September 24, 1944

Its been a lonely day. No bombs. No siren. Nothing but wait and wait and wait from morning to afternoon to late this evening.

We’ve moved part of our furniture already. I can’t describe how sad it feels to leave a house you’ve occupied for more than thirty years. But what can we do? These Japanese don’t know the meaning of kindness, not to mention justice.

There are rumors that landings have been effected somewhere in Camarines and in Atimonan, Tayabas. A BIBA chauffeur reported that American tanks have landed in Camarines. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I hope this isn’t a false alarm.

A 1000-ton Japanese ship was set ablaze this morning at Pier 7 by Filipino guerrillas, according to a Japanese officer who talked to Joe Meily this afternoon. He said that “the Filipino terrorists” have not been apprehended.

Sal Neri came over this afternoon. He said that members of the Military Police inspected the house of Pedro Vera and Miguel Cañizares at four o’clock yesterday morning. “They were looking for transmitters,” he stated.

Another Japanese officer came to the house this afternoon. There is no such thing as privacy these days. We had a short conversation. He told me that he came from New Guinea. I asked “How was Hollandia?” He closed his eyes, shrugged his head and said “So very terrible.”

At about 10 o’clock this morning, Japanese soldiers living in the house across the street ran to their fox holes like frightened chickens. Apparently U.S. planes were sighted. Traffic was stopped in Santa Mesa street until noon time, according to Joe Meily.

April 8, 1942

Intro from memoirs: But one day I had a scare. Old Pio Duran, who believed in the Jap-sponsored Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, if there ever was one, called me up and said I was wanted at Fort Santiago at 11:30 a.m. on April 8th…

I was worried. I could not tell Lolita [my wife] I was wanted at the Fort…

10:30 a.m. Thinking of Lolita and the kids. In the face of grave affliction, a man’s family is uppermost on his mind. He ceases to care about himself. He only thinks of his dear ones. He suddenly realizes that it is only for them that he lives.

Must stop writing, I’ve got to say goodbye to the boys. This silly sentimental crab will bore you no more…

11:00 p.m. Sorry, diary, the old bore is back again. No, he wasn’t detained. He was just shocked. He was a victim of a twisted sense of humor.

It was not an investigation after all but an invitation. Why I was invited, I don’t know. The others present were Dr. Antonio Sison, Messrs. Julio Francia, Pedro Aunario, Ramon Ordoveza, Pedro Vera, Bibiano Meer and Tomas Morato. Everyone was invited in the same fashion and for two days, they all imagined they’d be tortured in some dark cell. Morato arrived with sandwiches. “Just in case they lock me up,” he said.

Col. Ohta and Major Nishimura, the heads of Fort Santiago, explained the reason for the invitation. “We want to show you that Fort Santiago is not a place of torture.” We were taken around and shown the cell of Dr. Rizal. Games and exhibitions were performed before us. One Japanese officer, a Lieut. Koeki, took a bale of hay and hacked it into two parts with one swift stroke of his samurai sword.

We had quite a luncheon, too. And afterwards everybody was given a chance to speak. When my turn came, I told them what was uppermost in my mind. I was thinking og Pagulayan and Unson. I asked if something could be done to release them. But before I could say anything more, Major Nishimura raised his hands and said: “Not now, please.”

So I kept quiet, I knew all this was a sham.

While we feasted above, men were groaning in the dungeons below. The food stuck in my throat and I felt cold. I guess everybody felt the same way too…