The abrupt change in my life from the jungles and primitive life of Kiañgan to a modern civilized life in Manila was just like me reaching heaven.
It was indeed a MIRACLE. Only God can do that. Praise the Lord! Thank you, my God — .
Compared to my experiences and training as a laborer and a recruit, this new job of mine was so EASY for me (office work).
As a road-roller driver I almost lost my life when the R.R. I was driving started to roll down into a very deep ravine after I tried to change gears. I shouted “FABIAN!”, the name of the R.R. Engineer. I was about to jump before the R.R. reached the precipice. Then I stepped on something that abruptly stopped the R.R. Fabian came running and telling me not to move.
As soon as he reached the R.R., he stepped immediately on the rod I was standing on. He said it was the brake! He did not teach this to me at all before.
Now I knew that there is really a Guardian Angel that watches over us! Praise the Lord.
Again, when I backed up the R.R., it suddenly lurched and was running very fast down a slope of the road. I really panicked and just turned the wheel as fast as I could.
It is good that the R.R. backed into the side of the mountain instead of towards the deep ravine. I could have died had the R.R. gone down with me there. Praise God, it was not yet my time to die.
As a solder, I was cleaning the parade ground at the foot of the cement stairway to the C.O.’s quarters. All of a sudden I heard a commotion upstairs. I saw two soldiers trying to stop a staff car from rolling down a steep slope. I rushed upstairs, jumped inside the car and stepped on its brake! It stopped!
Had the car fallen down the ravine, it would have landed on top of the church below. Lt. Bravo, who saw what happened, remarked, “It is good you knew where the brake is located.”
My uncle, who was on the balcony watching helplessly, later on asked me, “How did you know which pedal to step on?” He did not know that as a checker I learned how to drive. He himself did not know how to drive or ride a bicycle!
Before I left for Manila, he said, “If you can get promoted to Corporal within three years, you can sign in for another three years. Then if you can get promoted to Sergeant later on, you can already be a soldier throughout your life.”
At the time, in 1936, one could only become an officer after graduating from the Constabulary Academy, PNA. He never thought I would become an officer and even outrank him. He retired as a 1st Lieutenant. I retired as a Major.
Then after just seven months of service I was promoted from Private to Corporal, jumping the rank of Private First Class, at age 18! What a surprise he got. I guess he had never seen this happen before. He was then C.O., P.C. Detachment in Pampanga.
Years before I entered the service, he helped my cousin, Jesus Lopez, love child of Tata Equio, to enlist as a solder under him. Manong Jesus left the service without any promotion in three (3) years to become a guard in Bilibid Prisons and later on became a policeman in Manila.
Manong “Isus” helped me and Pat and Tony after my release as P.O.W. and I became a Cosbuso of a Caretela by letting us stay in one of the small one-room apartments under his house. When I was already a lawyer and Captain, he died of electric shock while repairing a socket inside their bathroom. May his soul rest in peace. He died a rich man.
Tata Anton also helped another cousin who enlisted as a solder and rose to the rank of T/Sgt., a Practicante (med. Tech.) to Major Fidel Solivan, D.C. in Bangued. He was Crisanto Bravo, who died from eating too much tamarind. His entire family perished during Word War II when his wife, Millong, and daughter, Soling, were killed by Japs in San Fernando, La Union, along the beach. I dated Soling when she was studying in Manila and we went to a show together for a good time before the war and before Pat and I were engaged. She was light in complexion, thin, fragile, and cute. May her soul rest in peace.