One night we were rudely awakened by loud shouts of ORAM! ORAM! (Fire! Fire!), accompanied by the ringing of church bells and beating of drums.
I saw Father carry our one-legged heavy table and run away downstairs with it, while Mother bundled Elix and me with blankets, as both of us were shivering with cold and fear. The house of Tato Benid was on fire!
Between the burning house and ours were cans of kerosene stored inside a former photo studio shop converted into a garage.
Again I saw Father carry Mother’s Singer sewing machine and run away with it downstairs to the road.
Fortunately, several carpenters from Bantay, Iloco-Sur, were sleeping in our house then. They got all our blankets, wet them and spread them between the fire and our house and the barn, or garage, and soaked them with water.
There was also a KAMANTIRiS (Camachile) tree between the two houses. And there was no wind at that time towards our house from the fire.
Somebody stood up the mortar and with a pestle thrust into its hole started pointing it towards the west to direct the wind away from our house, saying: IDIAY TI PAPANAM (Not that way) to the wind.
Our neighbor, a very religious woman, sister of the church sextons, started shouting: JESUS, MARIA y JOSEP repeatedly, running back and forth on the street.
The whole town was awakened. People came to remove all our furniture from our house and with tree branches tried to put out the flames that floated in the air and dropped on the barn.
They did not move away the cans of kerosene, and the barn made of palm leaves (buri ) did not get ignited with the intense heat.
A miracle saved our house from burning. Everybody said it was a miracle that there was no wind blowing towards our house but instead it blew towards the opposite direction!
I guess this is the principle of FAITH, to believe of saying and thinking something without any doubt that it will happen. Praise the Lord!
After the fire subsided and the whole house of Don Benido was totally consumed, two persons had to carry back the table and the sewing machine that Tatang ran away with! Praise the Lord!
How the fire started was never known. But at that time the burned house was loaded with newly arrived pharmaceutical items for a VALERA FARMACIA that was going to be opened.