Very early that morning we put off to sea after some delay and after repeated persuasions to stay because the invasion of Masbate was anticipated any time.
Somewhere along the coast, we sailed by a batel at anchor. The sails were rent. There were signs of disturbance on board. But no one was visible! A freezing chill sprung up my spine.
A storm broke all of a sudden. Rain poured on us. The waves buried us. I thought it would be our last day on earth. Ten foot waves developed and winds of gale proportion his us from the stern. The trong wind propelled us forward at terrific speed, our sailboat dipped in and out of the great waves. At one time, the sailboat tilted to one side so precariously that I had to run to the outrigger to counter-balance it, holding on for dear life on a thin gray wire steadying the mast.
Thus we were drenched to the bones, chilling like a bunch of malaria patients, our teeth chattering. I was worried about how the cold and the exposure would affect Papa.
Suddenly, the skies cleared, the seas calmed and the wind abated. Ahead of us, we saw a big house by the beach. We made for it. What a relief. The house was owned by a Spanish family who owned the coconut plantation that surrounded it. We were welcomed, and served a hot meal. We had a quiet time exchanging news with the Spaniards. Warmed and fed, we thanked our hosts and resumed our sailing. The sea was warm and smooth and a good wind blew us on our way.
At this point of our travel, Papa and I got to talking. Never did I feel so close to Papa. I had always kept a respectful and probably even fearful distance from Papa who was a disciplinarian and did not spare the belt on us during our childhood.
This time, I felt Papa’s human-ness, I began to feel we were friends. We talked of so many things, the family, the war, the world and God.