October 14, 1943 (Thursday)

Philippine Independence Day!

Today we woke up in highest spirits. We marched to school bearing “home-made” Filipino flags prepared last night by the group at Hongoryo. The Filipino “propaganda corps,” too, posted attractive placards on the school’s bulletin board announcing in bold characters the Philippines’ Declaration of Independence.

We were all so excitedly happy that everyone at school, teachers and students, could not help but take notice of us. We were accosted
with congratulations and received bouquets of flowers from different groups of pensionados.

At 8:30 a.m. we were in front of the Imperial Palace and shouted
“Mabuhay” and “Banzai,” as newspapermen and photographers got
busy. We had the rest of the morning to ourselves, and we spent the time roaming about Tokyo’s busiest street, waving our home-made
Filipino flags, proudly proclaiming to all and sundry the independence of our country.

We imagined ourselves at the Luneta Park in the midst of the thousands upon thousands of our countrymen, rejoicing in the glorious event, waving no longer the Japanese flag, but this time the Filipino flag for which our forefathers fought and died.

At 5:30 p.m. we were all assembled at our dormitory for the “raising
of the flag.” It was a simple but very touching ceremony held with all the solemnity that befitted the occasion. Dusk had crept in, but to us that moment spelled the dawn of a new day for our country; and as the flag was being slowly raised in the gathering dusk of an autumn afternoon, we saw our flag in the full radiance of its glory. (Can this be real?)

After the Flag Ceremony, a sumptuous dinner in our honor was given by the Philippine Society of Japan. Present during the dinner
were Mr. Okamoto, secretary of the Philippine Society, and representatives of the Daitoa Ministry and the International Friends’ Society. Pepito A. Santos and Amado Cayabyab were also present. We had a lot of fun during the banquet, especially when beer had its effect. All sorts of songs, dances, speeches, etc. were featured during the celebrations.

At a point when the highest peak of merriment had been reached, I thought it wise to stand and speak a few words to inject a little seriousness into the affair, lest our Japanese hosts would misinterpret our merriment as mere frivolity. I asked our hosts to please look behind the joy and laughter of the night’s merriment, there to find how seriously we are taking the question of Philippine Independence. Although our hosts see us laughing and dancing and singing, I said, deep in our hearts we feel and we know what the day of independence means in terms of liberty and freedom for which our heroes and martyrs shed the last drop of their blood. I was rather inspired, and I think I was able to drive home the point I wanted to bring out.

After the party, the Hongoryo group slept at our dormitory as early tomorrow we were having mass. Today’s celebration of Philippine
Independence may not have been as pompous as the one they must be having in Manila, but we the “27 of Tokyo” feel that we have done our part in celebrating this truly great event and letting everyone know that we Filipinos, lovers of freedom as we are, really rejoice in the independence of our country.