The next thing I did after settling in our hut was build a dugout. I saw to it that it had beams overheard with G.I. sheets to hold lots of soil, on which I planted spinach.
It was “L”-shaped and could house ten persons. I placed wooden floorings and also wooden sidings to make our stay comfortable.
There were air-raids every day. Much of the daytime hours were spent inside the dugout. The retreating Japs from their last organized stand in Balete Pass (now Delton Pass) took refuge in the abandoned houses in town. Hence the U.S. planes bombed and strafed the town every day. The stray bullets reached our evacuation area.
Pat and I with our kids were caught in an air-raid outside of our house. We lay down inside an irrigation canal. We saw the tracer bullets flying over our head. A carabao grazing nearby was hit and was badly wounded by tracer bullets. It was bleeding!
Near the first evacuation hut where we lived was the hut and dugout of the rich Afalla family, he being a forest ranger. It was around a hundred meters from our dugout. It got a direct bomb hit. All of them died of concussion. I went to help cover them inside their dugout. Shrapnel from the bomb reached near our dugout.
Pat and a neighbor found a place where they could exchange salt for rice. They were carrying half a sack each on their head when it became stormy. The only pathways were the half-foot dikes separating the rice field, which becomes muddy and slippery. They arrived both crying and full of mud to find our house unroofed with our three kids inside a big oparador– all secured!
We pounded rice under the moonlight and stored it underground.
The bomb dropped very close to our first evacuation hut and could have blown up our hut had we not moved further away with Andres and family, building his new hut close to us. This house was not unroofed during the storm but his dugout was filled with water and its top collapsed! Our dugout was intact.
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