Black Clouds in Manila, a novel by Tessie Jayme
by Tessie Jayme
Black Clouds in Manila
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Book 1 - "Fight or Flight"
On December 8, 1941, Japanese troops attacks the Philippine Islands and catapults the Filipino people into the fray of World War II. A month later, Manila finds itself under full Japanese occupation. The occupants of Manila must now choose to remain in the city under full Japanese authority, or to take flight to other islands in the hope of remaining beyond the enemy’s immediate presence.
 
Torio and Rissing Santos decide to flee Manila with their children. Many of their friends and relatives choose to stay. Book 1 chronicles their individual and joint struggles and adventures as they rise to the challenges of living in a war-ravaged country.
 
Lucinda Trinidad, for one, chooses to stay and work with the commander at the Santo Tomas internment camp. She discovers that not all Filipinos are heroes, and not all Japanese are evil. As a Filipino Scout, Torio comes face to face with the enemy in battle… and finds it difficult to forget that Japanese soldiers too have children and wives like him. In order to protect and defend her children, Rissing finds herself rising to the challenge of simple survival tactics, even as she watches her children taking up weapons to defend themselves not only against the Japanese soldiers, but against their own kind… desperate people in desperate straits to survive.


                                                                                                          

 
Book 2 - "A People Undefeated"
Philippines has surrendered to the Japanese, and General Douglas MacArthur has retreated with the promise to return. The Filipino people’s defense of their homeland has failed, and while they have surrendered to the Japanese occupation, they refuse to see  themselves as defeated.
 
Along with his fellow soldiers, Torio is malnutritioned and sick with malaria, but at least he manages to elude the 25-mile Bataan Death March. Rissing’s friend, Juan Delacruz, is not as fortunate. He watches firsthand the atrocities perpetrated by Japanese soldiers, as well as unexpected acts of kindness from them. By now the Japanese have infiltrated all of the Philippine islands, and the Filipino people are using guerrilla tactics to rebel against their presence. In Manila, Lucing faces her conflicting emotions for the Camp Commander. In Panay, Torio signs up to work in a Japanese mining camp with his family. Responsible for the Camp Commander’s laundry, Rissing earns his respect and trust, and the Commander proves instrumental in her family’s survival in camp. Rumors of America’s plans to liberate the Philippines prompts Torio to move his family out of the mining camp.  Then news of MacArthur’s imminent return electrifies the Filipino people.


                                                                     

 
Book 3 - "After the Ashes"
The Japanese are on the defensive as General Douglas MacArthur infiltrates the Philippines to organize liberation of the Filipino people from Japanese occupation. When the Japanese learn that Torio has joined the guerrillas, they actively go after his family in a retaliatory maneuver. Defended by a little Aeta hunter her family adopts, her friend’s teenage sons, and her own two pre-teen boys, Rissing is on the run in the Philippine jungles. Her group battles Japanese patrols even as Rissing goes into labor with her fifth child. Torio rescues his family and they make it to safety.
 
As MacArthur makes his promised return, the Filipino people prepare for the battle to reclaim their country. In Manila, a pregnant Lucing says goodbye to her Camp Commander lover at Santo Tomas, knowing she will probably never see him again. On February 3, 1945, Santo Tomas is liberated by American troops. On September 2, 1945, the Japanese officially surrender to the Americans.
 
The separations, challenges and intense events of the war has frayed and torn the fabric of Torio and Rissing’s marriage, but somehow it has survived. However, back in a virtually destroyed Manila, Rissing decides that this dark and shadowed place is not where her children should grow up. It’s not that she’s abandoning her beloved   Philippines. She is merely designing a better future for her children, and that means setting her sights on America… land of the free.


 "I feel like Mama and Papa are alive with us. Thank you so much for writing this book." -  Amabelle J