Halleluyah, we are spending our first Christmas in two years quietly and frugally as dictated by the time. Last night we heard midnight mass by Belgian Fr. Lambrecht at Bayombong Church overflowing. Today, with the economy going from bad to worst, at least we have a semblance of Xmas minus the usual gifts. Even prime commodities are getting scarcer and expensive as the Japanese occupation forces are living on the land, none coming from Japan or abroad. They get priority on supply of foodstuff and other prime commodities.
As I looked back, Christmas 1941 did not exist for us USAFFE members who were on the run then. The alert orders for the Q-Boats to proceed to Lingayen was changed Dec 24,1941 to escort SS Mayon in evacuating the seat of government led by Pres. M. Quezon and High Commissioner F. Sayre from Manila to Corregidor. Gen. MacArthur declared Manila an Open City with USAFFE HQ and USN 16th Naval District also transferring to Corregidor. The Japanese forces had landed in Lingayen Gulf and Lamon Bay three days ago and War Plan Orange was ordered, that all troops retreat to Bataan. The US Asiatic Fleet abandoned us leaving our naval defense to nine Motor Torpedo Boats (3 Phil Q-Boats and 6 US PT Boats). Our Q-Boats were occupied with the transfer of seat of gov’t for a week. Christmas 1941 went unnoticed. At least we have Christmas 1942 and hope we will celebrate a better Christmas 1943. We can only hope and pray for better days to come.