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November 5, 1944

This was a thrilling and exhausting day! Five air raids!

During the first raid, we watched over two hundred of our bombers dropping their loads over North Bay.

We watched hundreds of bombs falling in the vicinity of Marikina Valley, North Bay, Grace Park, Nichols and Zaballan [Zablan] Fields, and because of our convenient peephole, we missed very little of the exciting show.

We wondered if this was the final stage of the softening-up process.

Several of our people were caught outside of the buildings gazing heavenwards to get an all-over view of the Big Show. The Nips punished them by forcing them to stand all day in the broiling sun with heads directed toward the sky.

Two deaths today.

Gone were the days when the campus grounds resembled a Country Fair at night with its lights, people in cool summer clothes strolling about, while internee vendors shouted, “peanuts, candy, and ice-cream.”

An outsider coming into this place would have known at a glance that this was a concentration camp where men, women, and children were slowly starving.

The most depressing sight of all was the long line of hungry-looking people standing in the food line awaiting their meager scoopful of slop. The rear of the Big House where we stood for our food, as well as the long dining sheds where we ate our scanty meals, was a dismal and dirty spot. The air was polluted with the stench of tainted fish and rotten vegetables, while hungry blowflies flew into our eyes, mouth and food as we ate.

In the last few weeks, Holy Mary, the good Christian who had worked at menial tasks so that she could earn money to share it with the penniless, had taken to preaching to us at odd times. Her parchment-like face was ghastly pale and sad, but her black eyes were lit by the fires of compassion and fanaticism.

Dully, we listened to her exhortations, while words and phrases like: “Come to Jesus, sinful people, be prepared,” reached our deadened brains.

Our conscientious sermonizer went on and on, and though her words had become more persuasive, her repetitious words had lost their meaning.

Suddenly there was a rude interruption.

“Hallelujah!” jeeringly shouted Tientsin Mary, as she vulgarly slapped her thigh.

There was a shocked silence among the hundreds of listeners. Holy Mary’s face turned red with annoyance and, for a moment, she paused in her sermon to cast a reproving glance toward Tientsin Mary. Quickly regaining her composure, she extended her arms in a circle toward the watching hundreds.

“Come to Jesus!” Her voice had become urgently entreating.

“Hallelujah!” screamed Tientsin Mary with more feeling and enthusiasm than the first time.

One of the internees standing near Tientsin Mary took her arm and talked to her in a whisper.

There were no more interruptions, and the sermon went on with the words, heaven, hell, doomsday, and sin beating about our ears. We listened to this deeply earnest and sincere woman with mixed emotions. Respectfully, attentively, pityingly, indifferently, or with no feeling at all. The religious dissertation ceased only when everyone had disappeared from the food line and dining sheds.