One early morning while it was still dark, I was awakened by a commotion outside of our quarters.
I went out to investigate. There I saw POWs going into formation as an officer called a roll.
I joined the formation, not knowing what it was all about.
My name was not in the roll. Officer Someniego, (a Lt. then) came to me, slapped me like a Jap O, then pushed me and kicked me out of the formation, accompanied by curses, telling me to GET OUT! (After the war, this O got ambushed by the Huks and half of his body was paralyzed, as Lt. Col.)
When the men were ordered to board the trucks guarded by Japs, I got into the last one.
On the way out of the Camp towards the town of Capas, I learned that we were on a Grass Detail to gather “duhat” and “guava” leaves. These leaves were boiled to cure loose bowel movements, of which many POWs were sick.
The convoy of ten trucks stopped near the railroad station of Capas, where a large crowd of men, women, and children gnawing duhat and guava leaves awaited our arrival.
One by one the POWs jumped into the arms of waiting relatives and friends, except me, who had no one to meet me there.
A lady dressed in white with a blue silk belt or sash waved me down. I went to her and she told me that she was the wife of Capt. Sarte of the S.S. Carmen that was sunk in Manila Bay at the outbreak of the war.
She said that her husband was sick and could not join the Grass Detail as she gave me the food she brought for him, consisting of “balut,” fried chicken, red eggs (maalat), adobo, arroz valenciana or yellow rice cooked with chicken, arroz caldo, and a bottle of pure milk.
I could hardly believe my eyes. I attempted to eat as much as I could. I was “full as an egg!”
She gave our Jap guard a bottle of wine and cigarettes. He was very happy.
The rest of the food that I could not eat, I placed in a container and the bottle of milk I poured into my canteen.
She said she was going to buy medicine for her husband and would be back. I told her of my wife in Kamuning, who by then had a baby. She told me to write a note to her, and I included the ₱50 bill I had. She got my note with the address and promised me she would deliver it. Then we rode back.