Japanese Troops Occupied Manila on January 2, 1942

The attack had been underway since December 8, 1941. With the United States Army Forces Far East withdrawn to the Bataan peninsula and Manila declared an open city, its residents waited for the inevitable.

Japanese head into Manila 1942

Restaurateur Gladys Savary went to the market early on the morning of January 2, 1942, assuming that whatever was to come, people would still need to eat. The streets were mostly deserted; city officials had encouraged people to stay indoors. Still, customers trickled into the Restaurant de Paris throughout the day. Some friends urged Gladys to have a drink with them across the street at the Bay View Hotel, and she joined them briefly in the early evening.

Gladys may have caught a glimpse of Peggy Utinsky there. Peggy had spent the day nursing patients at Remedios Hospital, unaware the Japanese had arrived in Manila. At six o’clock, she was told to go home, and as she walked along a city street, a passerby pointed out signs of the occupation: Japanese motorcycles, Japanese soldiers, Rising Sun flags. “Here they are, they have us,” Peggy thought. She ducked into the Bay View Hotel and for the next hour chatted with other Americans, gathering all the information they had. Then Peggy returned to her apartment on A. Mabini Street and began planning how she would undermine the enemy occupation.

Margaret Utinsky signal corps public domain

2 thoughts on “Japanese Troops Occupied Manila on January 2, 1942

  1. Hello Theresa, thanks for following me in my blog {Landscapes of Inspirational Thoughts]. Just to let you know that you got one book sale today, Jan. 5, 2016 from the Netherlands. I ordered your book, “Angels from the Underground,” from Oxford University Press. It will arrive in 2 or 3 weeks. P.S. When I was growing up, my Filipino grandmother and aunts had shared stories of their experiences during the WWII every All Souls & Saints Day and it’s also because I have 2 guerrilla uncles, one tortured & buried alive by the Japanese and my other uncle moved to California after the liberation and he became American citizen.


    • I’m so pleased you ordered the book, Angelica. Although it focuses on American women, I am very clear throughout that Filipinos were very active in the anti-Japanese resistance. Some of those stories may be similar to the ones your grandmother and aunts have shared.


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