H. Beaber - In the Philippines - Monday, March 2, 1941-1942

Left early in the morning to meet a man at the Meralso Offices by 8 o’clock. As we are still using Daylight Saving Time (request of the Japs), that means that I left the house at 6:30. Waited nearly an hour for my man. People in this country are seldom on time.

I transferred the meter that was in the house where Cecil and I had lived on Rubi St. from my name to his. In that way, my 5 peso deposit was returned to me. I might add that it was the 5 pesos that I was after, not the transfer. Five pesos is a fortune under these circumstances!

The Japanese sentry across the street from where I waited for my man watched me rather suspiciously, as I guess he could tell I was an American. I went on down town after finishing at eh Meralco and in getting on a street car, I went by the sentry on purpose and bowed to him very respectfully as everyone is obliged to do when passing a sentry or guard. He returned my bow.

I went to Plaza Lawton and then walked across Intramuros on Anda St. I was able to see all the rubbish left after the fire and bombing at the beginning of the war. In some places the rubble was 6 feet deep in the ruined buildings, with nothing but the stone walls standing. Women and children were scratching around in the ashes and stones picking out the little pieces of burnt wood like charcoal, to cook their rice. Fuel is at a premium now.

Sitting on a narrow sidewalk with his feet sticking out so that I nearly fell over them was an old, old man holding out his hat for pennies. Someone had given him a mouthful of something to eat, he was working it around in his toothless jaws, and at the same time giving out a loud moan every time he expelled his breath. I do not know whether he really was in pain or had got into that habit of attracting attention. He was dressed in what looked like pajamas but had not seen soap and water for many a day. I continued to my destination, delivered my reports, asked a few questions, got extra blanks and walked back to the Plaza Lawton and on to the City Hall. There I made some inquiries regarding finances of foreigners, from the mayor’s office, then walked a half dozen or so blocks back towards home so that my fare would be 3 centavos instead of 5.

Dinner was ready soon after I got home, and needless to say I was hot, hungry, and tired. The street cars have to handle all the traffic now as there are no buses. We have to walk about a mile to the end of the line at Vito Cruz.

     

I made two little cakes again this afternoon. This morning when I saw the women picking up little pieces of burnt wood, I thought of the widow in the Old Testament who was picking up little sticks to cook her last handful of meal. And when I was baking the little cakes this P.M., I thought of her again.

     

Mrs. Lerit stepped in on her way home from Paco. She had had a long walk, too. Had bought some articles to take up to the province to sell. I gave her one of the little cakes to take home.


This evening, Leo is tinkering with an old clock he found under the house; Cecil is out getting a bit of fresh air; Willie is reading Shakespeare and Mr. and Mrs Hernandez are getting ready for bed, then usually retire early as they do not read as much as we do.