When WWII in the Pacific broke out on December 8, 1941, Filipinos immediately joined the army or the communists to resist Japanese occupation of the Philippines. Others fled Manila and sought refuge in the provinces.
In the early days of the occupation, Filipinos were killed, slapped, beaten, tortured, and forced to bow in front of sentries, leading to a strong anti-Japanese sentiment. Stories of rape, looting, disappearances, and murder abound.
With most of the men leaving to join the guerrilla movement, women were left to fend for themselves and their families, and tend to the home. War proved to be an equalizing measure; rich or poor, man or woman, Filipinos lost lives, livelihood, and property. At the same time, poor and privileged women and men alike contributed what they could to the war effort.