When the Japs occupying our house and the nearby houses left towards Kiañgan (where they made their last stand before surrendering), we were the only family left in the “ghost town” of Bayombong; me, Pat, Tony, Betty, and Rudy.
The Jap garrison back of our house was also abandoned after the bombing of the town. Pat and I just prayed to God to protect us, and He did. Praise the Lord!
One of our neighbors, Mr. Andres Bacud, came with a carabao-drawn sled and induced us to go with him to the evacuation site, offering their improvised shack there for us to stay with them.
With great relief, Pat and I and the kids, with some belongings for the night, boarded the sled, and we went across the creek to Barrio Apad, accompanied by another neighbor, Mr. Enrique Purugganan, and his wife, who convinced us to join them in the evacuation site. Andres was a carpenter, hence he had a big, impressive home.
There I deposited our remaining palay, which I carried little by little from the house in town lest they be stolen. There was no more store open to buy anything and the Jap war notes were no longer honored as a medium of exchange. Salt became the medium of exchange.
With our salt, Pat was able to exchange for some small fish. It was a very delicious meal!
Our kitchen was on the ground floor. At least our sleeping place was elevated above the ground. We felt more secure in that place until one day a U.S. plane dropped a bomb nearby and the red-hot shrapnel reached near our hut.
We considered going further inside the interior of the rice fields to be more safe. Japs occupied nearby houses during this retreat.