The heavy rains flooded the rice paddies where we had constructed our improvised shacks and dug our air-raid shelters. Most of the daytime hours were spent inside our dugouts as the U.S. planes bombed and strafed the retreating Japs passing the town and hiding in the abandoned houses and wrecked buildings.
When the rains weakened the top cover of most dugouts, the shelters collapsed, forcing the evacuees to hide inside their huts, which were no protection from bombs, bullets, or shrapnel.
Only our dugout in the whole neighborhood did not collapse but it was filled with water. I placed bamboo floats like a raft inside, which enabled us to still use our shelter during air-raids.
Then one day we saw floating in the air leaflets dropped by the planes warning us of bombing because the place was infiltrated by Jap stragglers and huts used by Japs for offices were built just outside of the evacuees’ camp area.
Without delay the Apad evacuees, led by the Governor and by the Catholic Priest, carrying their belongings started passing our hut urging us to join them, waving the leaflets in their hands. They were like scared rabbits. Joe Ouestria and I were the only veterans in that place. Others had not experienced war like us. Hence they all feared for their lives!
Pat was convinced by me not to leave the place, in spite of the warning leaflets, because if we did, the only things we could carry were our kids and we would die of thirst and starvation. I said: “If it is our time to die, better with bombs or bullets than thirst or starvation!” We were the only couple left, with our kids.
I went around looking at the empty huts and brought home some ears of corn. We waved at the planes overhead!
The place was not bombed or raided. Then the evacuees came running back after three days. They were followed by Jap stragglers! The evacuees who left the place said that the Japs followed them and got scared.
American planes flew very low over the area and saw us, Pat, me, Boy, and Betty, waving at them. All people were gone except us. They did not strafe or bomb the place. Praise the Lord!