September 17, 1944

Immediately after the all clear signal, rumors spread like wildfire, that Lipa, Tarlac, and Vigan were bombed and that the Americans have landed in Davao, Basilan, next to Zamboanga, or in Batanes; that three American Fleets are in the southern, eastern and northern approaches to the Philippines, each of which is supposed to be much more powerful than the whole Japanese Navy. Other similar rumors are circulating. The Official communique, however, announced that there are air raids over Mindanao and the Visayas, presently being extended to Legazpi and Ligao in Albay where the American planes are deliberately bombing non-strategic persons and places.

American landings have been made in the Palau islands and in Morotai of the Celebes group, east and south of Mindanao. The only resistance encountered were the Japanese garrisons on land. The Japanese air force no longer dare to meet the American pilots. And the Americans are advancing in giant leaps from island to island, from coast to coast. With what interest we followed these movements, and with what avidity we analyze the maps—we are learning our geography—to calculate the month and the date on which the old masters would return! However, those who are impatient are becoming desperate in the face of the cautiously slow pace of the advance, as they were worried about the countermoves. Meanwhile, imminent hunger is driving the people to despair.

We are running short of all things, especially food. A cavan of rice costs three thousand five hundred pesos; a kilo of meat, at a peso each; camote at twenty five pesos a kilo; and Baguio beans at one hundred pesos a kilo. At these stratospheric prices, what will the daily wage earner and the employees buy with their six or ten pesos a day?

December 12, 1941

Newspapers and the radio announced a Japanese landing in Legazpi, Albay. Some of our friends had sent their families to that province, believing it out of danger. Now they are worried and there is no way of finding out how it is with their loved ones.

The daytime raids continue. We were left in peace at night. The evening seem to be very long because we take our supper at six in the afternoon and we are not allowed to put on the lights unless our windows are hermetically covered with cloth or black paper. Woe to those who are careless. A shot would take care of those lights! The people are so scared they dare not even light a cigarette. The pilots knew the map of the city better than the majority of us.

The editors and the staff of the DMHM (El Debate, Mail, Herald, Mabuhay), the four dailies which are being printed in the adjourning block, asked us for refuge during those raids. We conceded, giving them access to the secretarial offices where they could install their telephones and their typewriters. However, the periods of warning signals are so frequent and prolonged—sometimes more than two hours—that they almost have no time to work on their newspapers. We are kept abreast, nevertheless, of the latest developments.

March 7, 1936

Photographed by Arellano for Malacañan. Quezon wishes to hang up photos of Taft, myself and Murphy as the three Americans most closely connected with significant chapters of the American occupation. Arellano told me that everywhere confidence in Quezon was growing–that he was a real leader.

Papers contain notices about two matters showing the results of slowness in the administration. 1st, the rice regulation by the Government. The dealers claim that Quezon had acted too slowly to benefit them as intended. 2d, Quezon has suspended the Governor of Albay because he would not come to Manila to answer as to why the Provincial Board had reduced the cedula tax from two pesos to one. But it seems that the resolution of the Board had been before Quezon for so long without action that it became effective without approval!

Long talk with Manuel Concepcion on the currency; we agree that Paredes had lost his fight in Washington against the repeal of the law authorizing the payment of $23,000,000 to the Philippines for the gold devaluation, because he argued on sentimental grounds instead of giving exchange and commodity prices, the best he can do now is to get action by Congress suspended until proper arguments can be presented later on.

American republicans of the Philippines had their political convention to select delegates to their National Convention. Selph and Marguerite Wolfson were the spokesmen. They have learned very little in 36 years of progressive defeat on the Philippine question. They still hope to turn back the hands of the clock. They did not come out against “independence after ten years” but denounced the economic provisions of the Tydings-McDuffie Act.

Doria describes the hopelessness of trying to shop in establishments where Filipinos serve. They are obstinate, disobliging and arrogant. Always answer to any enquiry that “we haven’t any of that”–will never compete successfully in the retail trade with Chinese, Spanish and Japanese.

Attended dinner of Yale graduates of Philippines in honor of Yale men promoted recently: Justice Jose Laurel, Judge Delgado, Secretary of Finance de las Alas, Assemblyman from Marinduque and Celeste, the Secretary of the National Economic Council. A lot of real fun and a very pleasant evening.

Bridge earlier with Colonel Lim, Tan and Nazario at the Philippine Columbian Club–good game.

Did not attend Tommy Wolff’s gigantic reunion of “Old Timers.”

October 25, 1935, 9 p.m. — October 29, 8 a.m.

My wife and I are on a trip to the Bicol Provinces as guests of Sr. A. Roces. Sr. Paez, head of the Manila Railroad Co., accompanied us, also Ramon Roces and his wife (Manuelita Barretto), on a private train. Fishing in Ragay Gulf (Doria caught 2, I one); shooting snipe and duck at Pili –at the home of Prieto in Camarines Sur; trip to rest house in Albay on Mt. Mayon driving up through hemp plantations, on the new Paez road.We were given an attractive tea dance at the Mayon Pavilion by Governor Imperial of Albay. Spent a comfortable night there. Sensational scenery, views of the Pacific Ocean; future health resort at altitude of 2500 feet, with a temperature of about 70°. Numerous conversations with Roces, Paez, etc.

A. Roces, Sr. is the proprietor of Vanguardia, Tribune and Tagalog Daily and of the Ideal Cinema. He is a very generous, warm-hearted man, full of ideals, and rather puritanic zeal for the welfare of the poor people; is really an ardent patriot– not a politician, and is thoroughly stubborn and fearless. He wishes well for Commonwealth and is willing to give Quezon full support if a decent honest government is set up –but is rather anti-capitalist. Has always been devoted friend of mine and a supporter of my work here. Would be glad to see me Economic Adviser –and favors low tariffs on the necessaries of life. He advocates also a 25 years period before full independence but accepts the new law. Roces believes it is a waste of time to work for the permanent continuance of the old free trade with the United States, but believes the American people are “sentimental” and can be appealed to for a modification of the present restrictions. I agreed. He advises me to consult with Manuel Roxas about the economic future –thinks him safe in judgment– and considers him sane and studious –believes him to be the coming man, and says that Quezon takes his advice.

Here are some of Alejandro Roces’ opinions on people.

Quezon is impetuous –changes quickly– is not personally concerned over money –has great opportunity now to give a decent government. Roces advised him to go in for a reputation as a good President and not to care about financial benefits; better leave a good name to your children rather than a fortune. He commented that Jim Ross and Jacob Rosenthal are Quezon’s best friends among Americans.

Osmeña, in the opinion of Roces, is too lacking in firmness of character –is always 50-50!

Aguinaldo is entirely ignorant –has no organization and is pitiful.

Wood was a tragedy –was dotty when he came out here; Wood said of Quezon that when surrounded by angels he was an angel –and vice versa.

Davis was nothing.

Governor Cailles is a “100% liar” –that he (Roces) did not believe Cailles’ story of the killing of seven Sakdalistas. He laughed over a photo of Cailles smoking a cigar and pointing a revolver at three dead men.

Don Isauro Gabaldon is an honest man.

Governor Murphy is lacking in firmness —vide the award of Government printing.

Yulo represents capitalists.

Does not advise Roxas to accept the post of Secretary of Finance, nor Paez to accept that of Secretary of Communications.

Sison is the best of the present cabinet –and is absolutely honest.

He then denounced by name several prominent Filipinos whom he believed to have accepted or demanded large sums of money for their influence in public life.

Roces says Quezon is afraid of assassination –that the President had told him that this eventuality was “inherent in his job.” I said that assassination was “not in the Filipino character”; he replied he used to believe that –but not now.

Says Barretto is too old; that Singson is not a reliable man; Sumulong is a good man, he believes, but he cannot understand him at times. Tirona is of no real account.

Agrees with me that there is too much higher education in the Philippines –it makes only for discontent.

Roces, Sr. advocates a National Transportation Corporation to take over all the motor bus lines –capital required now is about three million pesos but they would take shares or installment payments; they can be run as feeders for the Railroad. Paez agrees with him. Roces advocates moving Bilibid prison out of town and making the site a central market and the hub of motor buses –thus cutting out the middleman. This has been tried in Spain –and is a success.

Doria reports a conversation with Mrs. Roces, Jr. and the provincial officials of Albay in which she told them the Philippines was being exploited by American salesmen –with which they rather shamefacedly agreed. Mrs. Roces said to her, “I know why I like you so much because you are English –the Americans treat us like niggers.” Mrs. Roces said where possible she bought only Jap goods. Doria said the Wolfsons and the American hairdressers in the beauty shops talk of Filipinos as if they were imbeciles.

At Pili Prieto talked of his starch factory there –he employs about 100 men– their starch is 80% for the laundry because, it is “more viscose” –20% for food (tapioca). they failed at first because they used camotes –now they make $200,000 gross per annum using cassava plants which he smuggled out of Java in 1933 –they are nearly double the size of the native Philippine cassava.

Talked October 27 with Gov. Imperial of Albay about hemp central and hemp-stripping machines –the latter are made by Int. Harvester Co. and cost about six thousand dollars; too expensive for the small farmer with a plantation averaging about 40 hectares. It would take two to three generations to teach cultivators to cooperate on a central. Said Albay has a 6000-horsepower waterfall –which had been abandoned by Meralco.

At the tea dance in Mayon Pavilion there was a good orchestra from Tabajo –people danced like Americans. Mrs. Imperial said her chief ambition was to go to Hollywood.

Duck and snipe shooting at Pili –duck were teal and mallard– very novel method of screening bankas –men went into water like retrievers after a wounded duck.

Mayon Rest House “the beauty spot of the Philippines.” Volcano erupted last year for the first time in a century, as is still smoking –comfort and modern conveniences at the rest house.

Clouds of locusts in Camarines Sur.