Marcial Lichauco, a 39-year-old “civilian”, recorded the atmosphere and happenings in his surroundings in Manila during World War II. His “posts” covered the period of the start of the war in December 1941 to the liberation of Manila (with his last posts being in February 1945). He wrote it as a series of letters (in a blog-like diary format) to his “Mother” Putnam, who took care of him while he was studying in the US. (Lichauco was the first Filipino graduate from Harvard.)
For me, reading this book was quite an experience.
While reading Dear Mother Putnam…
I could feel the fear of the Filipinos of being taken into Fort Santiago for the dreaded questioning and torture — not knowing if one would come out of it alive.
I could feel the dilemma of the Filipinos who were forced to cooperate with the Japanese authorities while always watching their backs for guerillas planning to assassinate them.
I could almost feel what it was like to live during the three years of hell the Filipinos experienced under the Japanese regime until the the barbaric scorching of the city, when the Japanese retreated from Manila in 1945.
But beyond those horrors, I could also feel the honor and pride of every Filipino soldier who fought side-by-side with the Americans in Bataan and Corregidor to defend our country.
This made me realize how blessed I am for living in a peaceful world and never experiencing the hardships of World War II.
It’s hard to put this book down once you start reading it, especially since it’s like reading a fiction novel but with the grim realization that the events that happened in it were real.
Thanks to Sunshine De Leon for sharing this piece of Philippine History from her grandfather Marcial Lichauco. I felt that it was a bit bitin though… It fueled my love for learning more about our history. Maybe you can convince your grandmother Jessie to start a blog to share with us the stories of post-World War II in Manila. (I can create the blog for her and she just needs to write. 🙂 )
Live an Awesome Life,
Text and Photos by Anton Diaz. Copyright 2009.
mobile: +63917-LOVEOAP (5683627)
P.S. Sunshine is helping her grandma sell the book for P500. You can contact her directly. I can ship a copy to you for an additional P100 (for logistics and shipping fee). Email Rache at email@example.com.