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February 1, 1945

Sheridan, I mean MacArthur, is getting closer. It’s fantastic, living so close to big goings-on, and to see nothing but planes overhead, intent on big business, elsewhere. We feel neglected, but there isn’t much left to bomb in Manila. The airfields are more or less wiped out, and there were never any enormous garrisons here. The soldiers have been stationed in various spots such as churches, schools, convents, jai alai.

I was desperately uneasy about friends in the Ermita district so I walked down there yesterday, about four kilometers. The Japanese have taken all transportation over, including bicycles. We all hid ours, hoping they
would never have time to make a house-to-house search. Even the kids put their tricycles into the playroom and covered them with rice sacks.

I went into the Philippine General Hospital to see how the internees were making out. The news from the camp is very bad, indeed. They are on starvation diet, and there have been several deaths in camp due to just that. But the Japs won’t let the American doctors put that on the death certificates, and there seems to be a terrible row going on about that in camp. So one of the patient tolds me.

The hospital is full of rumors, as usual. They think the Americans have already landed in Tagatay Ridge, not far from us, but I doubt that. We would have seen some evidence. Yet, today’s rumors make tomorrow’s real news.

There are many Jap soldiers in the streets, guards everywhere. I felt pretty uneasy. I had my head tied up,
and walked sort of bent over, so they wouldn’t see how tall I am. I am as brown as any Filipina, working in the
gardens so much.

One guard stopped me and searched my purse. Strangely enough he was more interested in an old picture of my old restaurant than anything else. I had very little money, but he got that.

The evidence of Japanese occupancy in the nice houses of Malate isn’t very nice. They are really dirty people. One house I peeped into, once belonging to good friends of mine, was practically ripped apart, and the lovely bathroom had all its fittings torn out. The Japanese had used it rather cruelly, as they had the living room, too. Never let anybody talk to me about the “clean little Japs.” They are really filthy.

I walked by the old restaurant house. It is empty but guarded by one sentry. While he was at the front door, I peeked in the side entrance. The furniture is all gone, but it seems in fair condition. Maybe I can move in soon. It can’t be long now.

I called on some friends, who were anxious about our well-being. I think they are in a worse spot than we are, but they kept worrying about us being on the edge of the airfields.

Today has been confusing. The sky was full of B-24’s with a bellwether of a P-38 frisking about like a gazelle, bomb here, explosions there, guns in the distance, a flurry of machine gunning nearby—and we don’t know why, where or what for. A fine war—a front-line seat with neither opera glasses nor score!

I was amused to hear the servants discussing the planes today. Says one, “Yes, very well, I know B-24 1s for bomber, but what is it, P-38?” Says the other, “But of certain, P is for pighter.” (The P and F in Filipino dialect are interchangeable.)