At Mariveles we were told to proceed to Manila down the “Little Baguio” dusty road It was the only road to the next town. All of us walked down that knee-deep dusty road with both sides of the forest trees burning! The dust covering our faces and the smoke suffocating us caused many to collapse and die, to be run over by military tanks and vehicles going through that forest fire at great speeds.
How my companion and I got through that inferno was a miracle.
At the end of the trail some survivors of the inferno tried to get a drink from a well where Japs were drawing water, but they were met with bayonets and killed on the spot. We got away as fast as we could until we reached a river where boatmen offered to ferry us across to Bulacan. Had we succeeded, we could have escaped the Death March and the POW Concentration Camp.
But I was trying to look for my brother, Elix, to help him, because I saw those coming from the front lines were like walking dead men. They were haggard, pale, weak, exhausted, hungry, and half-dead. Elix, I thought, could be like one of them, in need of help!
Along the way I met Col. Cunanan, Ordnance Chief, and I asked him about my brother. He said they were behind with his other men. So I waited for the men from the front lines to pass by, but I did not see Elix among them. The men were half-asleep walking.
After the war I learned that Col. Hugo Cunanan and some other officers boarded a boat to cross Manila Bay to Manila but were strafed by Jap planes.
The Ordnance Building in the PMA, Baguio City, where Tony graduated, was named after Col. Cunanan. I was OIO of that building and I let all my sons fire all small guns there.