September 3, 1945, Monday

General Yamashita, the Japanese Commander-in-Chief in the Philippines, surrendered with thousands of his men in Baguio in the presence of Lt. Gen. Wainright. He was immediately confined in New Bilibid in Manila and will be tried as a war criminal. Under him, thousands and thousands of Filipinos, including my own daughter and brother-in-law, were massacred. He should be made, to atone for it. He should commit harakiri.

While on the way to luncheon a discussion ensued as to the retaking of the Philippines by MacArthur. With the exception of Alunan, all those who expressed themselves were of the opinion that the loss of over a billion pesos and the death of probably 200,000 Filipinos might have been avoided if the Philippines had not been retaken; that it was absolutely unnecessary since with America’s control of air and sea, better equipment, and the atomic bomb, Japan could have been brought to her knees by direct attack on Japan. But MacArthur, according to them, was ambitious. He desired to erase the blot on his record caused by his defeat in Bataan and Corregidor, and his escape from Corregidor. He said that he would return. And he wished to make good his word. The trouble was that in his effort to recover the Philippines, millions worth of properties and thousands of Filipino lives were sacrificed. Recto remarked: “MacArthur has destroyed the Philippines.” (“MacArthur ha destruido Filipinas.”)

In the afternoon, the Provincial Treasurer, Arcilla, came with letters for us. He first asked us to sign the receipt for the letters. We were very excited; we thought that it was an order for our release. It was a resolution presented by Rep. Magalona petitioning MacArthur to release us under bail. We appreciated it as we know Magalona had the best of intentions. But we all agreed that it was a foolish resolution. How can MacArthur grant us bail? The petition should have been to immediately turn us over to the Commonwealth, especially since there was already a plan for the disposition of our cases.


April 29, 1945

The Headquarters of General MacArthur announced today the entry of his troops in Baguio, after wiping out the Japanese defenses. It took the liberators four months at the cost of a great number of men and materials to scale the mountain, blow up machine gun nests, seal thousands of caves and exterminate their defenders, and take possession of this city. Like mountain cats, the remaining Japanese continue fighting in the eastern slopes and from the top of Mt. Sto. Tomas which overlook the zigzag. An important nucleus of resistance is the Cagayan Valley. The two Ilocos regions, La Union and part of the Mountain Province, have been liberated by guerilla forces.

Thousands of residents of this summer city had been infiltrating through Japanese defenses until they reached American lines, guided by Igorots who are as loyal as they were experts in avoiding Japanese attention, in climbing rocks and jumping over precipices. Many had died in the bombings of Baguio, others succumbed to the hardship of two months of wanderings in caves and mountains or a week on the road until they reached Tubao where they were picked up by American troops.

Recto, Alunan, Paredes, Sison and De las Alas, the ex-ministers of the short-lived Republic had been captured and detained. Manuel Roxas was liberated. Laurel, Osías and Aquino fled to Japan. We could not tell whether on their own volition or forced by Yamashita. Part of those liberated had been brought to Manila and many of them are quartered in the University of Santo Tomas. They had lost their homes in Baguio and their old houses in Manila had been destroyed.

The Army in Baguio did not commit the same systematic abuses and massacre as what was planned and executed in Manila, Laguna, Rizal, Batangas, Tayabas and in other provinces. Either they did not receive the order or they simply failed to implement it. Of course, it was easier for the victims to evade their henchmen and elude their herodian plans in the thicknesses and ruggedness of the mountains. However, at the last hour, the wriggling tail of the dying dragon killed numerous groups of unsuspecting persons, the incapacitated, the helpless who could not save themselves in time. Hundreds, or perhaps thousands of innocent lives were sacrificed.

A number of Japanese civilians and soldiers have passed over to the American lines. Among them are Mr. Yokoyama, the Japanese consul in Baguio; Mr. Okano, the head of the Religious Section of the Army and a good Catholic who had given not a few favors to the American prisoners and to the members of religious congregations; Mr. Matsuda, a professor of Nippongo, and somebody else whose surrender or capture we are not sure about.


February 25, 1945

Corregidor and Bataan of historic memories were taken with relative ease. History did not repeat itself. The small but epic peninsula was cleaned of Japanese by an American division which two weeks earlier had landed in Subic. Troops also landed on Corregidor from the air and from the sea in a simultaneous landing screened by squadron fire. The air drop operation was very difficult as the small island did not have sufficient landing areas. Never had there been such a big casualty in so small an operation. The invaders had to finish off the seven thousand defenders, with only some twenty prisoners taken.

What end did the Japanese High Command want to achieve with their plan of suicidal extermination of the troops, either by their own hands or by the hands of the invaders? If a handful of valiant soldiers would take after Leonidas and his three hundred Spartans, that was understandable. But that hundreds of thousands or that the whole Army would be sacrificed for a national objective, only fanaticism or desperation could explain. What would the military leaders achieve through the extinction of almost the whole masculine population and great part of the feminine population of the country? To kill a number of thousand enemies at the expense of millions of their own soldiers, sacrificed to the Imperial idol! In many occasions, groups of soldiers wanted to surrender, but their officer prevented them at gunpoint. The few who had been captured, yielded to force or against their will or their officers were powerless to intervene.

The civilians who escaped the murderous claws of the Japanese were able to save themselves either fortuitously or through the intervention of some good-hearted Japanese — we have to do justice to some of them who saved others at the risk of their own lives — and always by a providential act of the divine mercy which knows how to counteract the most notorious plans. Both the annihilation of the civilian population and the mass suicide of the Japanese army and people had been premeditatedly planned by order of the Imperial government which wanted to drown national defeat and humiliation in blood. After my disaster, the deluge, but a deluge in which even the saving arc of civilization would perish — that is, if the arc would be capable of saving anything. Such was the plan of these Oriental fanatics. War is hell. Men are transformed into demons converting the earth into an infernal fire.

What faith can we have in science, in civilization, in humanitarianism? Or in other deities of modern paganism which have despised the true God in its search for its messiah among self-manufactured idols? Someone started believing that all is futile, all: men, ideas, culture… even religion. Could it not be pride, concupiscence, effeminacy that had unleashed this deluge of passions, afflictions and punishment over prevaricating humanity? Would that the Lord leave the triumphal arc of salvation soon, and that he would not turn away from men!

In all the battlefronts, the bloody scenes witnessed in Manila were reproduced. The Army of Yamashita was divided into five sectors, each one isolated from the others, thrusting back and forth with impotent strokes like the dying quivers of a severed reptile’s tail. The main body of the Japanese Army was bottled up in the mountains of the north by the American divisions which were operating from the Balete Pass and the P. Villaverde road up to Aringay, passing through the hills between Rosario and Baguio. This body was separated from the rest of the Japanese troops when the American 6th and 25th divisions cut through the north of Nueva Ecija until they reached the opposite coast near Baler. There was no other way left for the invincible Army of Yamashita but a desperate annihilation, shielding themselves behind the mountains and the populace. From cave to cave, they were hunted and exterminated like dangerous animals. Many were dying of hunger, sickness or misery. Others were found emaciated, naked and so weak they could not even lift their arms.


February 21, 1945

Weeks have passed since the start of a thorough attack on the south of the Pasig. The battle was bloody and although there were heaps of Japanese fatalities, there were very few prisoners. American casualties were heavy. The front line ran along behind San Luis Street, behind the Casino Español, City Hall up to Quezon Bridge. American artillery is demolishing the palace of the High Commissioner, the Army and Navy Club, the Bayview Hotel and the government buildings east of the Wallace Field. City Hall and the Post Office building also received their share of shells.

The shelling of Intramuros has begun. The Japanese are using the walls as mortar positions and defense walls. They launched a mortar attack on the tower of the UST main building, and another on the Education building.

American firing during the day is incessant, and by night, formidable. They are pulverizing the buildings between Taft Avenue and Burgos Street, and those of the Luneta. The clouds of smoke rise like a black torrent surging from the horizon and enveloping the sky. We are worried about the fate of the residents of Intramuros, trapped within its walls. We can only foresee unspeakable anguish and torture and a bloody agony in the hands of their tormentors.

The number of persons imprisoned is calculated to be around seven thousand, among whom were some forty missionaries, mostly Spanish, and some Filipino and Spanish Sisters.

The High Command, before dealing the final blow in Intramuros, appealed to the Japanese defenders to surrender in order to save so many innocent lives. Not receiving any response, they proposed the alternative of letting the civilians free with the assurance that all firing will cease for four hours. The time specified elapsed and no one went out.

The remaining Japanese troops are incessantly putting to action their plan of murder, suicide and devastation.

What are the Japanese achieving by these killings — of others and of themselves? By this destruction of the city and its landmarks? Instead of saving their faces, Oriental style, they will pass into eternity stigmatized by their barbarism and vandalism, and eternally hated by the Filipino people and nations whose citizens they have massacred.


February 4, 1945

The advance troops of the liberators entered Manila last night after thirty-seven long months since the remaining troops of the USAFFE retreated to Bataan. We cannot tell how many districts of Manila are already liberated. News dispatches are a little confused. All we are sure of is that the first place recaptured is the University of Santo Tomas with all its residents, priests and internees. We were told that the rest of the city had been turned into a battlefield, won not amidst psalms and cheers but amidst firings and shellings “…that this city and all its people might be protected…”

The conquest of the Central Plain of Luzon was a successful one. The 210 kilometers between the Gulf of Lingayen and the City of Manila were negotiated in 27 hours instead of 27 days. Except in Bamban and Stotsenberg where the enemy had attacked from the nearby hills, the Yankee war machinery rolled through the wide open fields without opposition.

The enemy had lost the battle of Luzon when it allowed the gigantic invading equipment to land unopposed. In the open fields, the Japanese could not put up a fight. They preferred to retreat in disarray, dispersed like scared rabbits as the mechanized columns of the invaders rolled by. Yamashita’s strategy was to convert the mountain ranges of Caraballo and Zambales into another Bataan, in the manner of MacArthur’s defense three years ago. The Imperial Army was entrenched in the rugged mountains without roads and almost without any footpaths, turning each mountain into a fortress, each hill into a machinegun nest and each cliff into a trench. They dug a complex of tunnels of communications through the mountain where they hid and installed their artillery. They fired from the mouths of the tunnel to avoid being localized by the American Air Force and artillery. The Americans had to destroy these subterranean hideouts one by one. Not only did they blow up these artillery nests. They chased those who manned the guns and flushed the others out of the caves and tunnels who defended themselves like corralled beasts.

Under this mode of defense, it was not necessary to launch big battles nor heavy attacks nor fighting on a grand scale, nor mechanized campaigns. It was a work of mopping up, a fight of a group of hunters against a group of game animals. The air force, the tanks and armoured cars were hardly of any use. Only the rifles, flame throwers and hand grenades were effectively utilized. It was a slow, tedious, lousy and bloody fight.


December 22, 1944

President Jose Laurel, Chief Justice Jose Yulo and all cabinet ministers left early this morning for Baguio. The presidential convoy was accompanied by two truckloads of Jap troops armed with mg’s, two trucks of Malacañang guards, one car of P.C. men and one car of detectives. The convoy consisted of thirty or more cars. The President and the Chief Justice and Ministers left with their families. All Aviles, San Rafael and the vicinity of Malacañang were surrounded by a protective cordon of policemen, P.C. men and M.P.’s since last night to early this morning because all the puppet leaders and their families slept at Malacañang. Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita, Jap Commander-in-Chief was said to have attended the last conference of the President and cabinet at Malacañang last night. Yamashita reportedly assured the puppets that the Japanese Army guarantees their safety. The Open City declaration was also informally discussed.

Amid persistent rumors regarding probable declaration of Manila as an Open City in view of continuous movement of Jap troops and installations and the transfer of the seat of government and the Jap Embassy to Baguio, first concrete indications were obtained from Mayor Leon Guinto’s office where draft of Open City manifesto is reportedly being drawn. President Jose P. Laurel will subsequently announce the Open City declaration formally, according to rumors. Manilans feel relieved at the sight of outgoing large numbers of Jap troops. Some fear the Sakdals might take over the reins of government. Others hope the G’s come in and drive out the Japs and Sakdals. Greatest wish is that the Americans “hurry up about Mindoro and land in Luzon proper and dash over to Manila whose gates gave been left open by Japs.”

Man being battered during the recent zonification of barrio Teresa, Sta. Mesa, two days ago, died of skull fracture. Blood oozed out of the man’s nose, mouth and ears. A total of 12 persons were killed in raid zonification. Victims were bayoneted to death.

Dr. Antonio Sison, president of the U.P. and head of P.G.H., was taken by the Military Police last night. The MP’s were dressed in civilian clothes.

In Rosario and Binondo districts, Japs picked up people in the streets this morning. They forced the unlucky ones to work with Jap soldiers. George Dee, prominent Manila businessman, was made to work for an hour in Rosario. Mr. Tong, laison officer of Chinese Assocation, tried to ask for an exemption, claiming that he had work to transact with Japanese officers. The reply was: “Military needs first. You help build the barricade.”

Saw three truckloads of Jap dead. The trucks were covered with leaves.


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.


December 17, 1944

Landings in Mindoro.

Heard people talking about it in street-corners yesterday afternoon. The news spread like wild-fire: landings in Mindoro, Mindoro, Mindoro.

The Japs are stumped. American planes had complete dominion of the air over Luzon. They kept flying over Manila all day yesterday.

From the morning of December 15th to the evening of December 17th, Americans were in the air, bombing, strafing, reconnoitering. Traffic of trucks, movement of troops and supplies, were completely paralyzed. Bridges in Calumpit and Pampanga were bombed. Japs couldn’t move around in their cars, trucks, trains and boats.

Not a single Jap plane flew up to challenge the Americans.

Many and varied comments from people yesterday: The bombing was very accurate. The American planes circled over targets many times before dropping bombs. Japs have spread their dumps in private houses. Guerillas have given information to the Americans. Accuracy was important. They had to hit targets in between residences of civilians to minimize destruction and casualties. I saw an American plane flying just above the rooftop of our neighbor’s house. It flew very low.

Radio reports that 245 Jap planes were grounded in the Luzon area.

This morning in church the people forgot about the non-stop three-day raid, talked about the landings in Mindoro. Many people that were already depressed by the ‘delay’ in Leyte because of the Jap stand in Ormoc coupled by the bad weather, had happy faces in church this morning.

Consensus is that the Americans will finish with Mindoro in “a couple of days” and then “they will land in Luzon proper before Christmas.”

Some think: “New Year’s” …Happy New Year!

People believe landings will be effected in Batangas. It is very near Mindoro. “You can swim across,” said someone.

Personally, I believe the Mindoro landing is just a feint. A diversionary move. Main effort will be exerted in the eastern coast of either Tayabas or Camarines.

MacArthur now has the Jap Commander-in-Chief guessing. “Where will Mac land?” is the question today. Second question: “When will he land?” As far as I am concerned, I don’t care where, I only care for the ‘when’. I am damned tired of waiting.

Greatest surprise to most people has been the Japanese admission that landings have been effected by Americans in Mindoro. This is a great change in their news dissemination policy. Previously, they kept quiet about such landings. Now they have announced it as soon as possible.

Japs probably realize that they can no longer fool the people. You can’t talk of “Japanese aerial superiority” when Americans skylark without a single Jap interception. You can’t say there are still no landings when you hear the roar of cannons.

Japs probably want to prepare the people’s mentality. They want to prepare them for the big thing: the landings in Luzon.

Japs have not yet admitted Leyte campaign is finished, because they keep saying that their para-troop units have captured several aerodromes in Leyte.

Meanwhile food prices are going higher and higher. The masses can no longer afford the food. No rice. No viands. Only vegetables at prices that are fantastic.

The people say: “Never mind all that… as long as they return!”


November 10, 1944

Announcement of Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita’s appointment as Commander-in-Chief of Japanese forces in Philippines has served to bolster Japanese morale recently on the downgrade due to successive U.S. gains in Central and SW Pacific, Leyte landings, inability of Japanese planes to combat U.S. raiders.

Main reason for relief of Lt. Gen. Shigenori Kuroda as Philippine Commander-in-Chief of Jap forces was due to air attack on Luzon by Halsey’s fleet on September 21 which caught Japanese Army completely by surprise.

When extent of damage caused by said raid to military personnel and installations was determined, Tokyo sent Lt. Gen. Takahashi to Philippines to replace Lt. Gen. Kuroda. But the new Commander-in-Chief made a serious political blunder, a few days after holding office. He immediately ordered the dissolution of the Philippine Constabulary due to reported mass “desertions” of P.C. garrisons in various provinces. This order was made without previous consultation with Puppet Jose Laurel, who is making strong efforts to convince himself that he is not a puppet. Puppet Laurel complained to Premier Koiso because he claimed Takahashi’s act was flagrant disregard of Philippine Republic which created Constabulary. This led to appointment of Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita.

Japs attach great importance to Leyte operations. E. Masatomi, Jap editor and columnist of Tribune, privately opined that “if we lose the Philippines, we lose the war”. He expressed strong belief, however, in ability of Jap forces under Yamashita to retrieve lost ground in Leyte and pointed to unceasing Jap attempts to reinforce Leyte garrisons under Lt. Gen. Makino.

During last few weeks, more or less, since naval battle off Philippines, several Jap ships have been able to land troops in Manila. Newly arrived troops looked haggard, weary and hungry. Some were asking for food from passers-by and many were asking if this was Australia. Evidently, Japs are not being told of reverses.

Meanwhile, Japs are rushing troops to probable landing points in coastal towns of Luzon. Trains are exclusively for Army use. Trucks, cars are being commandeered. Even bicycles are being taken on the spot as need arises. Downtown Manila is now filled with Jap soldiers walking around trying to find transportation.

Food situation is getting more acute. Rice is at ₱5,600.00 per sack and a kilo of pork costs ₱250.00. A banana –only available fruit– costs over ₱3.00. It is not an uncommon sight to see lean, hungry, dirty-looking men and children begging for “a little rice or anything” in Manila streets. Some persons search garbage cans for food or scrape the rice that trickles from Jap trucks carrying supply of rice to quartermaster depots.

Former Chinese consul of Iloilo, Cabo Chan is reported forcing rich Chinese in City to contribute sums ranging from ₱20,000.00 to ₱1,000,000.00 for creation of some sort of Chinese Army for the protection of Chinese under the sponsorship of Japanese Army. Those who do not contribute are brought by Japs to Fort Santiago and are kept under lock and key until they give their contribution.

Japs are now unable to ship rice from port of Aparri to Manila due to intensified submarine activity around Philippine waters. They are making preparatory moves towards unifying BIBA with Jap rice control whereby arrangement may be had giving Japs authority to draw from rice supply of Central Provinces.

When friends meet downtown, instead of talking about weather, usual greeting is “when?” and generally the answer is “very soon, maybe before the end of the month”. Most pessimistic view is “After Christmas, maybe!”