Tag Juan Labrador

Life, death, decisions, during the Japanese Occupation

Filipino officials and Japanese General Homma Masaharu at the former residence of the U.S. High Commissioner, January, 1942


In October, 2013, the country will mark the 70th anniversary of the so-called Second Republic established under Japanese auspices.

In anticipation of that event, the project aims to complete the publication of the Iwahig Prison Diary of Antonio de las Alas, a prominent prewar political and business figure, and member of the Laurel government. His diary, written while he was detained by Allied forces awaiting trial for collaboration, gives a thorough account of the dilemmas and choices made by officials who served during the Japanese Occupation, including their motivations and justifications for remaining in the government.

The diary of de las Alas goes backward and forward in time: starting on April 29, 1945 he details the tedium and petty bickering of prison life, he also gives an insight into politics and society during the Liberation Era, while extensively recounting his experiences during the Japanese Occupation.

Salvador H. Laurel, son of occupation president Jose P. Laurel, was tasked by his father to keep a diary of their going into exile at the hands of the Japanese (see entries from March 21, 1945 to August 17, 1945).

His account bears comparison with the conversations recorded by Francis Burton Harrison, prewar adviser to President Quezon, who again served as an adviser during World War II, when the Philippine government went into exile in Washington D.C. His entries covering the government-in-exile begin on May 30, 1942, and come to an end on May 31, 1944.

In the Philippine Diary project, other diarists put forward different facets of life in the Philippines during the Japanese Occupation.

Charles Gordon Mock, an American originally imprisoned together with other Allied civilians in the University of Santo Tomas, details his experiences as a prisoner-of-war transferred to Los Baños on May 14, 1943.

The experiences of soldiers and guerrillas are captured in the diary entries of Ramon Alcaraz –his entries chronicle the transformation of a prisoner-of-war into a soldier serving in the Japanese-sponsored Philippine Constabulary: and how he used his Constabulary postings for guerrilla activities (the progression of this development can be gleaned from a sampling of entries: June 30, 1942; August 3, 1942; August 30, 1942; February 20, 1943).

The diary of Felipe Buencamino III ends with his first few weeks as a prisoner-of-war in the concentration camps established by the Japanese; but he resumes his diary on September 21 1944, at the tail end of the Japanese Occupation (see October 2, 1944 for an example of the growing anticipation of the end of the Occupation): in fact, his diary ends just at the moment of Liberation.

His father, Victor Buencamino, chronicles the frustrations, fears, and tedium of being a mid-level official still serving in the government, not so highly-placed as to be ignorant of public opinion, but also, trapped between public opinion and his own problems as someone in government. His diary serves as a counterpoint to the diaries of soldiers and officers in the field, and to the other diaries describing life during the Occupation.

Two other diaries remain to be uploaded extensively, namely the Sugamo Prison diary of Jorge B. Vargas, onetime Chairman of the Philippine Executive Commission, and Laurel’s wartime ambassador to Japan, and the diary of Fr. Juan Labrador, O.P, a Spanish Dominican who kept a diary during the Japanese Occupation. But perhaps these will have to wait for future anniversaries.

You can browse the entries of the diarists mentioned above by clicking these links to view their entries in reverse chronological order:

Antonio de las Alas

Ramon A. Alcaraz

Felipe Buencamino III

Victor Buencamino

Francis Burton Harrison

Juan Labrador O.P.

Salvador H. Laurel

Charles Mock





The Battle of Manila, Feb. 3-March 3, 1945

The Philippine Diary Project contains a first-hand account by Lydia C. Gutierrez, of the Battle for Manila. In fact her diary covers only ten days: from the start, to the end, of their ordeal.

In his diary, Fr. Juan Labrador OP, wrote of the liberation of the University of Santo Tomas in his entry for February 20, 1945; he talked to survivors and wrote down their stories, for example, see his entry for February 18, 1945, about the massacres in Singalong, De La Salle College, and the German Club; and see the accounts of survivors of the massacre in Intramuros in his diary entry for February 24, 1945; he also toured the city after the fighting and vividly described the ruins of Manila in his diary entry for March 17, 1945. On March 18, 1945 he visited Los Baños, and described the ordeal of prisoners there, and the destruction of Batangas.

From his diary entry, March 20, 1945:

Our new friends repeatedly asked us if we had not feared that such human slaughter would occur; if we did not have any inkling that the Japanese would make such a bloody exit.

Frankly, neither did we foresee or at least suspect such. Had we known it, we would not have submitted to it like lambs. Never did we imagine that a human being, even if he were Japanese, could go down to such a low level of brutality.

For more information, visit The Battle of Manila, in the Presidential Museum and Library site, with an embedded rare color film of the ruins of Manila in 1945. Visit Battle of Manila Online, too.

Posts added February 3-9, 2013

Victor Buencamino:

February 3, 1942

February 4, 1942

February 5, 1942

February 6, 1942

February 7, 1942

February 8, 1942

February 9, 1942


Lydia C. Gutierrez:

February 3, 1945

February 4, 1945

February 8, 1945

February 9, 1945


Francis Burton Harrison:

February 3, 1936

February 4, 1936

February 5, 1936

February 6, 1936

February 7, 1936

February 8, 1936

February 9, 1936

February 29, 1936: entry completed


Juan Labrador:

January 16, 1945

January 17, 1945

January 18, 1945

February 4, 1945


Ferdinand E. Marcos

February 3, 1970

February 4, 1970

February 5, 1970

February 6, 1970

February 7, 1970

February 8, 1970

February 9, 1970


Basilio J. Valdes:

February 6, 1945

February 7, 1945

February 8, 1945

Posts added January 27-February 2, 2013

Victor Buencamino:

January 28, 1942

January 29, 1942

January 30, 1942

January 31, 1942

February 1, 1942

February 2, 1942


Francis Burton Harrison:

January 28, 1936

January 29, 1936

January 30-31 & February 1-2, 1936


Juan Labrador:

January 21-29, 1942

January 31, 1945


Ferdinand E. Marcos:

January 28, 1970

January 29, 1970

January 30, 1970

January 31, 1970

February 1, 1970

February 2, 1970


Basilio J. Valdes:

February 5, 1945


To mark the anniversary of the Battle of Manila, starting tomorrow, we will be publishing the Liberation Diary of Lydia C. Gutierrez, which was originally published in the Sunday Times Magazine in 1967.

Entries added, January 21-27, 2013

Victor Buencamino:

January 21, 1942

January 23, 1942

January 24, 1942

January 25, 1942

January 26, 1942

January 27, 1942


Francis Burton Harrison:

January 21, 1936

January 22, 1936

January 25, 1936

January 27, 1936


Juan Labrador:

January 24, 1945

January 25, 1945

January 27, 1945


Ferdinand E. Marcos:

January 21, 1970

January 22, 1970

January 23, 1970

January 24, 1970

January 25, 1970

January 26, 1970

January 27, 1970


Other updates:

We will be adding two new diaries to the Philippine Diary Project:

The Clinical Record of President Manuel L. Quezon, the journal kept by his doctors and nurses from April 18-August 1, 1944.

The Liberation Diary of Lydia C. Gutierrez, covering one week of events during the Battle of Manila in February, 1945.

Earlier, we started adding entries from the Diary of Victor Buencamino (the first Filipino veterinarian), who was the father of another diarist featured in the project, Felipe Buencamino III. While Felipe Buencamino III was in Bataan, his father was serving as manager of NARIC, precursor of today’s National Food Authority.


Entries added, January 14-20, 2013

Victor Buencamino:

January 1, 1942

January 2, 1942: entry completed

January 3, 1942

January 4, 1942

January 5, 1942

January 6, 1942

January 7, 1942

January 9, 1942

January 10, 1942

January 11, 1942

January 12, 1942

January 13, 1942

January 14, 1942

January 15, 1942

January 16, 1942

January 17, 1942

January 18, 1942

January 19, 1942

January 20, 1942


Francis Burton Harrison:

January 15, 1936

January 18 & 19, 1936

January 20, 1936


Juan Labrador, OP:

January 18, 1942

January 19, 1942

January 20, 1942


Ferdinand E. Marcos:

January 14, 1970

January 15, 1970

January 16, 1970

January 17, 1970

January 18, 1970

January 19, 1970

January 20, 1970


Basilio J. Valdes:

January 19, 1942: corrected some names

December 24-25, 1941 in diaries

From Malacanan

December 24, 1941: Philippine Army Chief of Staff and Secretary of National Defense, Secretary of Public Works and Communications and Secretary of Labor Basilio J. Valdes, and Executive Secretary Jorge B. Vargas, watch as President Manuel L. Quezon administers the oath of office to Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos, who also became Acting Secretary of Justice & Acting Secretary of Finance; witnessed by Jose P. Laurel and Benigno S. Aquino, in the Social Hall of Malacañan Palace. A few hours later the government evacuated to Corregidor, where the seat of government was transferred. Behind Quezon can be seen the Rest House (now Bahay Pangarap) across the river in Malacañang Park.

The Philippine Diary Project has several entries for this and the next day, covering different facets of life:

Basilio J. Valdes: December 24, 1941 begins his day at 8 am with a Cabinet meeting; on December 25, 1941, he recounts midnight Mass in Corregidor.

Ramon A. Alcaraz: does escort duties as a Q-Boat captain, on December 24, 1941.

Fr. Juan Labrador, OP, a Spanish Dominican, tries to piece together the information he has in UST for December 24, 1941. He is better informed than most.

Teodoro M. Locsin: as a civilian, December 24, 1941 was, for him, about the effects of air-raids in Manila. With nothing to do on December 25, 1941, Locsin observes life around him, and the isolation war brings.

Felipe Buencamino III: writing as a young lieutenant in Tagaytay, rounds off December 24, 1941 among the diarists.

August 19, 1944

Requiem masses are being celebrated in different churches in Manila in memory of the late President Quezon whose birthday we commemorate today. The masses are well-attended, in spite of the fact that invitations had been secretly made, for fear of the Japanese mascots who might consider the ceremonies hostile. In the past, only the President and his family attended the mass at Letran, after which he would join us at breakfast. Today neither the President nor the chapel was around. The new Letran building would probably not exist for long, as the new occupants are converting the building into an anti-aircraft fortress and if the zealous Americans learn about it, they will certainly destroy it, and kill women and children as they did in Tokyo.

August 3, 1944

Yesterday morning, the news of the death of President Quezon spread in Manila. The news was confirmed by the Press in the afternoon and unfortunately it was true. It was a great loss for the country. With the change of the present regime, a man of Quezon’s energy, prestige and ability was needed to reorganize, reconstruct and pacify these devastated and discouraged islands. The first President of the Commonwealth had directed the destiny of his country, for the last twenty years, fought for and defended the Philippines and died just when the triumph of his cause was to be realized. The void he left during these critical moments was difficult to fill. May God take him into His eternal repose.