4 Jan. 1942

Up early this morning. At seven o’clock it’s hardly light. Went to market. On the way, went past three Japanese checkpoints. I wasn’t stopped or searched, whereas most Filipino passers-by were summarily searched. A lot of people at the market, but little food. No rice, fruit or vegetables. Prices sky-high. A moment of panic when we hear a burst of machine-gun fire.

The newspaper appears on a single sheet. It contains the orders issued by the commander-in-chief of the Army of Occupation, now housed in — amongst other places — the Manila Hotel and the Bay View.

On my return, telephoned my hotel where I learn that the Americans and British have all gone (?).

The looting has finally stopped. A real scandal on the part of the Filipino authorities and the police, in particular. There are queues outside the bakeries because there’s no rice for sale at the moment and the Filipinos are eating bread. You should see the old women tearing each other’s hair out to be served, and hear them squabbling, haggling and protesting.

Radio Manila still silent. In the evening we listen to London and Tokyo. The USAFFE is still resisting, not very far from Manila.

On the whole the occupation would be proceeding peacefully and without incident, were it not for the looting of the Chinese — and even Filipino — shops. The children are kicking up an awful racket in this nipa hut where I now am.

This afternoon went to visit the church next door, which since yesterday has been flying the flag of General Franco. It’s completely pink on the outside. The front is in the rococo style, very elaborate, with a few climbing plants growing out of the beams here and there. The interior is hideous. Painted statues in every corner, an altar shimmering with tinplate, paper flowers, and statuettes apparently dipped in multi-colored dyes. On the walls and under the vault, frescoes as in the Sistine Chapel (!), representing angels and saints. A picture-postcard image. Women kneeling, heads covered with black mantillas.

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