One early morning I noticed a flock of white pigeons with a red spot on their breasts feeding from a small fruit-bearing tree not very far from our Camp. I said to myself: Here is a good source of fresh meat.
I fashioned a slingshot and got a lot of small pebbles from the creek. I was already imagining savoring a roasted pigeon, with saliva freely flowing from my mouth.
Very early in the morning I went under the tree, when it was still dark, and waited for the birds. As they alighted on the tree, I fired my slingshot and a bird fell near me. I picked it up and applied mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until it started breathing.
I heard a pigeon cooing at the top of the tree and right away I concluded that it was the bird’s mate. All other birds were gone!
Immediately my mind went back to Pat and imagined her as having a baby. I thought that these birds could have a nest of small pigeons waiting to be fed.
As soon as the bird in my hand wriggled strong enough, I let it loose and watched it fly in a zigzag way, followed closely by the other pigeon.
I missed a good meal but I felt I did the right thing by letting the bird go.
(Could it be that God did the same to me? When I was released as a sick POW, Pat had already given birth to Tony, six months earlier, on February 7, 1942.)
Later on a carabao strayed inside our camp and was immediately killed. I got a leg from it. I sliced the meat into strips, salted it, dried it by the sun, and so I had a good supply of meat. Praise the Lord. Part of this meat saved me and my companion, Cpl. Joselito Castañares from starvation during the Bataan Death March. Along the way, for lack of fire to roast it, we ate the dried meat raw.