DECISION TO RISK IT IN TOWN
With our children crying for food when we woke up, and without any food that we brought with us, I was able to convince Pat that we should return and stay in the house we left in town, where our food supplies of rice and brown sugar were left; otherwise they might be stolen. I said: “Look, that woman was very healthy yesterday; now she is dead. Anywhere, anytime, if God wants to take us with Him, we can’t help it. It is better to die with a bomb or bullet than to die of hunger,”
Against the advice and opposition of Pat’s relatives, we returned to town. Our food stores remained untouched. Praise the Lord!
I went to search for food in the ruins of buildings and I found a bottle of “Banosis Mixture” medicine for coughs and colds. It tasted exactly like chocolate. Mixed with soft-boiled rice called “lugao,” it tasted like rice pudding. Our kids liked it very much.
Aside from the medicine from the bombed pharmacy, I discovered a pile of salt inside the bombed bakery. I got as much as I could carry, because salt had become the medium of exchange. A ganta of salt for a sack of rice, a ganta of rice for a pig.
Our palay which I piled over our dugout would last us for a long time. We still had some rice in a sack and salt in a can.
Very soon retreating Jap soldiers started pouring into the town.
Their Battalion Commander, a Major who knew how to speak Ilocano fluently, used our house as his quarters, with his orderly who worked for him.
His Battalion staff occupied the bigger wooden house nearby as their headquarters. They had some hospitality women with them, cleaning seeds of rice of dirt and unhusked grain on a table all day long.