23-Sept. -45

We sighted the Philippines at 11:00 today and remained in sight of the islands the rest of the day. At around 1730 this evening we dropped anchor right off the coast of Leyte in the Philippine Islands. Tacloban is the city in this harbor and it is the capitol of Leyte. This is the place where the U.S. first made landings in the Philippines last Oct. At the present time there are a great many ships here in the harbor. I don’t know the number, but it looks as if there are several hundred. So far I have only saw the tops of two ships sticking up out of the water that had been sank during the Leyte campaign.

29th Day, Jan. 25, 1945

The trip has been suspended. I am not sorry at all, although I wanted to go as early as possible.

Yet the day is very fruitful. I have met Gen. Willoughby. He told me that my letter to F. Caram has made me a world figure. It is being quoted in many war documents.

Berting Roque came in this afternoon and ate his supper with us tonight. He escaped from Manila.

Germany will be collapsing within sixty days.

Japan will collapse in the Philippines before the end of year.

This is the first day in three years that I have put on a new pair of shoes. This is also the first time in three years that I have socks. What a change!

Gen. Willoughby gave me to understand that the collaborators will be getting their just due. I felt happy on account of this assurance.

I received this afternoon a laudatory message from Gen. MacArthur.

28th day, Jan. 24, 1945

I haven’t left the house today in order to rest. But I haven’t gotten the relaxation I wanted. Maj. Hughes came in to have an interview with me, prying into my public career. I talked to him for over two hours, giving him the low down, and my views on certain public questions.

Late this afternoon I got the message that we shall be leaving tomorrow at 6:30 a.m. by plane for the U.S. I have packed up all that I have to bring with me in a small handbag, weighing not more than 10 lbs.

27th day, Jan. 23, 1945

What a hectic day! I had the opportunity to hit Peralta, and I have done it good and hard.

The damned fool is finished.

My throat is slightly improved.

Maj. Cisneros and Cily J saw me.

I am now ready to go.

We felt like kids when [we] received our new clothes today—the first in three years.

I saw Chic Parsons—what a man! He is all service for every one he can help. Why don’t we have more of his kind?

I got funds today. I am giving the boys pocket money to enable them to go around at ease.

26th Day, Jan. 22, 1945

I have gone to the Capital of Leyte today. I met Gen. Valdes, Gov. Hayden, Dean Kalaw and many others. The night previous I had a talk with Judge Saguin and Cong. Lopez from Cebu and they informed me about certain tendencies which didn’t please me. So I certainly blew up this morning when I found myself in the very seat of the government of the Commonwealth. I let the world know that we the guerilleros, at least I, would not hesitate to continue the fight for our principles in any field. I did not mince words on my bitter distaste for collaborators. I made special reference to former Judge Bayona. I have held fruitful conferences with Gen. Valdes, Gov. Hayden, Dean Kalaw and others. So, many people know me here! They say I am quite popular in these parts. Why? Every one receives with enthusiasm my stand for the common man. I am happy. I am beginning to return to civilization again to modern beds, to modern baths, to good food, etc.

Well, I have to go to America. I am going to show my wares there, if I have any, to find out whether they [are valued there].

I feel very much depressed, however, that I cannot take my family with me, especially my wife and little boy. Poor girl! She deserves a vacation—and a trip to that great country. But she’ll get there, sometime. I’ll see to it that she enjoys the good things of life, too. There is nothing worthwhile that I deserve that she doesn’t.

For two nights, the noise of war and the excitement of the times have kept me awake, giving me just three hours of sleep at the most.

25th day, Jan. 21, 1945

After all, we are now here in Tacloban, the “promised” land, at about 5 pin today.

After a whole night in the sea on our sail boat, we were in Tolong Bay very early this morning, the third day of our watch for the plane that was to pick us up.

All of us were in suspense beginning at 9 am. up to 10:45 a.m., for from that time we would have to wait again for the next day for the much awaited pick-up.

Lo! at 15 minutes to eleven o’clock we heard a distant rumbling. We all trained our ears towards the source of the sound. Then, of a sudden, a plane came out of the clouds, from the SW. It headed towards us. “It is a “Cat,” every body shouted. It continue its course northward and our eyes followed. It was almost vanishing in the distance, when it banked to the left and made a turn in our direction. We felt relieved, for we thought at first that it was not yet our ship. It continued its southwesterly direction and then banked to the right and returned again towards our sailboat. Start heading once again for the NE, but nearer, it circled to the left and flew over us for a short distance again toward the SW, where once again flying still lower at this time over our heads, we saw it lowering its position. Then Col. Andrews shouted “That’s it. We got it now.”

The plane descended further, circling over us, and Andrews saw Chic Parsons on board. And finally the “Cat” landed and taxied towards our sailboat.

There was excitement all over our ship. Everybody cheered. The much awaited pick-up was at last at hand. It came along and docked alongside us. The crews came out. We cheered them. And up appeared Chic shouting “Hello and Mabuhay.” Chic came down to our ship to give us the glad hand. [I am?] thankful that Chic is on the job.

After a brief account of his mission, that is, to get me, he called for the Captain and introduced me.

“Here is the man we want, Captain—Governor Confesor. I want you to meet him. We are making history today”, Chic remarked to him.

Then the unloading of the 3,000 lb. cargo was commenced. It took about one half an hour. After that, we went aboard. It was hot inside. We got into the tail where there was air.

People from the shore flocked in on their row boats, men, girls and boys. They came for what they could get in cigarettes, clothing and food. And the members of the crew threw them cigarettes, clothing and old blankets. It created a scramble and excitement among the crowds. Soon the shore was filled by hundreds of people, happy, cheerful and enthusiastic. The navigator went ashore and he was almost mobbed by the happy crowd. It was the first landing of an American plane there. What a great event!

A big contrast it was with the presence of Japs. The latter drove the people away in hiding to the woods and mountains. While here the American plane and its boys brought every one out of his hideout, for a holiday, every body with a smile on his face and a happy heart in his bosom.

The boys in the plane are a fine bunch of young fellows—full of zest and enthusiasm. They are much impressed by their reception—they are happy over it.

You can see on the faces of these chaps, their love for life and their enthusiasm over their work. Not the slightest sign of discontent nor moroseness can be discerned on their face. They love the game they are playing. They are healthy and cheerful. They are neither gruff nor dyspeptic like the Japs.

What a big difference with this people as contrasted with the Japs. The Americans give away things to the people—while the latter loot us.

No wonder why America will win this war. It has a fighting legion that is youthful, enthusiastic, cheerful, happy and determined.

It is a pleasure and privilege to meet these young Americans that have come to fight our battle. I am very happy to be with them.

Chic Parsons is a great fellow. His part in this war in behalf of the Filipinos is immeasurable. We certainly owe him much. We should be […]

Thank God, we went through the war zone unscathed, not even disturbed. No Jap plane made any appearance as we passed between Negros and Cebu. Well, Jap air power is on the blink, to be sure. We have no fighter escort, at that.

As Leyte loomed before us, a surge of varied emotions swept through us. We thought at first that we would see a terribly devastated land. Yet, we found here rivers lazily plodding their way to the sea as if nothing catastrophic had swept over their basins. Her hills, most of them at least, are still green with a new crop of rice. Many of her towns are still intact. Her churches are still up, unlike Panay, where all is desolation.

But when the bay of Tacloban came into view, what a thrilling bight unfolded before us! On land bordering it, are bivouacked areas for soldiers, supplies in interminable piles scattered all over, innumerable parked motor vehicles, warehouses, landing fields, etc. Oh! the bay itself is a beautiful sight. It is all ships of all types ranging from a five ton motor boat to a 20,000 ton transport. There are hundreds of them—never before seen in this part of the world—and rarely seen anywhere.

Floating all over are all types of flying ships, too.

Here we see a concrete manifestation of the power of America, in terms of striking power in land, sea and air.

The bay is just as busy as the port of New York during prewar days. Something like it will never be seen in this part during the next one hundred years.

On shore every house is occupied five times its capacity.

Everybody is in uniform. Soldiers are on every inch of the ground.

Stores of supplies are all over. The dock and piers are chuck full of supplies of all kinds. All kinds of ships are crowded by ships along their sides.

Tacloban is superboom town just now.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent daily here. The people here are having an exciting time. But the war spirit and its concrete manifestations permeate the place through and through.

It is all rumblings of trucks and buzzings of aeroplanes. Every minute of the day reverberates with the strain of martial sounds.

What great events are certainly developing here!

I meet people here from all parts of the Philippines, each with his story to tell.

Air raid alarms and anti-aircraft gunfire sounded the whole night long.

It’s War! We are in the midst of it now both its bright and dark manifestations.

Are these young Americans fighting for the puppets and what they represent or what?

Sounds of aeroplanes continue to assail our ears even in our sleep.

January 21, 1945 — Sunday

Attended 6:45 a.m. Mass and received Communion. Went to Air Strip at 8 a.m. Took off at 9 a.m. on a B-25. Sat inside the cabin next to the turret gunner. Arrived San Jose, Mindoro 10:50 a.m. Had luncheon with General Dunckel. Discussed with Major Nimick needs of civil population. Took off 3:30 p.m. Landed Tacloban Air strip at 5:20 p.m.