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December 25, 1941

The Filipinos have named this day well. Black Christmas!

The blackness of despair and resignation was everywhere. Only the Axis nationals and the Fifth Columnists were happy.

Catesy met one of the released Nazis today and he said he was tempted to wipe the smirk off his face. There was a special smirk reserved these days for the Americans. The handwriting was on the wall, and all of us knew that soon we would be the enemy nationals—behind bars.

Apparently the Japanese were not guided by international law and ethics. Open city meant nothing to them. They raided the city six times today and four times yesterday!

The patients in my ward ate their Christmas dinner under their beds when the bombs started to drop all around us.

“A Day of Hope,” said our local radio commentator. President Roosevelt had promised us “adequate help.” We continued to pray that it would come soon. A few more days, and it would be too late for those hopelessly outnumbered and ill-equipped men in Bataan.

Catesy tried to join the army the other day and the officer in charge told him to go back home. He had added bitterly, “We wouldn’t even have a gun to give youl!”

As the bombings increased in frequency and intensity, I considered myself fortunate to be living in an eight-story apartment house constructed of steel and concrete. Catesy, who had lived in a frame dwelling moved in a few days ago and we were happy to have a man with us. There were many others living in frame houses, who hinted openly about moving in but already we were crowded. My former house boy, Catalino also was made welcome and there was plenty of work for him now that my family had increased.

Patients and hospital personnel had the jitters. Continuous bombing and lack of sleep had worn nerves to near hysteria. In a few days the hospital would be evacuated.

At my apartment there was an atmosphere of normalcy that was most reassuring. The morning paper was folded neatly by my coffee cup and the telephone and doorbell still rang. I tried to kid myself into believing that everything was as it should be. But the moment I unfolded my paper and looked at the headline, I was jarred back to reality. “Baguio and Davao Are Occupied!”

Was it only a few months ago when we read newspaper and magazine articles concerning the menace of twenty thousand or more Japanese civilians firmly established and controlling all the big business in Davao? What an excellent opportunity for Fifth Column work, predicted the writer of the article, who had come from the States to investigate this situation. No one heeded him, but now, thanks to the cooperation of the Japanese civilians, Davao had been taken without any effort on the part of the invaders.

The Japanese were getting closer to the city, and they boasted that they would be in Manila by New Year’s Day.

Despair, anxiety, fear, and resignation gripped us. My wedding day, so close, was almost forgotten.