We spent the whole day loading our truck convoy, consisting of all kinds of vehicles, including old buses commandeered for the trip to Bataan.
Manila was declared as an OPEN CITY to free it from all military objectives. And so we had to get out as soon as possible. Our convoy was supposed to start after dark to avoid air strikes on the way.
As we left the City, we could see as far as the Bonifacio Monument the explosion of gasoline tanks in the Pandacan Oil Dump. The fire reached such a height that it lighted our way up to Gulacan.
I had to put on my gas mask because of the cloud of dust, for the roads were not yet paved then. That was the first and the last time I ever used my very bulky gas mask!
It was daybreak when we reached Mariveles without any sleep. We proceeded into the jungle at Km. 125. All the trucks were camouflaged or put under the trees.
Our bivouac area was near a stream. After unloading, I felt tired, hungry, and sleepy. I found a shady spot under a tree and slept.
When I woke up, I was wet with perspiration and the sun was directly overhead, without benefit of the shade. I was exposed for around three hours!
Then we were told to dig in. It was hard to dig in between the tall trees because of the intertwined roots. Our tools consisted of our bayonets and a small shovel carried by us. I felt very hungry! It was past noontime and we had not tasted food since the first night!
When the rice was ready, it was burnt because the cooks didn’t know how to boil ride with a huge vessel.
Then came the famous remark, “WALANG SONOG NA TOFONG SA TAONG NEGOGOTOM.” (There is no burned rice to a person who is very hungry!)