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December 24, 1941

Tagaytay outpost


Can’t sleep. Just arrived from Manila. The general ordered me to supervise burning of records of G-2 Section, Philippine Army. Had a huge bonfire in Far Eastern University drill-field. Took dinner at home. Papa looked tired due to work in Food Administration and Naric. Dolly baked my favorite cake. Dindo Gonzalez dropped in asking for news on southern front. Told him I had nothing to say. He said he was very worried about Open City rumors. He looked very nervous. Mama started to cry when I kissed her goodbye. I felt like crying too but I held back my tears. Vic’s eyes were red.

Gave Morita a steel helmet, gas mask, first-aid kit and silver identification tag for Christmas. Couldn’t tell her where I was assigned because of military secrecy. She is now living with her uncle in Taft Avenue. Morita said her grandpop was very pessimistic about the outcome of the war. Wanted to ask her for just one kiss but didn’t get a chance because there were too many people around.

Dropped by Manila Hotel bar to buy a bottle of whiskey. Saw Theo Rogers of Free Press. He invited me to eat with him. I took coffee. He was very sentimental and he said he was proud to see me in uniform. I will write about the admirable spirit of the Filipino youth, he said. When I told Rogers I had to leave, he held my hand firmly and he said: “I will pray for you every day.”

Reports from MacArthur’s headquarters indicate heavy fighting including tank combats with new Japanese landing forces in Lingayen. It seems to me that our airforce has suffered greater damage than has been disclosed in surprise raids made by Japs in first days of war. It is apparent that Japs have complete aerial superiority over entire Luzon area. When I dropped by Victoria No. 1, MacArthur’s headquarters, officers were talking of the convoy. (Gen. MacArthur was no longer there. Together with the staff of the forward echelon of the USAFFE, he has gone to the field to personally head his forces.)

Can hear my sergeant snoring. I guess it is time for me to sleep too. Quite cold in this tent but there are no mosquitoes. It is past midnight.

Merry Christmas.