Alfred floored the gas pedal. We overtook convoy after convoy all headed the same way we were. The traffic was heavy and constant that all trees and brush within 50 yards from both sides of the road were heavily laden with dust. This gave us a natural camouflage. Once we were nearly crushed into eternity when we met another truck going just as fast in a narrow bridge. It wasn’t Alfred’s skill that saved us. It was Our Lady.
Somewhere in Dinalupihan, Bataan, we got our first real contact with the enemy. The truck was going at full speed when suddenly a plane dove from nowhere pouring lead along the road. Alfred stepped on the brakes, the truck was emptied in seconds, every one had dispersed to the field. It took us ten minutes to re-board the truck. The Philippine Constabulary convoy which we had just passed was bombed. Five trucks were lost.
As we drove further into Bataan, our hearts swelled with pride at the sight of Anti-Aircrafts and other field artillery pieces mounted in the rice fields, camouflaged, all ready for action. It was in Balanga, during one of our air raid scamperings that I first saw and examined a Garand rifle. All these I did while running for cover and watching dogfights. None of us were nervous. Each one only felt proud and privileged to be at the front. All we asked for now was a chance for equal combat with the enemy.
We arrived in Pilar, Bataan at about nine in the morning. The whole place was filled with hundreds of trucks. We then set out to locate the rest of our unit. We found part of it. The convoy Commander, the officer-in-charge of the S-2 (intelligence section much like a G-2) was nowhere. Only Company D was in the vicinity.
We had no supper and no breakfast. That made us sleepy, tired and hungry all at one time. The owner of the yard in which we parked the truck very generously opened his house to us. At noon, he offered us some tapa (dried beef) and rice. We will never forget the generosity of Mr. Victorio Rodriguez.
Alfred all the while had gone out in search of food. With the Ateneo Cadet Fund, which somehow was in his possession, he bought food for all of us.
We spent the afternoon sleeping, waiting for the rest of the convoy to materialize. Some volunteers in another truck, realizing the confusion and the disorganization, decided to return to Manila and there report for reorganization. They left much against our advice to stay and wait. In a way I was in their favor. But Burgos ordered us to stay and wait. These volunteers were ambushed by the Japanese in Guagua, Pampanga. We did not know it but the Japanese had entered Guagua only 30 minutes after our truck had passed through it.