14 planes took off at approx 0700. Bombed Appari [Aparri] airfield. Second strike launched at 1300. Bombed Clark Field area. Set several big fires.
A very rainy day. The shelter’s full of water and no bombs. Several Japanese planes were flying but none of ours. A lot of people are disappointed. They expected them again today.
The Japanese have spread their ammunition dumps all over the city. In front of Hicky’s and Gabaldon’s and the street leading to the house and beyond there are a lot of boxes under the trees. Taft Avenue is exclusively for Army cars and trucks. Streetcars are also for Army and Navy men only. There’s a rumor that cars, dokars and bicycles will be commandeered. That’ll leave us with practically nothing. They’ve taken our food, our shelter and now –transportation.
The Japanese claim they sunk 12 aircraft carriers. “We’ve driven them off,” they boast. “No,” added another, “we sunk them all.” That’s why I’m disappointed. I wanted them to come to make these fellows eat their words.
Tio Phil thinks this was just a diversionary raid. Their main objective is Formosa, he said. They sent a couple of carriers here to mislead the Japs, he opined.
America is still silent about yesterday’s raid. Some say Aparri was terribly bombed. That’s what I think. In my opinion, the air raid over Manila was just a feint. They were after some big game up north.
Most of the casualties were due to AA fire. A child sleeping in a nipa hut near the cook’s house was hit by a shrapnel that entered through the roof. A cochero harnessing his horse had a narrow escape when a shrapnel hit the horse.
I have a feeling they’ll come tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed.
There is much animated activity in the air. For the last three months, that is, since the fall of Corregidor, hardly have we seen a plane. These days, however, they are all over like hawks looking for prey. We do not know why. Neither do we know what is happening outside this little world of ours, aside from what we could glean between the lines of, and beyond, the smoked glasses of the local press. The people are making their own conclusions and speculations of the situation, which, if all written down, would form volumes equal to those of Jules Verne. There are rumors that the Americans bombed Baguio, that a landing was made in Negros, in Aparri or in Mindanao, that the American convoy had been sighted over Palawan and American submarines had sunk Japanese warships off Corregidor.
These rumors were accepted as articles of faith even by learned and responsible persons. There were even rumors that the Americans were coming in time for November 15, the anniversary of the establishment of the Commonwealth, or at the latest, on Christmas. This was also accepted as true.
Lumber trucks taking dynamite to Lingayen, Bautista, and Isabela to blow bridges and coast ways. Many alarms; afraid to take a bath—sure to get caught with soap. Elmer annoys so when he won’t quit shaving to go to the shelter. The lumber trucks are to bring rice back from the lowlands, and take it out to the sawmills. Cold storage store’s truck gets through from Manila with frozen meat and even mail. Food rationed. Most of the stores sold out of food. Market has bananas, strawberries, vegetables. Little transportation to come to buy. Three alarms during first aid class.
More Americans from various mines gone up to 67 and to Sagada for safety —these Mountain strongholds can’t be taken. Will bring B. and B. home when the air shelter gets deeper. 17 Jap pursuit planes going over faster than hell. E.W. gone to the seaport, Pora, to see about the oil tanks—a bad two hours for me (those tanks were machine-gunned Dec. 8—the bombs missed them). E.W. and Hezzlewood down there together—don’t know whether to blow the tanks or not—want to save the oil for our forces and at the same time not save it for the Japs.
59 Jap bombers overhead while E.W. were down there; dropped a few eggs, just one person killed, Wagner shot down 2 Jap planes over Aparri and machine gunned several planes on airport there. Radio says Legaspi invaded—hope repulsed. Nine Jap soldiers loose in Vigan. British freighter bombed at San Fernando, Chinese crew jumped overboard; British captain drank a bottle of Scotch and did likewise. E.W. talked long distance with Duggleby in Manila, 24 ships got in to Manila this week with all kinds of reinforcements. Hope revived.
Rained letting us know our roof had a lot of shrapnel holes in it.
Hadn’t had time to give my hair a good combing since the war began; so under cover of the clouds, went and had it cut off.
When I got to the field, Sgt. King, the line chief, told me that all his crew had left the field. He could not get them to stay to do maintenance work. It wasn’t my job to take charge of maintenance but but it wasn’t being done, and it had to be done if the planes were to fly, so I spent most of the morning rounding up the crews and getting them back to work. I found that to keep them at work and get something done, I had to be right there with them. They were scared, and I was, too, because we knew Nichols was in for a big raid, but we stayed there all morning trying to get all the ships into flying condition. A litle after noon I decided to go to the bank and draw some money. I rode into Manila with some other officers who were going to lunch. From the bank I went home to eat lunch and just after I finished, I heard the drone of airplanes. “It’s our bombers,” I told Dorothy, as we walked out to watch them.
“No, they don’t sound like ours,” Dorothy said. When we got out where we could see them, I changed my mind. There they were, fifty-four of them. Two engine bombers were flying at 20,000 feet. The anti-aircraft in Manila began to shoot at them, but their range was so bad that the shells burst only about half as high as the planes were flying. They flew over Nichols several times and dropped bombs each time; then they flew west and dropped the rest of their bombs on Cavite. The dive bombers then came and strafed the field. A few of our P-40s were up, but they were greatly out numbered. They and the dive bombers were so low that I couldn’t see any of the fights. Dorothy and I had been huddled up against a concrete wall all during the raid, but as soon as it was over and traffic started on the streets, I went on out to Nichols. A gasoline truck had been set on fire, several planes had been destroyed, and a few men had been killed or wounded but from all appearances, no large amount of damage had been done. Then some bad news came in. Lt. Hobrecht had been shot down, and when he jumped, his parachute didn’t open. Lt. Phillips had been after a Jap dive bomber over Cavite and had shot him down but then was show down by our anti-aircraft who were shooting at the Japs. He jumped and got out all right. Both were 17th pilots.
I went on to the Nichols Headquarters, which had been moved to a concrete dugout just off the field. There I heard some other developments of the war. Del Carmen had also been bombed and strafed that day. No heavy damage was the report. Then I heard a report that made me wonder what the Jap Army meant to do. The report was that warships and transports had come to Aparri and Vigan on the north tip of Luzon and that troops were landing there. They couldn’t start a ground offensive from there because they would have to come over miles and miles of mountains before they could reach the part of Luzon that they would want. We found out later that they only wanted the use of the airfields located at these points. A few of our bombers had gone up to bomb their ships and several flights of pursuit ships had gone up to strafe the ships, but what could a pursuit plane do against a battle ship? We just didn’t have enough bombers left to do anything. One destroyer was sunk and the ammunition ship was blown up. Everybody was still cheerful though. We all thought we could hold the Nips for one or two weeks, and then our Navy would reach us, reinforcements from the States would start pouring in, and we would have done our job. That was the plan, we all thought, and we didn’t even dream otherwise.
I went home about dark that night. After supper Dorothy and I spent the next two or three hours trying to get a few things straightened out and my personal affairs in order. I made a will and a list of things for Dorothy to do or check on in case something should happen to me. I didn’t like to this because it seemed like I was saying, “I will probably get killed and I want you to do these things after I am dead,” but it was something that needed to be done, so I got it off my mind.
I have always said I am not the least bit superstitious, but I think I am. In flying school I started flying in a certain pair of shoes and from then on through primary I would never fly in any others. Subconsciously I was afraid I would wash-out or something bad would happen if I changed. I still have those shoes, an old pair of perforated brown oxfords, and I guess I will always keep them. I started flying the first day of the war with certain things in my pockets and ever since I always carry the same things. I seem to think something might happen if U get rid of these old safety pins, coins, key chain, and medals, so I make it a point to keep them. Yes, I guess I am superstitious.
Dorothy and I were both cheerful and optimistic that night. In a few weeks we would have Japan on the run and begging for mercy. What did we have to worry abou except maybe a few weeks separation at the most?
Radio says Aparri and Vigan invaded. Don Bell said air raid on Manila. Hear there is a big battle off N. Luzon. What hellish fear that puts into one’s soul. First aid class really working. Yesterday I put on Club bulletin board suggestions for first aid kits — judging from what they brought to class the town must be bought out of Iodine, gauze, etc. ( Insertion: If these people learned nothing in the classes, some of them were able to get their kits into concentration camp where their value was beyond words.)
E.W. heard that the sawmill at 67 was bombed; so he immediately sent a driver up after the kids. Part way up the driver met an American coming down from there. The American said nothing had happened and advised the driver to return—that the children were all right up there. It’s a good thing I did not know about it until it was all over. McCann came back from up there and said an American plane had shot down 2 Jap planes over Suyoc. After hearing that, all seemed well with the world for a few minutes.
Mrs. Halsema phoned that the San Fernando Hospital was full of wounded, and that there was fighting near there. Baguio to be invaded through Bontoc. But when E.W. came from John Hay- at 5:45 he said a courier from Luna said Japs repulsed at Vigan and no fighting at San Fernando. Then Mac came again to say he had heard that 150 bombers had blasted Tokyo and on here to help fight. Well, I could outline first aid and sleep a little on that. These blackouts are such a nuisance—no comfortable place to sit at night—the kitchen is warm, but we can’t get any comfortable chairs in it. E.W. is so beastly tired every night. Lumber orders coming in by the million: board window fronts, air shelters, etc. Bureau of Public Works has all north bridges dynamited and ready to blow.
At 5:30 that morning Billy crashed my bedroom door to exclaim, “Pearl Harbor has been bombed!” Well, we just couldn’t believe it.
I quickly dressed, putting on the only sensible pair of shoes I owned (little did I know that no other shoe was to be on my feet for three years and four weeks). The radio was kept on constantly —already Japan had virtual control of the air because her powerful Tokyo station could drown out everything with a zizzing noise. But once in a while we caught a snatch of further casualties at Pearl Harbor. The telephone kept ring ringing —Baguio friends asking us what we thought and what we were going to do; Manila friends asking if they could come up to Baguio for safety. We said come along—Florence had room and food for all. But they did not come—gas rationed and transportation paralyzed.
At 7:30 I took Bill and Betsy to Brent School as usual. Saw some neighbors there and told them we were beginning our air shelter right away and for them to come down and use it if things ever got bad. I went to the Post Office to get my air letters off to catch the Clipper the next day out of Manila. Murphy, Ex-Mayor Halsema and I were discussing Pearl Harbor out in front of the Post Office when we saw 17 magnificent bombers in three formations flying towards us from the south. We cheered them with glee as that is how Uncle Sam was answering Pearl Harbor. They flew high directly over us and glistened beautifully in the bright morning sunshine. We know
they were on their way to bomb hell out of Tokyo.
We went into the Post Office to buy our stamps, etc. And heard boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. This in the direction of Camp John Hay (the U.S. military post); so we know the Post was firing salutes for the planes, and Mrs. Halsema and Mrs. Turner to take them to town to buy bolts of warm cloth for Igorote Christmas shirts. While at Halsema’s we heard more booms and some Filipinos passing by in a car yelled, “Camp John Hay has been bombed.” Well, we couldn’t believe any thing like that. On we went to town.
When I let the women out at a cloth store, it was rumored on the street that Camp John Hay had been bombed, but there was the same beautiful sunshine as of any other day, same streets, innocent people, beautiful blue sky, the pain and terror of bombs were impossible. Anyway, I went to the market to buy some more canvannes of rice for the servants. While there, we heard more booms in the direction of John Hay, and the Filipinos flew by in
a car calling out, “Camp John Hay is bombed!” As our lumber compound was adjacent to the Post, I thought I better be getting home, as the servants might be worried. On the way I stopped at Aguinaldo’s to buy a lot of creton to make some comfort kits for the 1500 servicemen Mrs. Sayre had said might be hospitalized by Christmas. While buying this—more booms; so I lit out for home.
As I passed the turn in the road above our house, the asphalt was full of cracks—they were not there an hour ago— what was happening anyway? I hurriedly made the other turns to get to the house. There were the four servants standing out in the driveway, scared to death, eyes popping out of their heads. With one accord, they exclaimed, “Mum, we’ve been bombed!!!” One bomb had fallen 30 feet behind the house, but spent most of its force in the soft dirt of the garden. Another had hit in dirt between us and our nearest neighbor. Crosby was standing by his car at the turn of the road
waiting for Jerry—the concussion knocked him flat. He was shell-shocked (later went insane, and finally died). Another bomb had landed under a large lumber bodega, but it did not explode. Another dropped near our gasoline station, it did not explode either. Another fell in soft dirt between the lumber office and the main pipelines of Baguio’s water supply —and it did not go
off either. What kind of a war were these Japs going to fight with bombs that did not even explode?
Well, back at the house we were a mess—the concussions had blown the dust out of the cracks in the floors, out of the cracks in the wood-paneled walls, the soot down out of the fireplace chimneys. Dishes and trinkets had been shook all over. The servants said it was worse than any typhoon or earthquake we had ever had.
Our formerly well-kept household remained in this mess, while I
packed a suitcase full of clothes for each of the two kids and for myself thinking that we would be evacuated to the States. Also a Suitcase for E.W. containing new khaki pants and shirts, and a pair of new heavy work shoes—thinking that he would go to the hills with his Igorotes. These were kept out under a pine tree—just in case the house got hit with a bomb and burned up—leaving us nothing, before we ever got started going anywhere. The servants were busy packing all their stuff to get going anywhere.
E.W. out at the machine shop seven kilometers from town had not known about the bombing until the office telephoned him. He came tearing home, and seeing all the close calls at the lumberyard, ordered the women and children to evacuate the machine shop. Lumber trucks hurriedly took them out there between rapid deliveries of lumber all over town; as everybody (including ourselves) was beginning an air shelter.
The radio managed to inform us that war news was supposed to be
broadcast every hour on the hour, but we kept the thing going all the time, not wanting to miss the least grain of news, as the Japs had the air jammed to such an extent that little was intelligible. We heard with great consternation that Davao had been bombed, also Clark Field. What was the world coming to? There were air raid alarms when we least expected them—all we could do was run out doors and stand up close to a big pine tree. (We had been taught to do that at first aid classes.) Some of our friends came to see what
we were going to do, what we thought. Things were in such a whirl that I doubted if we thought. Then over the radio would be Don Bell’s assuring voice that things were going as expected and that all would be under control soon. Bless him for those words, whether he knew he was lying or not. Then I was asked if I could not begin teaching a first aid class the next day, one that had been scheduled to begin after the holidays. This sudden change of plans entailed a lot more telephoning.
My hurriedly scratched diary says, ”Three first aid kits had been
packed ages ago; got all extra first aid stuff in two Gladstone bags, put some in my car, some in E.W.’s—cars never in garage under house—always out under tree; packed best pictures, flat sterling, Venus de Milo with wool sweaters in suitcase put under a tree. Packed two small bed rolls, with one big mosquito net—all this out of the house, in case it should be hit by the next bombs. Kids still at Brent; decided to send them to lumber camp up Mt. Trail 67 kilometers. Mr. and Mrs. Kluge will take excellent care of them—bombs surely won’t fall in the forest wilderness. Hear planes and
sirens, do not know if enemy or not. And do not even know the “all clear” from the warning signal. Radio says Aparri bombed. Servants trying to pack their belongings in too small space. Vigan reported bombed. Kids come bounding home from school before noon hour—running over with excitement and what they had heard on way home from school: John Hay Hospital bombed to pieces, Officers Mess direct hits, Radio station direct hit, nine soldiers killed outright, many others wounded. Mr. Bate, neighbor a few hundred feet away, beheaded by a piece of shrapnel; others in neighborhood wounded severely.
Mr. Muller’s legs cut off with shrapnel —died later. Oh, God, is this
the year of our Lord 1941? Is this Baguio? And me packing sterling silver. Vigan bombed; Jap aircraft carrier reported sunk off Hawaii—well, that is what we expected. Packed two boxes canned foods, case milk, big sack flour, half case Ivory soap etc. for the kids to take to Kluges. Rita, number one servant, to go with them in station wagon. God, how I appreciate their going to Mrs. Kluge—they can’t stay here until the air shelter is deeper. Four other American families also gone there for safety. Then I concentrated on first aid course—all afternoon reorganized whole thing—most important things first—about a hundred telephone calls, air alarms.
Other three servants persuaded they could never get to their homes in Abra (already the roads and bridges in the lowlands have been bombed.) they went with others to machine shop for safety. Supper on kitchen table, fried hamburgers, and almost forgot to feed Foxy. How he hates those Jap planes —barks at them every time. Two houses behind us blown to pieces by bombs. Total blackout 6 to 6. A practice one not like the long reality. Cut out 48 Christmas kites and strings for Mrs. Sayre. Actually slept soundly after 1:00 a.m.
At office; visit from Becker from Aparri, who has always been a sort of confidential agent of the Government on affairs in the far north. Says he cannot persuade his two handsome mestizo sons to go to the Military Academy to become army officers. He came down to Manila to try to induce the President to visit the Northern Islands–as to which I talked later with Quezon and he agreed to go to see the Batanes, Camiguin etc “in between two typhoons,” tho he spoke rather ruefully of a typhoon getting him and me! Becker also asked to have one of Quezon’s confidential advisers sent up to Aparri for a while.
Becker says the Japanese are settling in isolated places on that coast, getting sea weed (for iodine)–they pay 5 centavos a kilo for the sea weed and sell it for 22. They also take camagon wood from the forests and load it in Japanese ships returning from the South. The island of Camiguin is heavily wooded with fine timber, and is people by those of Aguinaldo’s small force who escaped northwards when he was captured in Palanan by Funston. Becker says the Japanese fish these waters with ice-supplied boats which are periodically visited by a mother ship.
The country of the northern coast is a fine source of supply of rattan, and there are thousands of hectares lying idle in the interior. Ilocano emigrants are slowly trickling into Cagayan province. Many Negritos are in the cordillera east of Lake Cagayan, which, by the way, is not nearly so large as is shown on the maps. There was, he added, no danger of attack from the Negritos unless one goes armed. The Apayaos and Kalingas no longer disturb travelers from Ilocos immigrating via Abra across their country. The Aparri breakwater is not yet finished. Once a month a subsidized Tabacalera steamer calls at Batanes with supplies but gets practically no cargo there.
Later from 10:30 to 1:40 on the balcony at Malacañan Palace with Unson, Yulo and Marabut checking up on Quezon’s message on the budget–later we were joined by Quezon, Osmeña and Vargas–(Osmeña came on other business but took part in this discussion).
After having his office in Malacañan air-conditioned, Quezon turned the “conditioning” off and sits outside on the balcony to do his office work. (Those of whom I enquire here seem to be of two minds concerning the advantages of air-conditioning–a process new here, tho I first experienced it in Buenos Aires six or seven years ago!)
Visit from Ramon Diokno and Eulogio Benitez with the former’s draft of my landlord & tenant bill; he has amplified it by including amended portions of the Civil Code, rice tenancy law and sugar tenants law–a remarkable bit of legislative drafting. If this bill is adopted it will free the “serfs” on the land and provide in the Philippines an exit from the feudal system.
Talk with Unson concerning the plan to make the Governors of Provinces appointive instead of elective (qua France). It will have support in the Assembly since this measure would enhance the prestige of Assemblymen, who will then be the chief elective officials in the provinces. Even if he favours this centralization of power, Quezon will hardly come forward to advocate it, since it appears superficially to be a step back from democracy!
Unson reports that the disappearance of fish from their former haunts in the Philippine waters is due chiefly to dynamiting. He said further that agents from the Department of Labour foment “safe” strikes in order to have the credit for settling them. His last bit of official gossip was that the Philippine Army is to buy old type Enfield rifles, and .45 caliber revolvers–a size Unson thinks unsuitable for Filipinos.
When Quezon joined our group, his budget was gone through, and he was particularly concerned to change the last paragraph which as originally drafted, sternly admonished the Assembly not to touch the surplus of the government–(thirty-one million pesos nominally–nine millions real unencumbered surplus)–Quezon asked us what we thought of appropriating the government’s surplus. Unson spoke up at once, pointing out that the system had been different here than elsewhere. In England and France they budgeted only for expected actual expenditures. Quezon and he agreed that the real riches of a nation were to be found in the pockets of the people and not in the Government vaults. I told of the first United States surplus under President Andrew Jackson, which was divided up by the government among the states. Quezon then modified his budget message so as to leave a door open to use the nine million surplus later if needed; said he wanted to get his tax laws through first, then take five millions of the surplus as a revolving fund for the development of Mindanao. He went on to say that the trouble in using a surplus would not be with the Assembly, but with the United States Government which under the Tydings-McDuffie law has powers to intervene here in financial matters–that the High Commissioner was always at him to keep a surplus and to balance the budget–principles which, however, Murphy did not himself observe when Mayor of Detroit, and which are certainly not followed by his chief, President Roosevelt. “I could manage Weldon Jones” he said, “but it is hardly worth while for he will not be Deputy High Commissioner for long; from what I read in this morning’s paper, Murphy will be back in a few months; in reference to a proposed nomination for Governor of Michigan, he now states that his work in the Philippines is not yet finished.”
The President then invited me to lunch with him after all the others left, and told me how he had left Manila dead beat on Friday but as soon as he got to Atimonan and had a swim he wanted my company and thought of wiring for me to join him on an excursion to Alabat Island where the sea bathing is so wonderful. He had talked to the school teacher at Alabat and found that in the schools practically no Filipino patriotism is taught. Said he had gone in swimming again at Sunset Beach, Cavite, “but if I had not been enough of a man to go through with it, I would have refused on account of the jelly-fish.”
I handed him the Landlord & Tenant bill. He said Secretary Torres had come to him a day or two after his message to the Assembly last Tuesday, and had told him that his passages referring to the land system had killed all danger of disturbances; especially now that he has reversed his former position and has come out against purchase by the government of the great estates. I asked him if the church was not disappointed. He said “Yes, for they expected to sell their lands to the government at a terribly high price.”
He had been reading a Spanish work of the early conquest of the Philippines and expressed regret that the high reputation of the Filipinos for commercial honesty in their early dealings with the foreigners was no longer maintained today. He also said he was sorry that the Spanish expeditions of long ago against the Moluccas and Borneo had failed–for by now they would be the center of a great empire. I remarked that this would come to pass anyway in the future. Quezon agreed.
I enquired whether he wished the Survey Board to proceed with their attempt to consolidate scientific laboratories or to wait, since, against the wish of his own expert adviser, Dr. Manuel Roxas, he had wired to ask for some export from the Mellon Institute, to come out here to help us to reorganize. He said: “Yes, go ahead.” The President is determined, if possible, to prevent “overlapping” and we dealt with the extreme difficulty of getting at the real facts from the bureaus concerned here!
I asked him to request Washington to prolong the service of Consul General Hoover at Hong Kong for one year (to the time of Hoover’s retirement). He at once drew up a cable to the High Commissioner to that effect, which was very complimentary to Hoover.
Told him that Doria and I wanted to go to Bali for a couple of weeks:–he replied that he did not understand the interest in Bali, adding: “We have plenty of Balis here.”
Quezon then said he was celebrating a great event today telling me that a month ago, spots had been discovered again on his lungs. He had been dreadfully worried, and told nobody, not even his wife, but today another examination had been made and he is now absolutely clean of tuberculosis. Meanwhile, he had taken exercise and had avoided the sun. This dread of tuberculosis hangs over all the truly brilliant prospects of his remarkable career.
Asked him for the pardon of Evangelista in San Ramon and he said he would attend to it.
He had asked Unson about amending the sales tax law so as to collect it at a higher percentage but with a single incidence, and thus to stop tax evasions. Unson said it was impossible to stop Chinese evasions, and that collection at the source would penalize manufacturers instead of falling on the merchants.
In the afternoon, tea dance at Bilibid for the birthday of General Santos. Quezon was there, but did not seem to enjoy himself much.