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February 5, 1945

Monday. Last night there was terrific shelling near Fort McKinley, as well as we could judge. That is to the south of us. Nearby, on the shore, big guns were barking all night. I hadn’t realized how much equipment is still left here, they have been moving so much out Taft Avenue where we could see it passing. They, the Japs, keep blazing away continuously, and I can’t tell whether our troops are answering. Janson is in complete revolt—he won’t answer any more of our questions!

Felie, a Spanish girl who has two small sons, slipped over between air raids this morning, pretty badly shaken up from the night’s excitement. Her house was struck by shrapnel. The Jansons persuaded her to move over with us for a few days. Her own house has been taken by the Japanese and she is living in a native house which is highly inflammable. This house is solid, brick and concrete, and has a huge wall around it, and the back garden nearest the barrio is cemented. So we do seem safer from fire. Now we have four small boys, all under five!

We moved them over, between shots and shells, with food they had on hand, and as much clothing as we could manage. She has one of those three-wheel conveyances which may come in very handy if we have to make a run for it.

The pall of smoke over the city is like a blanket. We haven’t had any real news from the other side of the river. One Filipino says American troops are coming in from the south, but that may be wishful thinking. The bombing has begun again. I suppose the Americans are after the airfield. Surely all the ships have left the Bay.

We have been repeatedly told that the Japanese intend to burn all American property before they leave. The blazing fires all around us would indicate that’s true. We are not sure whether the bridges have gone or not, because there is still running water, but only a trickle. I am sure the water mains run under the bridge structures, and if that is so, the bridges must still be standing.