World War II Army Adventure (112) – Dear Dad And The Rest Of You State-Siders (2) – A Tour Of Manila – September 12, 1945

This is the other half of the letter I posted yesterday – a  4-page letter from Dave to the “State-Siders” in Trumbull.


Now I shall take you for a tour to a few spots in Manila.  In order to tell you what I am going to tell you tonight, it took me a number of days, and a very heavy work-out for my leg muscles, but I enjoyed it.

World War II Army Adventure (109-2) - St Agustin Church, Manila

St. Augustin Church (This is how the name is printed in the back of the picture)


I’ll start with St. Agustine’s Church. I believe I mentioned it before, but this time I’ll tell you some more of it.  The church is probably the best preserved structure in all of Intramuras.  Almost every other building is without any sort of roof – just the walls.  Do you remember the newsreels of “Coventry”? Well, that would be just a warmer-upper compared to the way Intramuras looked.  But somehow, St. Augustine’s Church stood through it all.  But I’m not too surprised when I realized that the same building stood through


five earthquakes – all the other churches in Intramuras were destroyed by one of the five – and also made it through the English Invasion of Luzon in 1606.  I talked to a Spanish woman in front of the church one night and she said that they had lived inside the church for 6 days.  When the Americans came, the Japs lined up the women and children in the court in front of the church, and the Japs stood behind them.  This was supposed to have protected them from Jap bullets.  This Spanish woman that I talked to showed me where she was standing.  She said they didn’t dare move for fear the Japs would shoot them.  They stood for three hours – she was standing beside a dead body which she said smelled pretty bad.  When we tell the people here that we were on Okinawa, they seem to be very interested – because the fight was so rough up there.  But I didn’t see 1/8 of what these people did of war and suffering.  Almost all of the families have lost 3/5 in the family.  No one can imagine what war is like ’til they have seen it.  I can’t get a good picture of it myself, with the little I’ve seen.  These people have seen and felt it – but there carrying on wonderfully well – in spite of inflation and rubble.  I don’t think the Americans could have done so well if the States had been invaded.  One thing, for instance, is that the girls here haven’t lowered their moral standards – even after being under the Japs for three years when Rice was a delicacy.  Of course, there are a number of them that got on the wrong path – but the majority of them kept their heads.  I don’t think the average American woman could have done so well.

One day I went out to the east of the city and jotted down notes as I walked along.  Here they are: worked midnight to 8 AM, dressed into Suntans, went for walk east of city.  Outskirts of city untouched by war – almost.  Saw civies (civilians)  in old warehouses, etc., – they had been turned out of homes down-town,  when the Japs had set fire to the city.  Stopped to watch a monkey that belonged to a soldier play with a dog.  The monkey was getting the worst of it and finally quit.  Spanish, Chinese, American architecture stand side by side.  As one passes these buildings, various aromas hit his nostrils.  The Chinese have a very pungent, peculiar odor emitting from their homes.  Went over Santa Mesa Blvd. – eight-lane Road with Esplanade in middle – not paved too well.  Saw three young white girls that talked perfect English – could be American – too bashful to stop and ask (you can believe that or not – but it’s true.)  Passed rice paddies with Flips (Philipinnos) cultivating same with help of carabaoes – mud up to their knees – stopped on bridge to make a drawing of Chinese architecture. (The drawing is enclosed – the real reason I stopped was to rest. I was pretty tired of walking). Passed a number of homes from which piano music was drifting out. It made me homesick. Many homes are running distilleries out here in the outskirts. That isn’t written up very well, and I could go into detail, but this is heavy paper and I don’t want this letter to get too long. Anyway, you get the general idea.

Today, I went down the seawall south of the city.  There are some beautiful homes along the shore, some burned, but most still in fairly good condition.  Passsed the Manila Hotel.  Saw a schooner out in the bay.  Got a big kick out of the surf and salt air.


DPG - The Manila Club - American Red Cross

I think this war will bring about a more open-minded view of racial distinction.  I was up at the Red Cross (they have a very nice three-story building down-town) a few days ago, listening to a dance band.  A Negro was sitting beside me and I started to talk to him.  He was from Eastern Texas and we started talking about the Negro and white.  He said that down there, they don’t treat them too badly, he said it was in Alabama, and in Louisiana that it was bad.  He said he had as many white friends as he has Negro.  He told me he plays the guitar.  No sooner had he said that than the orchestra took an intermission and some of the soldiers who knew how to play took over some of the instruments.  He took the guitar.  Then they had a little jam-session.  The drummer, a PFC, took a short solo, then the sax player, a CPL., and then all the guys there started yelling for the Negro to take a solo.  It surprised me – maybe it shouldn’t have, but it did.  All throughout the Army, I’ve seen more tolerance of the Negro than I did even in the north at home.  I hope it carries over into peace-time.

I’m going to enclose some pictures which I bought at the Catholic Service Center.  The first is the Legislative Building (missing) which is across from the City Hall. We were bivouacked near it on the first night.  This is the way it looked before the war.  Number two (missing) shows how it looks now.  It’s enough to bring tears to your eyes.  As you can see from picture one, it would fit very nicely into Washington, D.C., but now it’s in terrible shape. 

World War II Army Adventure (112) Manila tipped building, Sept. 12, 1945

CU UN JIENG BLDG, ESCOLA ST. (printed on the back)

Number three shows a building down-town.  It just sits on top of all that rubble and looks like it would fall.  I bought the picture because the actual building is the only one in town that has been tipped in one big piece like that.  Number four is Saint Augustine’s Church (see above) which I have been talking so much about.  It is really a very beautiful church. 

Trumbull - Dave is in Okinawa - (4) Letran College, Manila - June, 1945

Letran College

Five is Letran College, also in Intramuras.  It has stood pretty well too.  So you can imagine what the others look like.  Six is City Hall. (see above)  Way over to the left, just out of the picture runs the road that the Water Works Building is.  I’d say this picture was taken just about opposite the Water Works Building – but across the square. 

Trumbull - Dave is in Okinawa (4) - Sto. Domingo Church - Manila - June 7, 1945

Santo Domingo Church

Seven is Santo Domingo church, in Intramuras.  The whites were put in a Pill-Box next to the church and then the Japs through grenades in.  Then they sealed up the Pill-Box and left the people crowded in there to die. They escaped the third day and made for the hills, that is, those that were left. 

World War II Army Adventure (112) - Manila From a plane - September 12, 1945

View of Manila from a plane

Eight is a shot of Manila from a plane.  That’s what it looked like to me, from the air.  Also enclosed is a newspaper put out by one of our operators on the Sheliak the day we started landings on Okie – Easter to you.

Guess that’s all this time.  See you ‘ere long.


Tomorrow I will begin posting a week of letters written in 1944. Lad and Marian have been married for almost a year and are still in Pomona, California, where Lad is training mechanics for the Army. Dan is in France. Ced is in Alaska, Dick in Brazil and Dave is still t Camp Crowder in Missouri. Grandpa is at the Trumbull house with Jean (Mortensen) Guion, (Mrs. Richard), and Grandpa’s Aunt Betty.

)Judy Guion