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November 20, 1944

Who would have thought a year ago that rice would become so precious?

We had another cut in our rice ration.

Kay’s delicate sister sold her last keepsake from her husband, a military prisoner at nearby Bilibid. It was her diamond engagement ring. One diamond ring for several pounds of dirty rice! She and her two small children were desperately hungry, but alas, they never ate the rice, for a heartless fiend stole it from under her bed.

Many of our people experimented in cooking canna bulbs, lily bulbs, hibiscus leaves, pigweed, and many other leaves. Many became ill after eating strange leaves and roots, and the doctors in camp warned us about this dangerous practice. The most versatile of all leaves were those of the hibiscus. It was eaten, smoked, and
used for tea.

Another dangerous and disgusting practice brought on by the acute hunger was picking and eating condemned vegetables and other refuse from the camp garbage.