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!


November 7, 1944

Saw some of the Jap troops that arrived recently. They looked haggard, unkempt, underfed. Their shoes were made of black cloth and some were dragging their feet. Their uniforms were very dirty and smelly. Many of them were asking the people downtown f they were in Australia. No doubt Japanese people are being duped by their leaders.

Listened to the Voice of Freedom from Leyte yesterday. Heard Brig. Gen. Romulo speaking. I immediately recognized his voice although at times it sounded tired and far away. Then the Philippine National Anthem was played and I felt like crying. The last time I heard the Voice of Freedom was in Mt. Mariveles. I was lying on the ground, shivering with malaria. Brig. Gen. Lim of the 41st and Brig. Gen. de Jesus of the Military Intelligence Service were listening too. It was April 8th, the night the lines broke in the eastern sector. The Voice said: “Bataan has fallen but its spirit will live on forever….” there were other weary-looking, haggard Filipino officers under the tall trees of Mariveles that night gathered around the radio. All of us had tears in our eyes. Gen. Lim wiped his eyes with a dirty handkerchief and Gen. de Jesus turned around because he did not want to show his feelings.

Heard Clift Roberts speaking from Gen. MacArthur’s headquarters to Blue Network last night. He was poking fun at Radio Tokyo. He said that the soldiers in Leyte listened to Radio Manila and Tokyo for fun. Imagine the difference! Here under the Jap rule, we listen at the risk of our lives. One man was shot for listening in on KGEI.

Walter Dunn speaking to CBS described the rehabilitation work now being undertaken in Leyte. He said bananas cost 1 centavo each; now they cost ₱2.20 in Manila; Eggs at 3 centavoa piece in Leyte and here it costs ₱10 each; corned beef, .13 and here ₱25.

Its raining this morning. Maybe there won’t be any raids. I watched the planes yesterday afternoon hitting Murphy and U.P. site in Quezon City. They kept circling and diving over their objectives and there was practically no ground nor air resistance.

I don’t know why but my Jap neighbor came to the house yesterday. He was full of explanations. “We are just drawing them in”, he explained. I did not say a word. He also stated that their Number 1 General is here. General Yamashita, conqueror of Singapore. Gen. Kuroda is now in Baguio, he revealed.

Walked down V. Mapa with Johnnie and Eddie. We didn’t bow before the sentry. He got sore, called Johnnie. Eddie and I remained on the other side of the street. Johnnie bowed before him. “Discretion is the better part of valor,” said Johnnie.

Jap Military Police are now very active, taking people to Ft. Santiago on mere suspicion. One house near Johnnie’s was raided by about fifty M.P.’s with fixed bayonets. They arrested two doctors living there. According to rumors, the two doctors have already been killed.

The Japs have their backs against the wall. They are fighting a losing fight. Their actions are desperate. They’re commandeering all forms of transportation. Any rig they see, they take. They got all horses. They’re taking bicycles too. Filipinos can’t even ride streetcars these days. Its only for Japs. Everything in the market is being taken by them. They are the only ones using cars. Most Filipinos walk. Somebody said “They might take our legs too.” One fellow laughed at the idea. “I’m not wisecracking,” said the first fellow. “If they take our lives, why not legs.”


May 1, 1942

Listened to the Voice of Freedom. At the end of the newscast, the announcer said: “Corregidor still stands.” I wonder why he said “still stands.” Does he foresee an eventual inability to stand? Does he know that in the course of the Japanese attack Corregidor will someday fall? “Corregidor still stands” brought tears to my heart.

Demand For “darak” has increased considerably. People who used to have cars now use rigs. Most race horses now pull “carromatas.” Must make plans for more efficient distribution of “darak.”

Just read Military Ordinance No. 3, directed to the Department of Interior, prohibiting the hoisting of the Filipino flag. I know this order will embarrass Filipino collaborators. It will give a hollow, empty ring to their loud vociferations on the unselfish desire of Japan to liberate the Filipinos.

When will the Filipino flag rise again?


April 2, 1942

HQ, MIS, BATAAN

This place has turned into hell. The Japs are battering the lines from morning to evening, pounding the front from the air with high explosives. rushing the front with tanks and flame-throwers under cover of ceaseless artillery fire.

The rear areas are being subjected to inch-by-inch bombardment. Several AA guns have been silenced. Gasoline and oil supplies are aflame. Parts of the jungle are burning, presenting a weird light at night. Corpses strewn by the roadside staring up at the sky.

Corregidor too is rocking with bombs. We can see columns of smoke rising out of the Rock. We can feel the detonation here when bombs are dropped in Corregidor. The Rock looks like a blazing boulder.

We had no rice today as the mess officer did not dare build a fire. We only had canned goods. ate one sardine for brunch and one salmon for supper. It was like medicine. Had to follow it up with water.

Leonie is very ill. I am afraid he will die if he does not get medical assistance. Romulo said by phone that it would be better to send Leonie to the hospital in the Rock.

Leonie and I have written a plan for the establishment of an underground broadcasting station to operate in enemy-territory to continue the Voice of Freedom in case Bataan and Corregidor fall.

We addressed the plan to Romulo who is in charge of the Voice of Freedom. Romulo said he would take the matter up to the staff in the Rock.

Our plan consisted in putting up a moving radio station to broadcast in Luzon in case the Japs overrun Bataan and Corregidor.

We offered to operate the radio and to broadcast if the plan is approved. Proposed site of station was the island of Talim, in the heart of Laguna de Bay. Operatives have reported that Talim is not yet occupied by Japs.

Received letter from Romulo stating “Roxas will return to Corregidor to join us in the crucial hr.”


March 23, 1942

The newspapers headlined in bold letters that President Quezon died in Iloilo, a victim of his old disease. It was however added that the news has not yet been confirmed. Radio Bataan denied it strongly and promised that it would issue its own bulletin. Radio Tokyo nevertheless came back, insisting that President Quezon was assassinated. He allegedly wanted to surrender in order to avoid further shedding of blood, but General MacArthur contradicted him. A violent altercation ensued and General MacArthur shot him. The enemy radio stations repeatedly and vehemently denied the rumor and the ensuing battle of propaganda detonated like explosives. Although the rumors and counter-rumors did not kill anyone, they were demoralized, and these attacks, though unseen, caused fear and shock.

What is it that they are trying to prove, anyway!


March 14, 1942

Presented my resignation verbally to Mr. Noya. Was “asked” to remain. Insistence on my resignation will be considered a hostile act by the Military.

Another Japanese raised his hand to one of the Filipino employees. He caught the Filipino lying.

The auditors of the Accounting Division will be eliminated. The Army will do the auditing.

Pictures in the Tribune of Japanese soldiers carrying Filipino babies and distributing candies to children. That is not the way to attract the Filipino people. They do not believe everything they read in the papers. What happens to them and to their friends is what remains in their hearts.

Rumor (is) that reinforcements have arrived in Bataan. A friend said he heard over the Voice of Freedom the news that the USAFFE has started an offensive. Rumors that the present commander-in-chief may be removed because of his inability to crack Bataan defenses. Several young boys took a banca at Hagonoy and rowed to Bataan. They want to do their part.

These are the youths of Rizal’s dream.


March 12, 1942

Corregidor

Quiet, uneventful trip crossing Bay. Gatas depressed when he heard President no longer here. He said he heard of it but he was not sure.

Life here is very boring. No action. It’s all going in and out of the tunnel. When there is a raid, just go in the tunnel. After its over, you go out and breathe the fresh air.

After raids, officers always ask: “When will the convoy arrive?”

Placards have been posted around the Rock prohibiting discussion of military matters.

Ate three times. First, with officers in tunnel; then with Filipino officers in barracks; third, with Marines.

Arranged insurance papers of officers in our unit. Capt. Pepe Razon was very helpful. He is a finance officer. Gatas fixed Lim’s salary. His wife will collect for him.

Romulo said that Col. Manuel Roxas is being called by the President to Mindanao but that Roxas does not like to leave the Rock.

Romulo wanted me to take part in a script for tomorrow’s Voice of Freedom broadcast but the General said I had to be back by 6 p.m.

Heard another batch of Americans and Filipinos to be given DSC for bravery in the front.


March 6, 1942

HQ, MIS, Bataan

Could not see her today. Could not leave the HQ. Too much bombing.

Sgt. Sinculan thinks the bombs were dropped near the evacuee camp. She might have been hit. I hope not. Will go there early tomorrow.

Had carabao’s meat today with the rice. Lt. Tatco, mess officer, was able to shoot a carabao in one of the streams of Mt. Mariveles. We fried the meat and it was delicious.

Fred opened a bottle of rhum he received from an American officer. We drank during the bombardment and it calmed our nerves.

Felt so helpless as Japs flew very low strafing and bombing at will.

Many were wounded. Many trucks outside hospital. We are like rats. Worse.

Major Montserrat is very ill. The doc says he may die.

Listened to Voice of Freedom. Its words sounded hollow after terrific bombardment. When, when, when will the convoy arrive? Will it ever arrive? If it won’t, they why don’t they tell us? If it will, is it military secrecy that keeps them from telling us? Nope, it won’t arrive any more. They can’t pass thru the Jap blockade. They can’t go beyond Macassar strait. Roosevelt was not clear about helping us in his speech. Yes, it will arrive. America is such a great nation. Her factories have stopped building cars. Nothing but planes, planes, planes. They will darken the skies with their planes. The Japs will see. Hell, where are the planes? We are like rats here, running under the ground, living in dug-outs and fox-holes, bombed morning and afternoon and night and morning again. Where is the convoy? And what about the food? Sure, its easy to say “keep on fighting” but you can’t fight without food on your stomach. Wasn’t it Napoleon who said an army marches on its stomach? They boys in the front have been there for more than 60 days without replacement, without rest, without food, food, FOOD. Yes, Voice of Freedom why don’t you answer these questions? That’s what we’d like to know. Words can’t feed us. Words, words, words. Day by day, more and more die. Die of sickness. Die of hunger. Die of bombs. Die of shells. Die of bullets. Die, Die, Die. This can’t go on forever. We are human beings. Do you hear Voice of Freedom, “we are human beings”? You can’t keep matching flesh against steel? Oh hell, what am I thinking about. Sure, help’s coming. Roosevelt said so. America is not going to let us down. The eyes of the world are on us. The whole of humanity is watching us keep up the torch in this orient that’s fast getting enveloped by darkness. This is something worth dying for! Yes, I’m going to die. I am not going to see home anymore. Not going to see mama, papa and……, hell, hell, hell, what am I thinking about… O Lord!

Raid again.


February 28, 1942

Rumors (are) that more NARIC employees will be taken to Fort Santiago. Most of my men are demoralized. The efficiency of the service is impaired. Nervous tension in the office prevails.

Unson has not yet been released. Charges against him have not been specified. He was just arrested and detained. Nobody knows how long he will be imprisoned. Who will be next?

Heard a heart-lifting broadcast over the Voice of Freedom: “Be of good cheer. Sleep tight through the night of defeat. Gather strength for the morning and we’ll be there sooner than you think.”

Now we grope through the night. For how long, only the Lord knows. We must carry on. Somewhere ahead is the morning.

How many of us will live to see it?