February 10, 1945

I have not written in a week and I don’t know how or where to begin, or whether I will remember everything that has happened during the week!

On the morning of February 5, the USAFFE soldiers entered Jaro a 9:00 a.m.! Some of the soldiers came inside the college and people were afraid of them. Some behaved themselves, while others did not. Looting by them in Jaro was rampant and houses were set on fire. The Bishop’s residence with all its precious things was looted and the house set on fire.

The USAFFE came inside Jaro and the college so quietly that the Japanese were not aware they had done so. It was not until noon that the USAFFE started firing. They had also set up barricades in other locations around Jaro. The Japanese returned their fire and the heavy shooting lasted for four days! On the second day of shooting trench mortars fell around us. One fell on the roof above the dining area, and two fell on the tennis court. Thank God that in spite of the heavy firing, no one was hurt! All we could do was to remain on the floor in our rooms. The walls of the college were peppered with bullet holes. Most of the beautiful homes around the Jaro plaza are burned, and ¾ of the town of Molo has been destroyed by fire.

On the night of February 7, we could hear (between the gunfire) someone calling for help on the other side of the wall. No one dared to go out. He kept calling for help for about ½ hour, then was silent. The following morning during a lull in the shooting, someone in the college ventured to look over the wall and saw the dead body of a USAFFE soldier.

Don Ramon Lopez’s house which is on the other side of the college, had been occupied by the USAFFE during the shooting, so we were between the cross-fire. On the 4th day of fighting, more Japanese reinforcements arrived, and the USAFFE had to retreat. The fighting was carried outside of Jaro to the river, so today it has been quiet.

After things quieted down, four Japanese soldiers came to the college to look around and inspect the damage. At the time they came, the Chaplain asked permission from them if the dead body on the other side of the wall could be buried. The officer gave his permission and mentioned that there was another dead USAFFE soldier a few yards away.

The next morning, a priest and some servants at the college, including John, our cook, went to bury the two soldiers. Some Japanese soldiers came to the site while the graves were being dug, and helped in the digging.

October 18, 1944

I have not written for several days as I have been ill in bed with influenza and severe asthma. Coné remained with me at night. After each injection I was able to sleep. Thank God I am better today. This is no time to be sick when one needs to get up and seek shelter from the raids.

During the last four days there were air raid alarms. On the 14th and 15th the planes seemed to be scattered, and we only saw four or five. Yesterday, an eye witness told Coné that she saw over 100. They flew along the coast of Molo and over the open sea. One man said they looked to be about 400. We could hear the drone and knew there were many, but could not see them. I looked out the window and saw two flying from the north towards the sea. We knew then that they were not meant for us, but for the other islands.

This morning the siren blew at 8:30 a.m. Susie and I did not go downstairs, as we did no hear any planes. The weather is very stormy – a typhoon is brewing – and how can a person run to the shelter and fox holes in this weather? We have heard of some people who have stood up to the shoulders in water in fox holes.

During the first air raid, the Japanese took no chances and removed all their patients from the hospital and placed them in fox holes and shelters. I am wondering if they did this today in the downpour. On October 13, I moved upstairs next to Susie. I have a nice room partitioned off by her aparador. Doña Rose Jesena and all the folks who were staying downstairs were very nice to me. In fact, they are all very fine people, but the room seemed to be damp as the walls are concrete and also the floors. I really blame the place for my severe cold. In my new room, the sunshine filters through the window bars (most windows in the tropics have iron bars to keep out burglars, although these windows are high and it would take one of our fire department ladders to reach them.)

As I sit writing at the table, three little birds are eating the rice kernels that I placed on the window sill. They come every day and even eat from the table.

October 1, 1944

Yesterday’s news: Negros (nearby island) was raided twice and there was a dog fight.

No sirens have sounded today, but the Japanese are always on the alert.

Two days ago, the Asilo de Molo (an orphanage), where many refugees are staying, was looted. The looters came at 10:00 in the morning and again that night. We are taking precautions and are doubling the guards at night. The civilians now living in the college take turns guarding and patrolling the college.

August 28, 1944

Last night there was shooting in Molo (a suburb of Iloilo) and also in Tanza, near the beach, where the clubhouse “Treasure Island” is located. The “Indians” came in strong and attacked both places. The P.C. (Philippine Constabulary soldiers under the Japanese, all of whom are Filipinos) are quartered in the clubhouse (“Treasure Island”). The “Indians” requested them to surrender, but the P.C. decided to resist them and began firing (perhaps in fear of their lives – the “Indians” might consider them as collaborators). The “Indians” held Molo before the Japanese came and dispersed them. There were no casualties, but several civilians were wounded. Several buildings were set on fire and we could see the blaze very clearly. It is rumored that the “Indians” have attacked several towns outside of the city. We are becoming so used to the shooting that we do not go downstairs unless it is close. Once we did not hear the shooting as Dolly was playing the piano and we were downstairs playing bridge with Dorothy and Meñing. The game was interrupted for a few minutes, and then we saw there was no danger, and on we went with our bridge game.

At 4:00 a.m. we were awakened by an explosion nearby. We heard later that one of the “Indians” threw a hand grenade at the municipal building where the P.C. were housed. No one was hurt.