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De La Salle University Manila History - February 12, 1945


From: Alan Cabalquinto
Date: Feb 28, 2008 12:57 AM
Subject: February 1945 / 63 Years Ago


I'm forwarding to you excerpts from the book "By Sword and Fire : The Destruction of Manila in World War II, 3 February - 3 March 1945by Alfonso J. Aluit. The description of the February 12, 1945 massacre is ver graphic and detailed. Only a hard hearted man or a sadist would not be touched by this fateful event. I hope this will contribute to your Rektikano blog.

Also on that day: The 5th Cavalry Regiment overrun Nielson Field in Makati, joined hands with the 511th Parachute Regiment on Libertad Street and pushed on to Dewey Boulevard. At 2:30 o'clock in the afternoon the 12th Cavalry joined the 5th at the bayfront. Nichols Field defenses colapsed. Elements of the 5th Cavalry began assault on Fort McKinley. The 148th Infantry Regiment reached Pennsylvania St. in Ermita.

The battle for Manila continued up to 2 March 1945 when the American forces attacked the Finance building. Final resistance ended at dawn of 3 March. 75 Japanese were killed in the building, none surrendered.



The De La Salle Christian Brothers arrived in Manila in 1911 when the Catholic authorities stood in fear that Philippine education was falling into Protestant hands. The Spanish clergy had withdrawn from the islands. Education had become a secular matter. Of 35 or 36 American school superintendents, only one was Catholic. Nearly all the American teachers who came over on the U.S.S. Thomas were Protestant. The country had been apportioned among the Protestant sects for purposes of evangelization. The Episcopalians had established an educational center in Baguio and the Presbyterians another in Dumaguete. There was need to re-establish Catholic education and locate a focal point.

The De La Salle Christian Brothers came to the Philippines through the persistence of the then American Archbishop of Manila Monsignor Jeremiah J. Harty, the first American archbishop of Manila, who was a graduate of the Christian Brothers' college in St. Louis, Missouri.

Archbishop Harty had made repeated requests to the Christian Brothers to establish schools in the Philippines. A team of Christian Brothers had been in Manila in 1907 to conduct a survey land consult with the authorities, but nothing developed from that venture.

There were policy conditions that needed to be satisfied, failing which the Christian Brothers withheld positive action. The financing problem was foremost. The Archdiocese of Manila could not underwrite the costs of a free school, and the Christian Brothers would not operate schools for the rich. The original vocation of Saint John Baptist de la Salle who founded the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (Fratres Chistianarum Scholarum) (FSC) in 1680 was the education of the children of the poor and the working classes.

During a visit to Rome in 1911, Archbishop Harty brought the matter of having the Christian Brothers in Manila directly to Pope St. Pius X, their Superior General at Lembecq, Belgium. On 19 March 1911, a three-man team led by French Brother Blimond Pierre FSC arrived in Manila.

The three were joined shortly by Bro. Adolphe Alfred FSC from Barcelona, Spain who was experienced in handling matters such as were required by the projected school. It was Bro. Alfred who negotiated the purchase of the lot at 417 Nozaleda street in Paco from Don Luis Perez Samanillo, for the school campus. The building on the lot had earlier been used by the American School. At a latter time, this address would become 1166 General Luna street. The Christian Brothers took possession of the property 27 April 1911.


With the arrival of six other De La Salle Christian Brothers on 13 May 1911, the school was now adequately satisfied.

On 16 June 1911, the new school, named De La Salle College, after the founder of the Order, opened with an enrollment of 125 boys. French Brother Blimond Pierre FSC became the first director.

Since the Archdiocese of Manila could not fund a free school, De La Salle College became a tuition school. It took in "upperclass children," whose rich parents could underwrite the costs, on the presumption that such children also needed "good moral and spiritual training." There were but few Filipino children in the early De La Salle College classes. Most students were Americans, Spaniards and Germans.

Illness caused Bro. Blimond Pierre FSC to return to France in May 1912. He was succeeded by Bro. Goslin Camillus FSC. That year, four other Christian Brothers arrived to augment the teaching staff, among whom was Bro. Egbert Xavier FSC, an Irish national.

The Manila mission of the De La Salle Christian Brothers prospered eminently and by 1915, it was evident that the General Luna property in Paco was inadequate. Bro. Aciselus Michael FSC who had become director, negotiated the purchase of 30,300 sq.m. of land on Taft Avenue in the Singalong district in Manila. This area was the southern parameter of the city at this time. Vito Cruz street was only a proposal in city plans. The Rizal Memorial Stadium was not in anyone's mind and the site on which it would rise in another score of years was called Malate Park.

The De La Salle Christian Brothers contemplated a modern educational plant of the site. The plans were drawn by Architect Tomas Mapua, a graduate of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. It would cost P200,000. On 11November 1917, De La Salle College was authorized to confer academic degrees. It introduced a four-year high school course and withdrew the 3-year commercial high school curriculum. Three new Brothers arrived in 1919, among whom was Irish Brother Flavius Leo FSC.

In 1920, the Paco property was sold to the businessman Vicente Madrigal. That year, American Bro. Albinus Peter FSC succeeded Bro. Michael FSC as Director. Construction on the Taft Avenue. Campus began on April 1921. Japanese workers were engaged for the construction work and Chinese craftsmen were called to make doors and window sashes.

On 24 September 1921, although only the first floor and half of the second floor were finished, the Christian Brothers took possession of their new campus and the student body moved over. Construction work did not resume until the following year when Bro. Michael returned for a second term as director. It was Bro. Michael who acquired the adjoining 30,300sq.m. lot to double the size of the De La Salle campus.

In 1937, Irish Brother Egbert Xavier FSC became president-director of the De La Salle college. Bro. Xavier would make his mark on this institution by completing the north and south wings of the building on Taft Avenue.

Bro. Egbert Xavier FSC was born William Kelly in Wicklow county, Ireland, in 1894. He first came to Manila at the age of 18, when De La Salle college had just started operations at the old Paco campus. He returned to the Order's Mother House in Belgium for his second Novitiate in 1929, completing which he was posted to missionary work in Burma and Hong Kong. He returned to Manila from Hong Kong in 1935, and in 1937 succeeded to the premiere post of De La Salle College.

Brother Egbert Xavier FSC was destined to play a key role in the future events at De La Salle. For the present he won compliments for the new chapel on the second floor of the south wing which was completed in August 1938. Dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament, it was blessed by the Archbishop of Manila 8 December that year. It had a beautiful marble altar, the gift of former Director American Brother Albinus Peter FSC, in memory of his parents.

In August 1939, the South Wing was finally completed. What emerged on the 6.6 hectare lot was a three-storey, H-shaped building in the neoclassical style which became a very impressive landmark in this section of the city.

Following the outbreak of the war in Europe in 1939, the British expelled German nationals from their territories. On 8 July 1940, two German De La Salle Brothers arrived in Manila from Hong Kong. Ten more came, 10 October 1940, from Singapore and Malaya.

De La Salle College was a flourishing institution when World War II broke out in the Philippines, 8 December 1941. It had a student body of 1,200 in all three levels, and a complement of 27 American and European De La Salle Christian Brothers in residence.

Classes were suspended when the Japanese started bombong objectives in Manila in December 1941. For a while, military personnel were quartered in the premises. Later, De La Salle College was used as an emergency hospital.

When the Japanese occupied the city of Manila in January 1942, they established their Southern Manila Defense Headquarters at the De La Salle College building. Only the South Wing was left to the Christian Brothers whose numbers were reduced following the interment of Allied nationals including the American De La Salle Christian Brothers. Some of the American De La Salle Brothers went to Baguio. Others were interred at Los Banos.

* "By Sword and Fire: The Destruction of Manila in World War II, 3 February – 3 March 1945 / Alfonso J. Aluit. Makati, Metro Manila : Bookmark, c1995. Pages69 -72.


Today, two Japanese soldiers appeared before the De la Salle college Brothers and asked for the names and nationalities of the community members and the refugees.

Brother Anthony FSC heard the Japanese inquire from the Director, Brother Egbert Xavier FSC, how many persons were in the premises, and the latter replied, "One hundred and one."

One of the Brothers, Brother Maximin FSC, had studied Nippongo and could deal with the Japanese with their own language. Now Brother Maximin typed the census of residents in the south wing of the De La Salle building, which totalled only 68 persons.


At the south wing of the De La Salle College on Taft Avenue, the Christian Brothers and the refugee families passed the hours in deep anxiety. The family of Judge Jose Carlos was distraught. The Judge and the De La Salle Director, Brother Egbert Xavier FSC, had been hauled away by the Japanese on 7th February, and had not returned. They were believed to have brought over to the Nippon club which adjoined the De La Salle property to the south on Taft Avenue. There was no way of ascertaining the two men's fate. The area was under heavy bombardment from the north side.

* pages 227 – 228.



The daily Mass at the De La Salle College on Taft Avenue was not celebrated this morning. The shelling was so intense that the De La Salle Chaplain, Rev. Father Francis J. Cosgrave, CSsR, would not risk gathering so many people in one spot.

Shortly before noon the residents gathered at the foyer for lunch. In the circumstances, no amenities for a decent meal were at hand. The food was laid out in pots and pans on the floor and each person reached out as one could for what was available.

Done with lunch, the group started to disperse. Most of them sought favored corners in the foyer, stood around in small groups, withdrew to the cellar, or went up to the second floor to stretch their legs and take in the clearer air.

Now a band of Japanese led by an officer appeared at the gate where Brother Maximin FSC confronted them. It seems that they suspected the corridors and looked into the rooms. Finding nothing that interested them, they left.

Shortly the same Japanese officer went back with two men. Now they grabbed the Carlos family manservant Mateo and two of the college staff, Anslemo Sudlan and Panfilo Almodan, and hustled them away, ignoring Brother Maximin's loud protests.

One of the soldiers stayed. He had a tin of sardines, probably his lunch ration, but had nothing with which to open it. Brother Mutwald opened the can for him and fetched him some rice to go with the sardines. The Japanese soldier was just starting to eat when the gate abruptly swung open again and the three men who had been taken away hurthed through, two of them seriously wounded. Seeing the soldier eating, the officer dashed to him and gave him a resounding slap across the face. Both marched out of the hall. The community gathered around the wounded men, deeply agitated. Panfilo's intestines were spilling out.

Now a large band of about 20 Japanese stormed through the gate. The officer yelled a harsh command and a rifle shot reverberated across the hall.

At this moment, Irish Brother Leo Flavius FSC, the senior De La Salle Brother in residence, and the chaplain, Father Cosgrave, were sitting quietly on a bench outside the wine cellar door.

Mrs. Victoria Cojuangco, coddling her adopted son Ricardo, and her daughter Lourdes, 15, had entered the wine cellar. With them were Mrs. Felicidad Uychuico, her daughters Soledad, 6, and Paz, 3, and two Carlos sisters, Gloria 17, and Dionisia, 16.

Dr. Antonio Cojuangco had gone to the second floor to his son, Antonio, Jr., 17, who was recuperating from typhoid in a small room to the right of the entrance to the chapel. With him were Mr. and Mrs. Sevillano Aquino and the male nurse, Filomeno Inolin.

The Carlos sisters, Rosario, 21, and Asela, 20, hang around the chapel door. Along the corridors were Fortunata Salonga, 14, the young Aquino servant-maid, and Regina, the Uychuico househelp. Inside the chapel, 6-year-old Antonio Carlos had pre-empted the confessional box and now longed in it quite unconcernedly.

Along the corridors, too, at this time, were Brothers Mutwald, Anthony and Victor, taking a respite.

On the staircase, Mrs. Juanita Carlos, with her youngest, Jose, Jr., 3, was coming up.

Don Enrique Vazquez-Prada was in a stall in the toilet on the second floor. The young cook of the De La Salle Brothers, Teofilo Candari, 23, was in his small room on the same floor.

Brother Leo Flavius FSC, 69, formerly Dean of Studies at De La Salle College, was knowlegable in Oriental languages and understood Japanese. When he heard the Japanese officer's command, Brother Leo slipped to his knees from the bench by the cellar door where he had been sitting with Father Cosgrave and cried, "On your knees, everyone! Father Cosgrave, please grant us absolution!"

The shooting and bayoneting began!

Ramon Cojuangco, 20, stood with his recent bride, the former Natividad de las Alas, also 20, near the cellar door. Now he dashed into the cellar to warn his mother and the others inside. His wife screamed and dashed after him but was overtaken by a Japanese who lunged with his bayonet. She fell, mortally wounded.

When Ramon Cojuangco popped into the cellar to shout a warning, many of those inside rushed out panic-stricken, among them his mother, Mrs. Victoria Cojuangco who was toting her adopted son, Ricardo, 3; Mrs. Felicidad Uychuico and Dionisia Carlos. They met with bayonets outside the cellar door. Mortally stricken, Mrs. Cojuangco crawled back into the cellar and would perish in minutes. She had lost hold of her son, Ricardo, who was critically wounded and now lay bloodied by the door. Mrs. Uychuico and Dionisia Carlos were wounded by slightly and stumbled back into the cellar. The others had stayed put inside and were unscathed.

The Uychuico maidservant Clarita Roldan, 17, was sitting on the bottom steps of the staircase when she heard the first shot. She dove under a mattress which lay at her feet on the floor and staye there.

The Japanese split into two groups. One pursued those who ran up the staircase while the others busied itself into the foyer.

Brother Leo was on his knees before Father Cosgrave, seeking absolution. Father Cosgrave raised his right arm to make the sign of the cross over the kneeling Brother and at this precise moment, the Japanese struck with his bayonet. It passed uner Father Cosgrave's arm into Brother Leo's chest. The Brother slumped against the priest's legs and the latter could not move. Now the Japanese turned his bayonet on Father Cosgrave. The priest was hit in the right side of the chest and found himself sprawling on the floor.

In the initial onslaught, the three older Vasquez-Prada boys, tall husky young men, were among the first to fall. The 5-year-old Fernando Vasquez-Prada was thrown to the floor and a Japanese went after him. Three time the Japanese swung at the boy with his bayonet, each time but nicking him slightly as he squirmed fearfully on the floor. At this point his mother-Helen Vasquez-Prada sprang up and scooped the boy off the floor. Like an enraged tigress she fought back. She kicked, she bit, she swung her free fist, the boy Fernando under her arm.

When the Japanese officer with the saber lunged at the boy the mother offered her body. She was slashed across the shoulders, a big piece of flesh was hacked out of one thigh. She parried the blows with her hands and the fingers on both were neatly sliced away. Stabbed in the abdomen, Helen Vasquez-Prada fell to the floor, but the boy Fernando, 5, was not hurt further. One-by-one and in bunches the De La Salle Christian Brothers fell, big husky men in the prime of life. The Japanese-speaking Brother Maximin shouted "I am German," in a bid to calm down the attackers, to no avail. He turned and dashed to the stairs. Some Brothers reached the cellar but rushed out again. Now they grappled with their adversaries, struggling for possession of arms. All were overcome. Some died instantly, others fell with severe injuries and would die slowly, painfully. Brothers Lucian, Gebhard, Paul and Hubert managed to scramble up the stairs.

Mrs. Juanita Carlos, with her youngest, Jose, Jr., 3, was going up the stairs when shooting started. She scooped up the boy but was overtaken by a Japanese marine at the second landing. She fell from a rifle shot but she sheltered her son with her body. Brother Baptist De La Salle FSC was dashing up behind the two and grabbed the boy when the mother fell. With his own body the De La Salle Brother shielded the 3-year-old Jose Carlos, Jr.

Cecilia Carlos, 12, was tagging after her mother, with the servantmaids Juanita and Felisa, when they were caught up in the mad scramble to the second floor. Cecilia was shot but managed to reach the chapel door where she fell dead. Felisa was slightly wounded and picked up the 3-year-old Jose Carlos, Jr. where Brother Baptist had concealed him under a mattress before he collapsed. Juanita had a finger shot away from her left hand, but suffered no further injury.

The first Japanese to reach the second floor now came upon the firls who stood rooted to the floor by the chapel door, terror-stricken. Rosario Carlos, 21, stuck close to her sister Asela, 20. They were joined by the servantmaids Fortunata, who served the Aquino couple, and Regina, who served the Uychuico family.

Now Rosario stood face-to-face with this Japanese Marine with the rifle poised not three feet away. Rosario remembers seeing a flash accompanied by a deafening shot. She felt herself falling helplessly. The bullet had entered the left side of her chest and exited in the back. But she remained conscious. She heard others scream in terror and the crash of gunfire was horrible to her ears, but Rosario Carlos picked herself up and made it to the chapel threshold where she fell again.

Asela Carlos, 20, and Fortunata Salonga, 14, were subjected to saber blows and bayonet stabs. Asela's arms were almost severed at the elbows. Fortunata lay prostrate with lethal wounds. Regina had slipped inside the chapel with but a scratch near the mouth.

When Servillano Aquino, 25, first heard the screaming and shooting in the foyer, he stepped out of the room beside the chapel door where he and his wife were visiting with Antonio Cojuangco, Jr., 17, who was recovering from illness. Also in the room were Dr. Antonio Cojuangco, Sr., and the male nurse, Filomeno Inolin.

Aquino started down the staircase to find out what was happening when one of the Brothers below, already fighting for his life motioned him away. Auino returned to the sick boy's room. The group locked itself in. From outside came the sound of a stampede. A gunshot was heard followed by many more accompanied by fearful screams. Aquino distinctly recognized Asela's terrified screams.

Shortly there was loud banging on the door and the group inside had no choice but to open up. The male nurse Filomeno Inolin was the first to step out of the room. He was followed by Dr. Cojuangco. Sevillano Aquino came next. The first thing Aquino saw was Asela Carlos sitting on the floor near the chapel door, her back against the wall, her left arm dangling precariously. The Japanese ordered Inolin to turn around and when the male nurse did so, the Japanese stabbed him in the back repeated ly with his bayonet. Aquino watched the nurse fall sprawling on the floor and his eyes were led to the bloodied body of the family help Fortunata Salonga, 14, on the floor.

Terror-stricken Dr. Cojuangco dashed towards the chapel. A Japanese sprang after him and Aquino only heard his father-in-law cry out in pain, "A-a-a-g-h."

Now another Japanese ordered Aquino to turn around. But Aquino had seen what happened to Filomeno Inolin. Instead, he lunged at the Japanese in a determined bid to get hold of the rifle. But the Japanese was quicker and Aquino got the bayonet in his chest, just below the left nipple. He staggered backwards. The Japanese stabbed him again, this time on the right side of the chest. Again the Japanese lunged at Sevillano Aquino who got the bayonet in the neck. He fell on the floor.

From where he lay Servillano saw a Japanese drag the recuperating Antonio Cojuangco, Jr., out of his sick room. The boy was so weak he could hardly stand. The Japanese stabbed him twice with his bayonetted rifle and the boy collapsed in a dead heap on the floor.

Now the Japanese pushed Aquino along the floor forward, "like he was cleaning the floor with my body," Aquino testified.

Aquino's month-long bride, the former Trinidad Cojuangco, 18, stood petrified. Suddenly she darted towards her husband. One Japanese shot her in the back. She collapsed to the floor. Now the Japanese tormenting Aquino walked over to the woman on the floor and struck with his bayonet again and again until she was quiet and still. He returned to Aquino and bayonetted him twice more. Aquino passed out.

Wounded in the foyer, Brother Maximin ran up the stairs to the chapel door where Brother Anthony stood trembling and breathless. "They are going to kill us all," Bro. Maximin shouted and stumbled inside the chapel, Bro. Anthony close on his heels.

Now Brothers Lucian, Gebhard, Lambert, Paul, Hubert, Victor, and Mutwald joined Bro. Anthony who was trying to stem Bro. Maximin's bleeding where the latter lay below the communion railing.

Brother Gebhard and Brother Paul sank to the floor between the middle pews. Brother Mutwald and Brother Victor crouched between the pews farther up. Behind them, the Uychuico servantmaid Regina, but slightly hurt, whimpered in terror. Inside the confessional box, 6-year-old Antonio Carlos lolled about, apparently oblivious to peril. At the door, still on their feet, Brothers Lucian, Lambert and Hubert made as though to bar entry.

A band of five Japanese led by an officer with a saber menacingly confronted the three De La Salle Brothers at the chapel door. Brother Lucian grappled with the nearest man but the officer with the saber slashed at him with savage blows. Brothers Lambert and Hubert too, fell, cruelly mutilated by blades.

Now the band entered the magnificent De La Salle Main Chapel and one after the other the Brothers cowering between the pews came under the sword. Those who did not perish instantly would bleed to death or never come out of shock. Now the 6-year-old Antonio Carlos, now fully conscious of danger, scrambled out of the confession box. One Japanese chased the terrified child and stuck him in the back, then lifted the 6-year-old's body still stuck on the blade and dashed it to the floor. Antonio had little chance.

Brother Anthony now abandoned Brother Maximin by the communion rail and ran for the exit. He was cornered near the door. One Japanese swung his bayonetted rifle at the De La Salle Christian Brother. The first blow stuck so deeply that to extricate the blade the Japanese had to place a foot on the Brother's chest. Two successive blows from another assailant sank deep into the abdomen. Five times more the Japanese thrust at Brother Anthony but he was able to parry them and his arms were badly slashed. Bleeding profusely and hurting from his wounds, Bro. Anthony reeled into the chapel and fell between the pews. His tormentors left him for dead.

Don Enrique Vazquez-Prada, 59, half-paralyzed from a stroke, was in the bathroom on the second floor when the Japanese struck in the foyer below. He heard the fearful screams and the shouting, the crash of gunfire and the scurrying of feet down the corridors. Mindful of his condition, Senor Vazquez-Prada stayed in the bathroom.

Also in the bathroom at this time was Teofilo Cabdari, 23, the cook and baker of the De La Salle community. Teofilo had a small room to himself on the second floor and was up there when he heard the sound of mayhem in the foyer. Teofilo went to the bathroom and locked himself inside a stall.

Now a Japanese marine walked into the toilet and discovered Teofilo Candari in his hiding place. "Are there others here?" the Japanese asked.

"No one," Teofilo replied, whereupon the Japanese struck at him with his fixed-bayonet. Teofilo agilely jumped aside and grappled for the bayonetted rifle. He swung wildly with his fist and sent his adversary on his back to the floor. At this moment, another Japanese marine appeared and slashed at Candari with his bayonet. Candari's right thigh was ripped open. Candari went for this Japanese too, but bleeding and in pain, he took the worst part. His arms were slashed, he was stabbed in the neck and in the back. The bayonet opened his abdomen and Teofilo Candari saw his intestines pop out. He fell, bloodied and gasping, his intestines in his hands. The Japanese left him to die. But Teofilo Candari, bleeding from 33 wounds, did not die. He rolled on the floor till he came where the other wounded lay at the entrance to the chapel.

Sated, the Japanese surveyed their handiwork. In the foyer, the torn bodies, bloodsoaked and with gaping wounds, sprawled everywhere. Some lay quiet and still, dead. Some quivered or moaned in their final throes and were given quick coups-de-grace. The rest lay unconscious from terrible trauma or in shock from loss of blood. The floor ran with blood. The walls were spangled with red where the wounded had been thrown against them.

Up the staircase, the bodies lay tiny and forsaken. All along the corridors and into the chapel, the dead and dying were scattered.

Inside the chapel, the bodies of the De La Salle Christian Brothers, clad in their religious habits, sprawled on the tile floor. Blood flowed on the floor, was splashed on the walls and was congealing on the pews.

Now the Japanese started to leave. Behind them there settled a deep, eerie silence, broken only by a sharp gasp or a pained cry from some crushed body that was dying hard. Outside, the shelling did not bate.

Inside the wine cellar, Mrs Antonio Cojuangco, 37, lay dead. Also inside the cellar, Mrs. Clemente Uychuico and her niece Dionisia Carlos were wounded but alive. Her small daughters Soledad and Paz, and another niece Gloria Carlos, cringed in unmitigated terror, but were unhurt. So was Ramon Cojuangco. Just outside the cellar door, Cojuangco's recent bride, nee Natividad de las Alas, lay dying. Close to her was the lifeless body of the newly-baptized adopted son of the Cojuangcos, Ricardo, 3.

De La Salle Chaplain Father Cosgrave lay where he fell, unconscious, blood oozing from stab wounds in the chest. The bodies of two Vazquez-Prada boys sprawled across the priest's legs, dead. Lourdes Cojuangco, 15, sprawled across his head, unconscious. Close to the priest sprawled the dead body of Brother Leo. Brother Arkadius lay within arm's-length, with grievous head injuries, brain matter leaking from his skull.

At the foot of the staircase, Helen Vazquez-Prada, bleeding from multiple wounds, leaned against the wall, her legs extended on the floor. Beside her, Fernando, 5, kept quiet and still, as his mother admonished him. Under a mattress nearby, Clarita Roldan, 17, lay scarcely breathing, but unscathed.

When Rosario Carlos, 21, got her bearings, she found herself under a chair in the corridor to the chapel. The shells from the American sector crashed terrifyingly outside and fearful of getting hit, Rosario slid along the floor towards the chapel door. She reached the door but she was too weak to raise herself over the threshhold into the chapel. She lay there, on the doorstep, aching and confused.

Inside the chapel, the servant-maid Regina had suffered a scratch on the face, but was in near-hysteria. Seeing Brother Anthony alive, she sidled up to him probably seeking comfort in the face of so much death. The wounded De La Salle Brother asked the convulsively sobbing girl to help him up, but she moved away confused and speechless and sought shelter behind a pew.

Bleeding profusely, Brother Anthony dragged himself to the corridor. He could go no farther and lasped into unconsciousness again.

Just beyond the gate downstairs, the Japanese made merry. They sang boisterously and shouted, gadding drunkenly about the enclosure as though celebrating something grand. Occasionally some of them would walk into the hall that now reeked with blood, apparently to check whether anyone still moved.

Night fell. In the foyer Father Cosgrave regained consciousness but he was too weak to pull himself from under the bodies that had fallen on him. Lourdes Cojuangco, 15, lay across his head. Now Lourdes stirred and came to, and slid away to nurse her injuries.

Father Cosgrave struggled to his feet and went from one body to another giving absolution to those still alive. Stumbling upon dead bodies, literally slushing through pools of blood, the priest dragged himself up the staircase to the chapel on the second floor. He crawled to the narrow space behind the altar where he collapsed and lost consciousness again.

On the second floor, Enrique Vazquez-Prada, 59 and half-paralyzed, shuffled out of his bathroom stall and through the deathly corridors he crept down the stairway now slippery with blood, searching for his family.

He found the older boys dead. He was too feeble to do anything for his wife who lay with her legs extended on the floor and her back against the wall by the staircase. Now he took the 5-year old Fernando back upstairs, seeking food. They found a tin of adobo and Don Enrique fed his son. It was while doing this that a team of Japanese came upon them. Now Enrique Vazquez-Prada fell to bayonet stabs, right before his son's eyes. The boy, himself wounded, was spared. Now he crept back to his hiding place beside his mother by the wall near the staircase in the foyer.

Mrs. Helen Vazquez-Prada suffered from intense thirst and cried out for water. Lourdes Cojuangco, 15, herself asprawl near the cellar door, advised little Fernando to give his mother the rice washings in a container nearby.

Fernando refused. The water was dirty. Lourdes insisted it was all right. Fernando stoutly refused. Now the Japanese were back, their hobnailed steps like sentences of death. The two kept still.

When all was quiet again, Ramon Cojuangco crept out of the cellar to pull Lourdes inside. He found his bride barely alive and took her inside too.

At various times the Japanese would tramp into the hall. Once they looked into the cellar, but everyone kept still and they were left unmolested.

Again Ramon Cojuangco ventured out of the cellar and found two of the De La Salle College staff and a male househelp still alive and able to move. He got the three together and his sister Lourdes up the staircase to the chapel where they found Father Cosgrave behind the altar. Ramon's wife could not move and was left in the cellar.

Lourdes came upon Brother Maximin lying by the communion rail, his eyes wide open. Lourdes said something to him only to recoil in horror to find she was talking to a corpse. One of the college staff had a key to the sacristy over the altar. The small group *went up the spiral staircase and locked itself in. Here they stayed the night through.

Brother Anthony had regained consciousness and from the corridor where he had collapsed, he struggled down the staircase, hoping that someone in the foyer might be able to help him.

At the foot of the stairs he shouted for help. But none was forthcoming. The Brother made the arduous trip back upstairs and crawled, staggered and slid on the floor, to his own room on the second floor.

In the dark Mrs. Helen Loehwinson Vazquez-Prada as beset by chills. She cried out for blankets. In the cellar, Dionisia Carlos, 16, recovered from shock, heard the woman's pitiful cries. She rummaged among the boxes in the cellar and found a scarf which she now brought out and wrapped around Mrs. Vazquez-Prada' s shoulders.

In the dark, Servillano Aquino heard the voice of his family's maid-servant Fortunata Salonga, crying for water. Someone came up with water for her. Shortly, little Fortunata too lay dead.

From other parts of the corridor Servillano could hear the low moans and labored breathing of the wounded. He knew that somewhere near him in the dark his father-in-law Dr. Antonio Cojuangco Sr., the male nurse Filemon Inolin and Rosario Carlos, lay wounded, but were alive.



  • AleanceloAleancelo guapo PEx Expert 🎖️
    chappy92 wrote: »
    Brother Anthony had regained consciousness and from the corridor where he had collapsed, he struggled down the staircase, hoping that someone in the foyer might be able to help him.


    Bro. Anthony, the only Brother who survived that carnage, also died tragically in the United States. He was killed in his bedroom on February 1963.
  • From ONE LA SALLE YAHOOGROUPS:(2/29/2008-Tony Atayde)

    There were 2 kids who were part of the survivors. Jun Carlos and Nando Vasquez-Prada both became successful in their respective fields.

    Check out this link


    to see a video that was made to honor those who lost their lives as well as those who survived.

    On Thu, Feb 28, 2008 at 8:17 PM, Cesar Lumba <[email protected] com> wrote:
    That anyone survived this horrendous February 12, 1945 massacre by the Japanese in De La Salle was somewhat miraculous. I guess the American forces arrived in time to treat the wounds of the survivors? Was there a sequel to this story? Did the Japanese government ever apologize for this massacre? The five-year-old Vasquez-Prada boy who survived, is he the same Vasquez-Prada who became a very successful businessman?

    Has anyone turned this story into a book? If this had happened in the U.S., or in some European country, there would be a novel by now that would chronicle the lives of all those massacred and wounded in La Salle with the story ending with the arrival of the U.S. Liberation forces whose medics treated and bandaged the wounds of the survivors.


    From: Alan Cabalquinto <[email protected] gmail.com>
    Date: Feb 28, 2008 7:07 PM
    Subject: More details on the February 1945 Japanese
    To: "Adie C. Pena"

    Here's the continuation of the incident of the 14th and the 15th of February 1945 when the Americans finally cleared the De La Salle College compound. Sadly, more deaths occured and more heroism happened.

    Wednesday, 14 February 1945

    Over at the half-ruined De La Salle College on Taft Avenue in Malate, the survivors of the Monday afternoon incidents huddled hungry and thirsty in the chapel on the second floor of the south wing.

    A group was in the narrow space between the De La Salle Main Chapel altar and the wall and another was in the sacristy over the altar area. Stretched out on pews in the chapel were Rosario Carlos, Servillano Aquino, the college helper Anselmo Sudlan, and Brother Hubert who was critically injured.

    On the third floor, Brother Anthony FSC lay in a room that had been occupied by the Vazquez-Prada family.

    Only Mrs. Helen Vasquez-Prada and her son, Fernando, 5, were left on the first floor. This morning, Helen Vasquez-Prada succumbed. Fernando would leave her side.

    De La Salle Chaplain Father Francis J. Cosgrave, CSsR, was kept busy ministering to the spiritual needs of the survivors.

    The Uychuico servantmaid Clarita Roldan, 17, and the other househelp foraged all over the South Wing for food and water.

    This evening, a band of Japanese came to the Chapel and ignited a can of gasoline near the door.

    Despite his injuries, Brother Hubert FSC dragged himself up from where he lay and brought out two bottles of carbon tetrachloride which he had salvaged from the laboratories and stored in a nearby cabinet. Now Brother Hubert cast the bottles into the flames and succeeded in extinguishing them.

    The Japanese were back shortly after and found that the fire they started had not caught. They started another fire, lighting rags soaked in gasoline and left again. Brother Hubert got up once more and began beating down the flames. At this moment, the Japanese returned. Servillano Aquino who lay wounded on a pew in the chapel heard Brother Hubert cry out, "A-a-a-g-h, a-a-a-g-h," as the Japanese struck at him with bayonets. In the darkness aquino heard nothing more, but the flames died down and the Japanese left.

    Now Clarita Roldan and her fellows decided to bring the wounded on the pews up to the sacristy seeing how the Japanese kept returning. They succeeded in bringing up Rosario Carlos and Anselmo Sudlan, but the latter would succumb before morning.

    Servillano Aquino was too heavy and too weak to be moved up the sacristy. They brought him behind the altar with Father Cosgrave.

    Thursday, 15 February 1945

    This morning, a battalion of 105-mm. howitzers and one of 155-mm howitzers laid down an hour-long barrage on the De La Salle College premises and the Japanese Club on adjoining property on Taft Avenue. When the barrage lifted elements of the 12th Cavalry Regiment burst into the college ruins.

    The Redemptorist Superior Fr. Francis J. Cosgrave huddled with the other survivors in the narrow space behind the main altar in the Chapel.

    Now Fr. Cosgrave heard voices speaking in English with a strange accent. Fr. Cosgrave's heart leaped in his chest. "Americans," he said in his mind.

    Peering around the altar he saw three husky young Americans up in the Choir Loft. Fr. Cosgrave shouted to them, but his voice was so faint that it would not carry. He staggered to his feet, waving his arms and shouting. Three times the Redemptorist Superior pulled out all the air off his chest, to no avail. Despairing, he tried again. The Americans heard him.

    The Chapel was the only part of the De La Salle building relatively whole. The survivors had been in hiding since Monday, February 12th , after the massacres and through the shelling and bombing, with no food and only the water, stale and putrid, they found in the flower vases on the altar.

    Now the 12th Cavalry laid siege on the Rizal Memorial Stadium behind De La Salle College across a narrow estero.

  • Dean Philip Ella Juico (Graduate School of Business) mentioned in our orientation that prior to the renovation of the chapel blood stains from the massacre remains there.
  • AleanceloAleancelo guapo PEx Expert 🎖️
    bhochay wrote: »
    Dean Philip Ella Juico (Graduate School of Business) mentioned in our orientation that prior to the renovation of the chapel blood stains from the massacre remains there.

    The blood stains were at the back of the altar where some of the survivors hid. Nakita ko pa iyan nuon (seeing the blood stains despite being repainted over and over). Pero pinalitan na yung mismong likod ng altar so you will no longer find the stains there.
  • From: Wikipedia - The De La Salle Brothers in the Philippines

    The February 12, 1945 Massacre

    On February 12, 1945, a Japanese military officer along with 20 soldiers forcibly made their way into De La Salle College in Manila, which was then a refuge for 70 people, including 30 women and young girls, 16 De La Salle Christian Brothers and the College's Chaplain-Redemptorist Father Francis Cosgrave CSSR (an Australian), and the adult men of two families.

    The then De La Salle College Director-Brother Egbert Xavier FSC (an Irishman) was about two days earlier forcibly taken by a group of Japanese soldiers and was never seen again. The Japanese soldiers herded these people into the school chapel where they were subsequently shot, slashed, or bayoneted. Those who did not die in the attack would be later be left to bleed to death and the Japanese attempted to violate the women who were dying from their wounds. The chapel was then set on fire by the Japanese but since it was built of marble and concrete it was not destroyed. Only ten of the victims survived amongst them only one De La Salle Brother.[3]

    The 1939-built magnificent and elegant De La Salle College Main Chapel survives to this day. One of the very few structures to survive the near utter destruction of Manila during the February 1945Liberation of Manila.

    The following are those who were massacred on February 1945 by the Japanese in De La Salle College in Taft Avenue, Manila:

    De La Salle Christian Brothers
    • Brother Egbert Xavier FSC - Director
    • Brother Flavius Leo FSC (the oldest at 69 years old)
    • Brother Alemond Lucian FSC
    • Brother Baptist De La Salle Janos FSC
    • Brother Adolf Gebhard FSC
    • Brother Berthwin Philibert FSC
    • Brother Arkadius Maria FSC
    • Brother Friedbert Johannes FSC
    • Brother Gerfried Joseph FSC
    • Brother Lambert Romanus FSC
    • Brother Mutwald William FSC
    • Brother Paternus Paul FSC
    • Brother Rornuald Sixtus FSC
    • Brother Hartmann Hubert FSC
    • Brother Maximin Maria FSC
    • Brother Victorinus Heinrich FSC

    The Carlos Family
    Mateo (surname unknown)

    The Cojuangco Family
    Antonio, M.D.
    Victoria Uychuico
    Natividad de las Alas
    Ricardo Bartolome
    Carlos (surname unknown)
    Apolinario (surname unknown)

    The Aquino Family
    Trinidad Cojuangco

    The Uychuico Family
    Clemente, M.D.

    The Vasquez-Prada Family
    Enrique Sr.
    Helen Loewinsohn
    Enrique Jr.
    Armenia (surname unknown)

    De La Salle College employees
    Anselmo Sudlan
    Pamphilio Almodan
    Ceferino Villamor

    The American De La Salle Christian Brothers (the European De La Salle Christian Brothers were left in De La Salle College in Taft Avenue, Manila in 1944 up to February 1945) were interred by the Japanese before the February 1945 Liberation of Manila in the Los Banos, Laguna Japanese Internment Camp. They survived the War after being rescued together with the other interred American priests and nuns from the other Religious Orders by the American Forces from the Los Banos Concentration Camp.
  • I was reading this article and I didn't read anything about Dr. Clemente Uychuico and Ramon Uyhcuico. I am the grand-daugher of Dr. Uychuico! I remember seeing someone with a post regarding a book that was written about this massacre. Anyone have an idea where I can get a copy of this book?
  • rationalrational PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    Yes, Br. Andrew Gonzales wrote a book about this. It's titled "Our Martyrs". Try the DLSAA. They might still have a copy.

    Otherwise, baka library.
  • AleanceloAleancelo guapo PEx Expert 🎖️
    I was reading this article and I didn't read anything about Dr. Clemente Uychuico and Ramon Uyhcuico. I am the grand-daugher of Dr. Uychuico! I remember seeing someone with a post regarding a book that was written about this massacre. Anyone have an idea where I can get a copy of this book?

    Aluit, Alfonso J., By Sword and Fire: The Destruction of Manila in World War II, Makati: Bookmark Publishing, 1995.

    Gonzalez, Andrew FSC and Alejandro Reyes, These Hollowed Halls. The Events of February 1945 at De La Salle College, Manila: De La Salle University Press, 1982.

    You can join the Memorare Manila 1945 Foundation, an organization of survivors and descendants of the victims of the Battle of Manila. I'm also a member of that organization since my grandmother's brother was executed by the Japs at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in February 1945. Try to get in touch with Memorare 1945 head and former Tourism Secretary Gemma Cruz Araneta through her email address: [email protected]
  • rational wrote: »
    Yes, Br. Andrew Gonzales wrote a book about this. It's titled "Our Martyrs". Try the DLSAA. They might still have a copy.

    Otherwise, baka library.

    Thank you. I am in the US. Trying to get this book. Hindi pwede to order online.
  • Aleancelo wrote: »
    Aluit, Alfonso J., By Sword and Fire: The Destruction of Manila in World War II, Makati: Bookmark Publishing, 1995.

    Gonzalez, Andrew FSC and Alejandro Reyes, These Hollowed Halls. The Events of February 1945 at De La Salle College, Manila: De La Salle University Press, 1982.

    You can join the Memorare Manila 1945 Foundation, an organization of survivors and descendants of the victims of the Battle of Manila. I'm also a member of that organization since my grandmother's brother was executed by the Japs at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in February 1945. Try to get in touch with Memorare 1945 head and former Tourism Secretary Gemma Cruz Araneta through her email address: [email protected][/QUOT

    I am still trying to get the book. My mother is Paz Uychuico Rodriguez one of the survivors of this massacre.

    Can someone please help me get this book or please post more pages of the book. Thank you very much!!!!
  • Hi amurorodriguez12. I am currently a student in DLSU, so I can check out if the book is available for sale. If you're still looking for this book, let me know :)
  • Aleancelo wrote: »
    Aluit, Alfonso J., By Sword and Fire: The Destruction of Manila in World War II, Makati: Bookmark Publishing, 1995.

    Gonzalez, Andrew FSC and Alejandro Reyes, These Hollowed Halls. The Events of February 1945 at De La Salle College, Manila: De La Salle University Press, 1982.

    You can join the Memorare Manila 1945 Foundation, an organization of survivors and descendants of the victims of the Battle of Manila. I'm also a member of that organization since my grandmother's brother was executed by the Japs at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in February 1945. Try to get in touch with Memorare 1945 head and former Tourism Secretary Gemma Cruz Araneta through her email address: [email protected][/QUOT

    I am still trying to get the book. My mother is Paz Uychuico Rodriguez one of the survivors of this massacre.

    Can someone please help me get this book or please post more pages of the book. Thank you very much!!!!

    Hi amurodriguez12 ... my father and 2 of his siblings are survivors of the Battle of Manila and they are still alive (several members of their family, including his mother, perished around the area across DLSU during that tragic time. We'd like to join Memorare 1945, too. Is Gemma Cruz Araneta still the head, or is it Ambassador Juan Jose Rocha. Who can we get in touch with? Will appreciate some info. Thanks very much.
  • Hello...I would really appreciate if you can help me find this book. Thank you
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