In the plaza two thousand of us were being shoved around by soldiers. The men to the left and women and children to the right. The Jap shoved me to the left, my dad knowing something was going to happen pushed me into the side with the women and children. Hey! I'm the kind of guy who would have put on a dress and scarf on the Titanic. My dad later said the men were walked to the Manila Hotel, and later taken out in groups of 30 and killed -- the human stack was baled with wire, gasoline thrown in followed by a grenade. Subsequently I have read that this technique was used in China. Not as efficient as the Nazis, but not so impersonal.

Now we women and children were driven down the walkway of the Bay View Hotel each side of which was lined with soldiers -- fixed bayonets, pointing to us, our frightened herd double timing to shouted orders.

In the Bay View Hotel, which had been used as a garrison and was empty of all furniture we were shoved into rooms. Sat on the floor all night, the American artillery continuously pounding against the outside walls. The building shook, noise deafening, flashes of light all night. The building stood thanks to pre-war American earthquake construction.

No food no water. Drank toilet water, rationing out a few gulps a day. Then the tanks ran dry. (come to think of it no one used the toilets, maybe we were scared shitless}. My mother, who pretended to be crazy complained to an officer so much, that he grabbed my 10 year old sister and me. Handed buckets and accompanied by a soldier, ran to the Manila Hotel swimming pool. Filled the buckets. The shelling was deadly. When it got too close the three of us would duck into a Japanese bunker. I remember soldiers sitting there, they would look up startled at the two children and then when the soldier entered it seemed to me they were bemused. I don't think his presence saved them from us, but I know it saved us from them. By then the lulls in the American shelling were predictable. I don't know why but we could count on an absolute cessation of fire after a heavy barrage. With each lull we darted towards the Bay View.

Not all rooms were unfurnished, the Japanese officer in charge had a nicely furnished room, great furniture, food, drink and his mistress, Nadja. Nadja was a White Russian woman who lived near us. We passed by their pad on one occasion, she saw us and being a friend invited my mother and her three children to stay with them. My mother declined this kind invitation. Again the Gods were with us, because this act saved our lives. My dad told us that when the Americans got close the survivors of the Manila Hotel massacres ran towards the lines. Nadja lay shot on the ground. Alive and begging for help. The men ran around her, no one stopped. Probably wasn't anything they could have done even if they had been so inclined. Her beau had shot her as he took off for his last Banzai.

All along I knew that these murderous bastards were going to fight and die to the last man. They were determined that none of us would live to enjoy it. My personal opinion is that the Filipinos had been a great disappointment to them. Sure there were the usual traitors and collaborators seen in any war, but the puppet government never raised an army to join the "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere" to fight against the Americans.

Overall guerrillas and graffiti fought against them during the occupation. The former were constrained, because anytime a Japanese was killed, innocent civilians were executed in retaliation. This made it most difficult to support guerrilla activity. The puppets ran civil affairs only and were later pardoned by my dad's uncle, Elpedio Quirino, when he became president of the Republic. A remarkably good deed for a man whose family, including a two year old who was thrown in the air and impaled on a bayonet by a skillful Jap, were directly attacked because he would not collaborate during the occupation. It was preferable during the occupation to have a civil government than direct Japanese martial rule. In other words there were no Quislings or Lavals.

A twist of fate. Our family was going to hole up at uncle's house, where we had hoarded salt pork and water, but didn't make it there. My mother told me that uncle called and said the streets were too dangerous for us to hazard the trip. I know that the reason we did not go was because one of our servants had come over, we gave him food for his family. He opened the front door, took a few steps and was shot dead. We tried to re-open the door to pull him in. Our attempt brought a hail of bullets. I tried to peek out a second story window to see if he was alive. A few bullets through the window had me on my belly.