, visitors, tiki-tiki, darak, mata-mata, binlid, rice rations, “Oh sir, the rice is brown,” “How do you arrange rice rations?”, “How about giving this voter a job for old time’s sake?”, Inada’s arrogance, Japanese suspiciousness, inability to understand each other’s language, threats, “You’re a pro-Japanese!”, “Why didn’t you open the bodegas?”, more war prisoners dying, send medicine for camp, so-and-so was slapped by Nakashima, boxed by Inada, that Filipino is an informer so be careful of him, Pagulayan, Unson, Fort Santiago, “I resign!”, “That’s hostile act, no you can’t resign!”… Life is a bloody nightmare!


May 10, 1942

Listened to Radio Tokyo. Heard that the Japanese forces operating in Burma have occupied Myitkina, northeastern terminus of the Burma railway. I wonder if the Burmese are wholeheartedly cooperating with the Japanese.

The Coral Sea naval battle seems to have taken quite a heavy toll of ships from the U.S. Navy. The Japanese claim the following U.S. warships were sunk:

“a. U.S. aircraft carrier Saratoga type; b. U.S. aircraft carrier Yorktown type; c. U.S. battleship California type; d. Destroyer.”

No announcements were given by the Japanese regarding their own losses. I tried to tune in on KGEI to verify but there was too much static.

Asked three or four people I met downtown what they think of the announcements from Radio Tokyo. They shook their heads and said: “Baloney!”

Dreamt of Pagulayan. He was pale and all in white and he had a black tie. What is the meaning of my dream? The night before Lincoln’s assassination, he had a strange premonition he would be killed because of a dream. According to Carl Sandburg’s biography, Lincoln believed in dreams. How much truth is there in dreams?

 


April 8, 1942

Intro from memoirs: But one day I had a scare. Old Pio Duran, who believed in the Jap-sponsored Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, if there ever was one, called me up and said I was wanted at Fort Santiago at 11:30 a.m. on April 8th…

I was worried. I could not tell Lolita [my wife] I was wanted at the Fort…

10:30 a.m. Thinking of Lolita and the kids. In the face of grave affliction, a man’s family is uppermost on his mind. He ceases to care about himself. He only thinks of his dear ones. He suddenly realizes that it is only for them that he lives.

Must stop writing, I’ve got to say goodbye to the boys. This silly sentimental crab will bore you no more…

11:00 p.m. Sorry, diary, the old bore is back again. No, he wasn’t detained. He was just shocked. He was a victim of a twisted sense of humor.

It was not an investigation after all but an invitation. Why I was invited, I don’t know. The others present were Dr. Antonio Sison, Messrs. Julio Francia, Pedro Aunario, Ramon Ordoveza, Pedro Vera, Bibiano Meer and Tomas Morato. Everyone was invited in the same fashion and for two days, they all imagined they’d be tortured in some dark cell. Morato arrived with sandwiches. “Just in case they lock me up,” he said.

Col. Ohta and Major Nishimura, the heads of Fort Santiago, explained the reason for the invitation. “We want to show you that Fort Santiago is not a place of torture.” We were taken around and shown the cell of Dr. Rizal. Games and exhibitions were performed before us. One Japanese officer, a Lieut. Koeki, took a bale of hay and hacked it into two parts with one swift stroke of his samurai sword.

We had quite a luncheon, too. And afterwards everybody was given a chance to speak. When my turn came, I told them what was uppermost in my mind. I was thinking og Pagulayan and Unson. I asked if something could be done to release them. But before I could say anything more, Major Nishimura raised his hands and said: “Not now, please.”

So I kept quiet, I knew all this was a sham.

While we feasted above, men were groaning in the dungeons below. The food stuck in my throat and I felt cold. I guess everybody felt the same way too…


April 4, 1942

Commencement of NARIC purchasing operations in Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac and Pangasinan.

Said Col. Uzaki on this occasion: “I wish to impress upon you the heavy responsibility that rests on your shoulders as the vanguards of your organization. It is incumbent upon each and every one of you to do the best to purchase a large quantity of rice and palay in a short time, for which purpose you will be custodians of considerable sums of money.”

He promised to supply all provincial employees with food, housing and a per diem of ₱1.00, irrespective of nationality besides rice rations.

A ₱1,500,000 account has been arranged with the Bank of Taiwan. Must immediately send ₱150,000 for Cabanatuan and ₱150,000 for Tarlac. The damage in the Cabanatuan compound due to the bombing in the first weeks of the war must be repaired.

Missing Pagulayan in the office. He was a great help. There is news that he may be executed. I refuse to believe it. Some people enjoy spreading alarming stories. I dislike gossipers and alarmists.

Saw a soldier walking with a monkey perched on his head. There must be some truth in the Darwinian theory.