The Vice-Rector of Letran College has returned from a trip to the South. According to him, the guerrillas are continuing their war activities although there is a prevailing state of no belligerence. The pacified zone extends some more into Cebu and Panay, but in both zones, peace is uncertain. The embers of hostility continue glowing and the slightest breeze is apt to enkindle new upheavals which could break out into more destruction and bloodshed. In the principal towns, military outposts have remained. However, they do not interfere with the subversives unless they are attacked. In most parts of the Visayas, neither the virtual sovereignty of Japan nor the nominal sovereignty of the Rupublic is recognized, but there is a modus vivendi more or less peaceful between the Japanese and the guerrilla elements.
The convoy in which the Vice-Rector arrived was close to being attacked by a submarine sighted off Corregidor. A number of passengers saw the torpedo which missed the destroyer escorting the convoy.
Apparently, the rumors were true, and even the most skeptical were now convinced that there indeed were pirates in the coasts.
The Princess of Negros, one of the ships in the convoy, had been machinegunned in a previous encounter some weeks ago. Coming from Borneo with five transports loaded with oil and troops, the convoy, escorted by two destroyers, was attacked as it turned around the southern tip of Mindanao. According to the ship’s engineer, the two destroyers were lifted from the water and were ripped in halves. The transports were fired at with cannons and were sunk. Only the Princess of Negros, because of its speed, was able to escape, but was not spared by shells. It lost its bridge where the captain and another officer were killed.
The captain’s family was notified about the accident by the Japanese Navy, without any details of how and where. The public was kept in ignorance about these dangerous wolves roaming the Philippine coasts. But it was an open secret.
Tonight is Christmas eve, and tomorrow will be Christmas… and although we were far from the Christ Child in terms of his poverty, our present scarcity lessened this distance. Only the new rich could afford the luxury of enjoying turrón, as sugar cost three hundred fifty pesos a bag; or taste a turkey, which cost eighty pesos; or buy a new pair of shoes at one hundred and twenty pesos to one hundred and fifty; or purchase a kilo of meat at twelve pesos.