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Manila, Philippines 1961

Copyright (Mss.) 1958 By ELISEO QUffiINO

Printed in the Philippines All rights reserved by the author.

First Printing, 1958 . Second Printing, 1961


To all who suffered and died in devotion to their country during

World War U and under Enemy Occupation, this book is humbly dedicated.

E . Q.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT In getting out this edition the author is grateful to Messrs. Harry S. Stonehill, Eugenio Lopez, William U Yao, Santiago F. Yap, Jose Soriano, Anastasio R. Teodoro, Godofredo Rivera, Juan Bagasan, and Santos Oriane and also to the Benipayo Press whose help and encouragement have been most invaluable. His gratitude goes also to the reviewers for their kind comments and to the reading public for its equally generous reception of the book. Since its publication this modest book has been the recipient of the Republic Cultural Heritage Award for 1960 in the field of historical writing on the occasion of the Fourteenth Anniversary of the Republic of the Philippines. Previously, in accordance with Bulletin No. 12, series 1959, of the Director of Public Schools, it has been adopted as a reader in History and Social Science in Philippine schools and colleges. For this and to the school teachers at whose suggestion an index is now included the author is as profoundly grateful.

PREFACE The narration of the facts and events recorded here was finished soon after the liberation. Portions of it were actually written when the city of Manila was burning from the fire which razed it to the ground. The Japanese were still hiding in many parts of the city and the American forces were hurling shells to dislodge them. Citations appearing here were collected from official publications issued during the Japanese occupation. Reference to news repQrts and opinions came directly from the newspapers and journals printed then. Speeches quoted from Japanese and Filipino officials may be found in the Official Gazette corresponding to the period. As was originally written this was to have been released soon after the re¡establishment of the Commonwealth. Lack of facilities made it impossible to have it printed at the time. It has been more than ten years since, and during all this time the manuscript remained in the shelf. Going over it again, I was persuaded that despite the many books and magazine articles already printed about the war, here and elsewhere, the Philippines war-time story has not been all told. Time and again, on the other hand, questions have arisen which had their origin in this period. If there had been a proper understanding of their background, perhaps many of the unpleasant things that had happened since then could have been in some way happily avoided. To bring the narration upto-date, the portions leading up to the end of the Com¡ monwealth have been added. I hope this modest effort will help shape the Philippines' war-time story that is still to be written. This is

an attempt to portray and interpret. Of course, facts admit of a wide variety of interpretations, but we cannot alter them. My indebtedness goes to my friend, Federico Mangahas, who kindly took the pains to go over the copy and the proofs with me. E. Q.

Manila, Philippines May 10, 1958



BLOW FROM THE SKy..........


The Tydings-McDuffie Act. Filipinos act immediately to organize Philippine Commonwealth. Thrilling preparations for independence. Filipinos and Americans brought closer together. Independence law becomes charter of friendship. Pearl Harbor sneak attack by Japanese a "death blow" to Commonwealth. Invasion follows attack. Filipinos and Americans stand together. Japanese are lured to Bataan. Bataan defense delays southward push. Bataan falls but Filipino and American soldiers receive baptism of unity. Japanese lose fight to keep up their war timetable.




Filipinos and Japanese long time friends. Never in enmity with each other. Philippines always seeking friendship of strong neighbor. Policy to renounce war a gesture to Japan and the wo1"ld. War with Japan never expected. Filipinos with Roosevelt but never thought of war. Filipino ire aroused by air-raid on Pearl Harbor and Philippines. They decide to fight. People shudder at espionage stories. Indignation against Japanese spreads. Friends turn to enemies and spies.




Manila as chief war target. Entrance of Admiral Dewey recalled. Rajah Soliman's bulwark fortified by Spaniards. Magellan's visit and tragedy in :i:-.K.actan. De Elcano escapes and circumnavigates the world. Opening of Suez Canal brings large influx of Spaniards. Manila becomes a metropolis. Amer-



ican occupation re-invigorates life of city. Spanish culture and religion remain. National seat of learni.n g and devotion. Rapid glance of Manila before the war. Eagerness of Manila youth to fight. Significance of Manila to national life and politics.




Filipinos left to make decision. Lack of understanding between leaders and mass sows confusions. Pre-war-preparations described. Quezon leaves capital unannounced. Bureaucrats get advance pay. Vargas made Mayor of Greater Manila. People puzzled with proclamation not to fight. Japanese drop leaflets inviting Filipinos to lay down their arms. Japanese might unchallenged. People decide to fight with America. Japanese invitation ignored. Decision lays down common ground.




Manila awaits peacefully entrance of enemy. Looting starts as enemy fails to arrive as announced. Race to reach Manila. Supposed leaders stay in background. Elites and bureaucrats described. Japanese courier announces enemy has reached Paraiiaque. Emissaries sent to meet enemy return tnvested with authority. Press abolished except proJapanese papers. Japanese General marches to military staff office instead of Malacafian. Vargas makes courtesy call and is asked to bring "leaders". People resent offer of cooperation: "Leaders" hold secret consultation. Decision to see Japanese General reached. Final decision of collaboration with military administration makes people sulk agatnst "leaders".


PUBLIC CONFUSION ........... .

People awaits Vargas explanation about organization of Executive Commission. Public concern of fate of fighting men in the field leaves his explanation flat. Executive Commission proceeds to expand authority over nation. Army'n lack of decorum aroused civiHan hostility. People unconvinced of Japan's motive in the war. Military abuses




brought to light. The banaba ordeal. Kempeitai strikes fear and horror. Fort Santiago reopened for barbaric tortures. Filipinos refused to lx~ won over. Executive Commission ~onverted into real Japanese instrument. Unconvinced public driven to underground resistance.


REGIMENTATION ............ .


Japanese Army starts to make itself supreme. Re路 stricts movement of civilian life. Fight for identification papers and passes for moving from one place to another. Strict reverence for Emperor. Military search at any hour of day or night. Forced labor. Economy organized to serve army purposes. Japanese pre-war companies entrusted to handle all economic activities. Cooperatives organized to simplify work of procuring supplies and controlling trade and production. :elack market thrives. Japan. ese not aversed to favoritism or money. Bribery and greed.


HUMILIATION............... .


Executive Commission makes humiliating appeal to President Roosevelt by order of the Japs. A ruse to make U.S. believe Filipinos already won by Japanese. A slap on the Filipino soldiers bravely fighting in Bataan. Philippine bureaucracy turns totalitarian. The same leaders under new masters. Co.Prosperity talk rammed into people's throat. Executive Commission ordered to uproot all traces of American democracy. Laurel's reasoning ineffective. Japs stage parade of might to impress the people. Vargas humiliates people for congratulating the Japs for the Fan of Bataan.



Quezon and MacArthur discuss problem of Philippine defense. Roosevelt assigns MacArthur to con路 duct defense mission in the Philippines. Defense program drawn up with assistance of Cols. Eisenhower and Ord. National Assembly approves plan of Citizen Army. MacArthur appointed Field Marshall of the Philippines. Citizen Army bullt路up in路



terrupted by attack on Pearl Harbor. ltlacArthur made commander of USAFFE. Overwhelming invasion force drives defenders from landing beaches; Fil-American soldiers ordered to concentrate in Bataan. History of Bataan and Corregidor. The "Death March". Vargas becomes exultant over result. Japanese loss in time and prestige.


SURVIVE OR PERISH .......... 130·149

Japanese military notes make havoc of Philippine economy. Japanese Army makes unlimited release of military notes to procure all its needs. Accept· ance of currency backed by military power. Banks closed to give notes time for circulation. Withdrawal from bank pre-war deposits restricted. Limit of salary expenditure set. Military explains economic policy. Import and export business placed under military administration. Buy-and.sell business sprip.€s up. Lack of production creates inflation. Inflation swallows up values and properties. Six billion worthless military notes disrupt Philippine life. Army and Navy purchases create new moneyed class. People driven to begging, to suicide, to stealing, etc., to live. The reign of greed. The sin of collaboration. A national scourge.


CO-PROSPERITY FAILS ........ 150-171

Filipino lukewarm for lack of mutual understanding. Japanese Imperial Forces explain meaning of New Order. Exaltation of military might empha. sized. Filipinos asked to subordinate .country to attainment of Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity · Sphere. Filipino war prisoners indoctrinated to Japanese war aims. Vargas undertakes role to win over prisoners to Japanese side. Released war prisoners shudder at seeing miserable situation of their families and people. Executive Commission exhorts provincial executive to help Japan. Recto, Paredes and Guinto lend a hand. Japanese General tells people absurd to think American can come back. Threats against subversion. Economic con· ditions worsen. Death and starvation kill all coprosperity talks.





Neighborhood associations organized to help keep peace and order. Motives underlying new plan. Distribution and control of supplies. Method of dis. cipline. Civilian patrols clash with military commandos. Ambuscades and reprisals. Greater Manila finishes neighborhood organizations. Disorders and desertions in the provinces. Military restrictions and arrests complicate situation. Severity of punishment resented. Murders of collaborationists in Ma· nila. First evidence of guerrilla movement de· tected. Laurel nred upon. Intensive torture inaugurated. Guerrillas established contact with townspeople. Zona system established. Manila becomes a vast prison. Cruelties of the Kempeitai.

CHAPTER XIII. ODYSSEY OF THE PUPPET REPUBLIC ....... ......................... 199·226 Brief history of early Filipinos and their manner of life. The coming of the Spaniards. Revolt against priests and Spain for freedom. History of American occupation. Growth of self·government. Organiza. tion of the Commonwealth pending final grant of independence. Japanese Army of Occupation toys with giving Filipinos independence if they cooperate tn its objective. An address to President Quezon. Leaders left behind trapped to coopel<ate with Japanese. Army leaves government to Executive Commission. Vargas, Laurel, Aquino, etc. lead in con· solidating country under Japanese leadership in proposed Greater East Asia Co· Prosperity Sphere. A new Philippine Constitution is drawn up. Puppet Republic established. Alliance with Japan. Composition of the Puppet Republic. Laurel endeavors to get country behind Puppet Republic. Vargas in Tokyo makes a vain explanation of Philippine situa· tion. Laurel driven to Baguio then to Japan.



The tragedy of the 8.8. Con-egidor. School girls stranded in colleges. The daily air· raids in Manila. A city in gloom. Japanese occupation forces arrive.


They quarter in churches, schools and private buildings. Significance of Manila. Japanese disrespect of city traditions and inhabitants creates animosities for the Japs. City barricaded and transformed into an armed camp. Soldiers quartered in private houses. Japanese propaganda tells inhabitants America cannot come back. Forced labor. Starvation. Air-raid shelters. Fort Santiago and Kempeitai. A ray of hope from American air-raid. American landing in Leyte - in Lingayen. Japs begin to raze city, rape women, herd civilians. Rescue in Santo Tomas University. Nightly orgies in churches and private homes. Japanese turn into fiends as the American close on them. A vow to massacre Filipinos. Stragglers and survivors issue forth from debris and ruins. A gruesome picture carved in man's memory. CHAPTER


CITY OF THE DEAD .......... 256-273

The unforgettable ordeal. A charnel house and a battlefield. An ignoble foe and a modern barbarian. Picture of desolation. More than eight square miles of built-up area completely razed to the ground. Ten thousand lives lost in the tragedy. Buildings of histori..c importance lay in ruins and ashes. His. toric city of Old Manila (Lntramuros) forever gone. Story of rape, murder and desecration left everywhere, including sacred places. Priests murdered at the altars and girls and women raped and butchered in sacred places. Manila a caricature of former self. MacArthur's remarks of Japs' misdeeds: ''By these ashes he has wantonly fixed the pattern of his doom!" Tragedy capped by Quezon's death which removes the only man who could have brought unity and order to a doomed people.

XVI. THE DEFEAT OF THE JAPANESE ............................... 274¡283


The return of General MacArthur. Fight for Osmefla issues call to all former Army men. up for Luzon invasion. Landing in Lir.gayen. unit dashes to Manila to rescue internees.


Leyte. Build Army Fight


in Santo Tomas University. Japanese fire 1ncendiarists dispersed. Yamashita Army's fate sealed. Japanese routed in Bessang Pass and lpo Dam. Manila is liberated. MacArthur prepares final as¡ sault on Japan. Atomic bombs dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan sues for peace. Terms of surrender. Japanese Empire takes final bow in Manila.

CHAPTER XVII. RETURN OF THE COMMONWEALTH ....................... 284-305 Commonwealth Government restored. Quezon's terrifying days recalled. Osmefta comes to an empty land. Country and people in abject misery. Government slowly reconstituted. Pre-war leaders rounded up and detained. Manila rent over collaboration issue. Congress called to convene. Congressional leaders in distress. Rift between Osmefia and Roxas. The Bell Trade and War Damage Acts. United States amelioration measures. Roosevelt decided to give earlier independence. Congress sets date of election. Roxas and Quirino form new party. Collaboration becomes election issue. Osmefia makes unfortunate sweeping statement. Fight on Bell Trade Act approval. Roxas and Quirino beat Osmefta and Rodriguez. Commonwealth Government ends. A word about the Republic.

P.EFERENCES ................ ............... 306-308 INDEX ....................................... 309-317



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Roderick Hall CoIl. 14214 A day to remember I Eliseo Quirino

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A Day to remember  
A Day to remember