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February 4, 1945

Sunday, came the dawn. We had stayed up most of the night, but no liberation our side. The city is in flames across the river, and the telephone communication is cut. The artillery action has been steadily increasing and the demolition explosions are getting louder and more frequent. It is maddening to hear all this and not to know what is going on, whether there is a battle on, or whether the Japanese are pulling out, wrecking everything as they go. It seems wiser not to leave the house. The Japanese are still in our neighborhood.

I changed a good fifty-peso note Friday morning, the second. I got ninety Mickey Mouse pesos for one, making forty-five hundred Mickey Mouse pesos. I spent nearly all of it on the market. Pork was a thousand pesos a kilo, but I got some liver and carabao meat on credit. The little I had left we tried to spend over the fence for eggs, but no one wants any of that money now.

Bartering is the vogue now. One undershirt for three bananas, a papaya for a cotton dress; but it would take a sharkskin suit to get a chicken. The Filipinos are circulating, all of them full of tidbits of news. They know our troops are in on the other side, but can’t tell us much about the real happenings.

The electricity went off at 10:30 this morning; my little electric clock beside me is mute evidence of that. Thank goodness for our charcoal and lanterns. There is such a strict blackout, we couldn’t use the electricity much at night, anyhow. Ain’t I the Pollyanna! One thing. The furniture seems really vicious—jumps out and nicks my shins every time I try to circulate in the dark. And the poor dog! She is frightened and I always seem to be stepping on her.

Rumors flourish like the Green Bay Tree. We can see fires in the direction of the river and the walled city, and the explosions indicate big doings somewhere. The fires are coming our way. The Polo Club must be burning, there is a huge pall of smoke in that neighborhood—and that’s only a half-kilometer away from us.

I’m inclined to believe the egg boy who sneaked to the back wall today. He says the Japs are putting up more
installations at the village of Paranaque. That’s the next village to us! They are still around here, though. We haven’t ventured out the gate, although they haven’t bothered us.