War comes to the Mountain Resort City of Baguio –A Reconstruction from the Diary of James J. Halsema (2002)

Japan attacked the Philippines on December 8, 1941. James Halsema, son of Baguio’s Mayor, was a news reporter at the time. His recollection of events gives a unique personal account of Japan’s air attack. Baguio had little military value, being a military recreation camp. But it did contain a small airfield which apparently was the Japanese military concern.

A formation of twin engine Japanese Army bombing planes from Taiwan bases attacked Camp John Hay and Loakan Airfield. Confusion and disbelief reigned.

The main Japanese landing at Lingayan occurred in mid-December. Imperial Army units eventually occupied Baguio without resistance. Camp John Hay became once again a military recreation center. Toward the end of the Philippine liberation campaign by allied forces Baguio served as headquarters for Japanese General Yamashita. James Halsema spent WWII years in various Japanese Internment Camps in Baguio and Manila. After the war he again became a reporter, for the Associated Press (AP) –BB

(Source: The American Historical Collection at Ateneo University)

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