During World War II, Santa Tomas (pictured) was a prison camp for civilians. A place where
nurses, foreigners, women, and children, etc. were kept. The photo is of our group in front
of the former prison, now a university.
Because Spain was a neutral country, Spanish Filipinos felt that there would be no problems
with the Japanese when they invaded. So they did nothing.... it was business as usual. The
Japanese slaughtered them in great numbers. The local natives that lived near Santa Tomas, which is near
Bilibid prison, said there where bodies of men, women, and children everywhere. Sidewalks, streets,
and gutters were rivers of blood. Bodies were left to rot in the tropical sun and even now, some fifty years
are not many Spanish Filipinos left.
This story was related to me (Paul Laird Ashton, the author's son) by the group leader, who himself is a
Spanish Filipino. The group leader (Mario) is pictured in the bottom row center of the group picture.