My dearest Mother and all,
I do not know just when you will receive this letter, but I know it will interest you and the folks to know what we have done since the outbreak of the war.
On December 8 (1941) we listened in on the radio as usual and when we heard the shocking news that Pearl Harbor was bombed, you can imagine our feelings of shock and disbelief! After breakfast Coné immediately went downtown and bought plenty of supplies; when he came home we began packing and by afternoon most of all our furniture had been taken to Dorothy’s (Bernas) house – even the birds were evacuated. As you know, they live in Jaro, a suburb of Iloilo City. That same day we all went to live with Dorothy and Meñing, who made room for us in their small two-bedroom house. We felt it was safer there than in the city.
As the days passed, we felt a little calmer until December 18. That morning I went with Coné to his office (in Iloilo). Ramon Lopez stopped by for his liver extract injection and remarked, “There is a rumor that Japanese planes are headed for Iloilo.” We did not pay much attention to this, as there are rumors every day.
At 12:15 p.m. we headed back for Jaro. During the course of our conversation while we were eating lunch, Meñing (Dorothy’s husband) said, “There is a report of enemy planes sighted and headed south for Iloilo or other places.” He had no sooner uttered these words when we heard a drone of motors. We immediately rushed out to see, but clouds were covering them and were a perfect camouflage. As they came closer and lower, we saw three formations – a total of 36 planes. We rushed for the shelter that Coné had prepared downstairs. The planes circled and began machine gunning over the Philippine Central College (3 miles from us) and flew over us. We could hear the bullets hit the roof. Then we heard bombs exploding – many targets were hit, but some objectives were missed. Fort San Pedro was missed, but a bomb fell on the road in front of the military hospital.
The hangar was a direct hit, two small planes were inside, a large one inside. Mr. Grant, one of the pilots, was taking his siesta when he heard the planes. He tried to get his plane up, but in doing so, he was terribly machine gunned, and the three planes were totally destroyed.