Pat’s mother learned of a faith healer outside of the town at the side of Bañgan hill before reaching Busilac. Desperate for any remedy, she made arrangements for her healing ritual, which consisted of chicken and pork together with spices to be offered by the healer to her gods for their help in healing her patient.
We took Nana Ulli to the place with a lot of meat and chicken and spaces and when the food was about ready, the healer invited all the barrio folks to “come and get it!” There were around ten barrio houses.
All families of around thirty men, women, and children came to attend the rituals.
The plates and bowls of food were placed around the patient as we sat near the wall of the house while the healer chanted and danced around in front of us.
I noticed that the words she was uttering were those of native Ifugao and that her ritual was like those I witnessed in Kiangan during a CANIAO or faith healing ritual of Ifugaos.
She barely started her ritual when all of a sudden a Japanese soldier with fixed bayonet barked a loud order, KORA!, to get out, motioning us to the door. The bamboo house shook as we all scampered for the door until all of us were out except the patient, who could not stand up.
We were all lined up in front of soldiers with fixed bayonets facing us and some at our backs, ready to execute us!
I could see men urinating in their pants and women shaking down, falling to the ground as their knees buckled down, and children crying, because everybody was scared.
I reached inside my pocket for my I.D. as Constabulary employee, with Japanese characters and having the red stamp of Major Sugiyana, Supt. B. C. Academy in Manila, and, carrying Betty, I showed it to the officer in charge and, speaking in Nippango, I said, “GOMEN NASAI.” (Please excuse me.)
He was surprised to hear me speak his language and examined my I.D. When he looked at me showing no sign of fear, he asked what we were doing. I explained that we were offering food to our God and asking Him to heal our patient.
Before he started to ask each one more questions, he dispatched soldiers to inspect all houses around the barrio, around ten of them.
I interpreted his questions, as” “Where do you live?” “What work do you do?” “Where is your family?” The men merely pointed to their houses, made signs of planting rice, and pointed at their wives and children.
When the soldiers who searched the houses returned empty-handed and one of them explained that a woman in the house is very ill, the officer returned my I.D.
He ordered his soldiers back to formation, unfix bayonets, and they marched away.
The poor barrio folks came around me and started kissing my hand, even my leg and chest, for saving them. They said that a few days before, the Japs executed barrio people in Barrio La Torre as suspected guerilla supporters.
The healing ritual was discontinued. We took Nana Ulli back to the road for a ride to town. The food remained untouched!
I carried her in my arms. She was just skin and bones. With her in my arms, I jumped across a canal to reach the road where we boarded a caretella back home. Praise the Lord!