January 1, 1942

Most of Luzon is in Japanese hands. The USAFFE has retreated to Bataan. Where are the U.S. planes? Will the convoy arrive? My eldest boy is with the 51st division. He is a lieutenant. God protect him.

Manila’s gates are open. The Japanese are expected any moment. The oft-repeated, long-foretold “yellow menace” has come true. How will they treat us? I am not worried about myself, but of my wife and daughters. There are fires all over the city. Historic Santo Domingo church is a mass of ruins. The oil and gasoline dumps of Pandacan have been set ablaze. The piers are destroyed, wrecked, charred. The red sky above the city and the black coils of smoke rising to the clouds present a weird picture. At night, Manila looks like a burning cauldron.

Lolita cries over her son. In war, mothers suffer most. Can hear the San Juan cabaret band playing a fast boogie-beat.

Had a busy day in the office. Worked till late in the afternoon. Jorge B. Vargas said that President Manuel Quezon’s last order was for all government officials and employees to stick to their posts.

This is my saddest New Year. I think I’ll open a bottle.

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