July 2, 1942

Mr. Nakashima, Assistant Supervisor-de-Facto, has taken charge of the purchasing of spare parts. Naric needs a two-year supply, at least. Honesty is essential in this task.

Mr. Fukada reported that the Army is ready with soldiers for Nueva Viscaya purchases. Next move depends on the Naric, he stated.

The body of a Japanese soldier was found floating on the banks of the Pasig River.

Philip told us many stories about Bataan. He attributed the USAFFE’s defeat to two things:

(1) the meager, almost nil, food ration; and

(2) the complete aerial superiority of the Japanese.

“We were like rats,” he said, “only worse. When Japanese planes swept down, bombing, strafing… the only thing to do was to bury yourself under the ground. If you were lucky, you came out alive with earth all over your face and body. If you were unlucky…” He did not continue his sentence.

The ration in Bataan was a handful of “lugao” every day, nothing more. “It was a pitiful sight,” he said, “to see soldiers hardly able to lift their rifles, extending their hands to their officers, begging for food.”

Philip said there were no replacements in the front lines. While the Japanese forces used fresh troops, the USAFFE did not have enough men to cover the front lines. The same troops stood in the front from January to April, from morning to evening and morning again, till the lines finally broke before the ceaseless firing, bombing and shelling of the Japanese forces.

He explained that the only thing that kept the spirits of the boys alive was the hope of the convoy. “We were told that the convoy was on the way. And so we waited and waited. I have actually seen officers standing on the shores, scanning the seas, looking for the convoy. Sometimes they would see a wave and they would say, ‘There… that look like the spearhead of the convoy.’ We were like thirsty men in a desert, scanning the sands for an oasis. But the convoy did not arrive. Next week, they would say. Then it was ‘in a month,‘ ‘in two months,’ in three… never!”

He said that he was not sorry he went to Bataan. Aside from the satisfaction of serving his country, he looked at it as a post-graduate course in a University. It was educational, he pointed out. It was life.

Somehow man understands life better in the face of death.

May 24, 1942

Inspected markets with Fukada and Sulit.

Mr. Nakashima took his ruler and started hitting a man who did not obey him immediately. Whenever I hear of these things, my blood boils. Told Mr. Fukada, Japanese Supervisor, to tell the Japanese staff not to raise their hands on Filipino employees. Otherwise I will not be responsible for what might happen. I pointed out.

It rained last night. I sleep well on rainy nights.

 

March 7, 1942

Reign of terror.

Shades of the Inquisition, the “Red-purge,” Jan Valtin’s “Out of the Night.”

Sison has disappeared. He fled to the mountains. The Japanese Military Police is looking for him.

Stories have crept out of Fort Santiago. Men are being tortured. Several have died because of the “water-cure.” Blows, lashings, chains, hysterical screams.

Tanco ate with me. Related the manner of his investigation. “I spoke out the truth,” he stated. He was nervous, agitated. I don’t blame him. Tanco told me he admitted to the Military Police that he saw a copy of U.S. News through Pagulayan.

Stories of men tied upside down for days, without food nor water. Stories of men under whose finger nails sharp sticks were inserted. Stories of men clubbed with bats on the back, the shoulders and then the head.

Found this note on my desk. It speaks for itself.

March 7, 1942

7:40 a.m.

My dear Doctor,

I am going to Fort Santiago this morning, as per Mr. Nakashima’s instructions yesterday, with a clear conscience, as I know that I have not done anything inimical to the interest of the Army of Occupation. In fact, I have done my bit in suppressing not only among my fellow-employees but among my friends outside any talk not only against the Japanese but also about war in all its controversial aspects. This is not to say that there has been much talk against the Japanese in our office; far from it. But I have tried to help guard against any undesirable rumors of whatever nature. Some even insinuated that I am pro-Japan.

I am grateful, doctor, and deeply so, for your kind words for me in front of Mr. Nakashima yesterday. I shall treasure your generous commendation. Whatever happens, doctor, I trust I can always count on your magnanimous help to me and all of us, your men in the office. If worse comes to worst in my particular case today, I shall pray God that you may not, as in the past, neglect your servant. I have tried to be worthy of your confidence, and you know it, Sir. Now that I am in the cross-roads of my life, I will continue to hold on to your bigheartedness. I have (and my family has too) always prayed for my immediate chief, Mr. Pagu, for his safety. May God hear my prayers, the prayers of all his friends including yours, Doctor, even in the dark future, I shall also be praying for you.

Ferrer

Ferrer was allowed to return home late in the afternoon. There were several contusions on his body and he had a black eye.

Read the Bushido. Impressed by one of its tenets: kindness and fair treatment towards the enemy. It emphasizes chivalry.

Every time a Japanese manhandles a Filipino, anti-Japanese hatred increases. Fort Santiago is the most powerful propaganda arm of the United States.

March 6, 1942

At about 2 p.m. Mr. Nakashima informed me that Mr. Ferrer, chief clerk, and Mr. G. Sison, secretary to the Food Administrator, were wanted at Fort Santiago.

“Maybe it isn’t very serious.” explained Nakashima. “because they are not being taken. but called.”

I notified Ferrer immediately. No need describing his reaction. I sympathize with him.

Sison was not in the office, so I sent a messenger to his none to notify him. He was not there.

Somebody released from Fort Santiago said he saw Pagu. ‘‘His hands and feet were shackled and there was blood on his shirt,’’ the man whispered.

That is why there are revolutions. There is more than just oratory to Patrick Henry’s “Liberty or Death!”

February 17, 1942

Received regards from Mary. She is in Cabiao. Those who evacuated to the provinces had a harder time than those who stayed in Manila. The city was the safest place.

Mr. Takamia, Japanese agriculturist, co-worker of Mr. Abe at Mrs. Quezon’s farm in Arayat, was sent by the Japanese authorities to Legaspi and Naga together with three of our own men to handle rice sales and perhaps the purchase of palay. Mr. Takamia informed me that only part of Mrs. Quezon’s harvest was stolen. Called Mr. Nakashima’s attention to the great number of our personnel. He ordered that we continue with the personnel until further orders from the Army. Railroad traffic between San Fernando and Manila has been reopened today. That means Manila’s supply of rice will be increased. Since the Occupation to the present date, Manilans have been fed on the rice stocks in our bodegas. The rations may not have been enough, but at least it was equitably distributed. And still there are people who are angry at me for [not?] having thrown open the doors of our bodegas before the Japanese entered the city!

People are talking about the fall of Singapore. It was most unexpected. Many believed it would hold longer than Corregidor. How long will our own boys stand? Maybe if they receive reinforcements, if the convoy…  It’s all ‘if.’

Life is a big IF.