SMILE through your fear and sorrow, smile and maybe tomorrow, you’ll see the sun come shining through for you.”
From the Diary of Felipe Buencamino III, October 1, 1944: “These days, everything is haywire. Telephones don’t work. Newspapers arrive three to four days later. No gas-men nor refrigerator mechanics nor electrician when you need them. Life is getting harder day by day. Dad’s car has no battery and he can’t get a new one. There’s hardly any more alcohol for the car. And the whiskey I drank yesterday must have been some sort of a poison for my head still aches. If the Philippines is not liberated before the year ends, we will all be at the end of the rope and then God knows what kind of a life we will eke out!” [https://philippinediaryproject.com/1944/10/01/october-1-1944/]
“Smile, Tho’ your heart is aching, Smile, Even tho’ it’s breaking”
From the Diary of Louise Fillmore Blancaflor, October 3, 1944: “Food is getting scarce. One can of Quaker Oats (1 lb) costs 700 Pesos. KLIM (powdered milk), a 21⁄2 lb can, costs 2,000 Pesos. Pork remains at 100 Pesos a kilo, but carabao or horse meat costs 60 Pesos a kilo. I would like to mention that our money is not the same as the bills we used before the war.”
From the Diary of Juan Labrador, O.P., October 3, 1944: “The rate of confiscation of private houses is reaching dangerous and frightful proportions. In some cases, the ejected residents are transferred to houses near military installations; in other cases, they do not allow the occupants to leave their dwellings, and the soldiers live together with them in a separate portion of the house. This forced company is more terrifying than ejection.
Obviously, the Japanese are resorting to the tactic of intermingling with the civilian population for strategic purposes. This incurs greater displeasure among the people.”
“When there are clouds in the sky, You’ll get by”
From the Diary of Louise Fillmore Blancaflor, October 2, 1944: “Today is very stormy and it is raining very hard. The fox holes and shelters are filled with water. We have not heard the drone of planes, not even of Japanese planes, for visibility is very poor.”
Did they “Smile” like Charlie Chaplin? It was still World War II, and the Allies executed Operation Undergo, while the Battles of Tornio, Aachen, and Morotai raged (Germans versus Finns, Germans v. Americans, Allies v. Japanese, respectively) in Europe and the Pacific. By month’s end, the Americans would stage a massive landing in the Philippines, with MacArthur’s machines continuing to encounter enemy assets like the Mitsubishi A6M carrier-based fighter plane.
The A6M5 version of the Zeke, “with Sakae 21 engine and improved exhaust system, possessed a top speed of 565 km/hour…It was five A6M5s of the Shikishima kamikaze unit that sank the carrier St. Lo and damaged three others on 25 October 1944.” [Chris Bishop (editor). The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II. London: Amber Books, 2018, p. 423]
The October 1944 Battle of Leyte Gulf was “the first move in the reconquest of the Philippine islands themselves.” The US battle-fleet had “expanded further to nine large and eight light carriers, with nearly 1,200 aircraft.” [Chris Bishop and Chris McNab (editors). History of World War II: The Campaigns, Battles and Weapons from 1939 to 1945. London: Amber Books, 2019, p. 388]
The October 1944 Battle of Leyte Gulf was a topic of the Fifth Conference on WWII in the Philippines held last September 28, 2019 at the University of San Francisco McLaren Conference Center, featuring authors Walter Borneman (MacArthur at War) and James Hornfischer (Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors), among others. Other matters of interest:
(1) For Filipinos sojourning to Russia, the Valdai Discussion Club’s report on “The Khalkhin Gol Anniversary and the Historical Memory Policy in Relations Between Russia, Mongolia, and Japan” should be instructive: “Khalkhin Gol is also important for the evolution of military strategy and tactics, primarily, from the point of view of organizing and conducting massive air battles with dozens of aircraft and in terms of encircling large enemy formations, capturing and holding bridgeheads located behind water obstacles, etc. From the military and political perspective, organizing interaction between the Soviet and Mongolian troops during combat, which became one of the first major examples of such cooperation between the Soviet Union and its allies, is also important.”
(2) At Cosplay Mania 2019 (the annual convention organized by Cosplay.ph gathering cosplayers, fans, hobbyists and enthusiasts), a UP Manila Master of Management major (Ruel Pine) was “overwhelmed by the amount of patronage by customers and curious bystanders,” suggesting that the “ocean of people” surging inside the SMX Convention Center displayed the Philippines as one of the top destinations for Costume-play in Southeast Asia.
Did you spot Joker at Cosplay Mania 2019?