9 Dec. 1941

First night-time alert! Complete blackout. Hotel gloomy, you can’t see a thing, people bump into each other on the veranda and sit on chairs already taken. Outside, not a sound, not a light, but wonderful stars. The moon is due to rise towards eleven o’clock — to our annoyance!

I go to bed early and am woken by the sound of an airplane. As I haven’t heard any air-raid sirens, I take it for an American plane but I immediately hear the sound of bomb explosions, some way off. Again, silence. Then the sirens! They make a mournful sound as they call to one another through the city. It seems as though they will never stop. I end up falling asleep again and in my half-sleep hear the all clear. In the morning I learn that it’s Nichols Field airbase that’s been bombed [five miles south of Manila].

Still a lot of movement in the streets. Most cars carry a sign or flag — whether Red Cross, CEA [Civil Emergency
Administration], US Army, US Navy, or Food Supply. All this seems to be done in a rough-and-ready way — and civilians working for the army write “US Army” in large letters.

Some half-finished fairground booths, set up on the grass bordering the Old Town, present an ironic sight.

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