By United States. War Dept. Military Intelligence Division
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Smith had directed the camouflage operation and insisted that from the air it looked like a small island. To us it looked like a tug camouflaged with palm fronds, branches, and grass. It remained stuck on the bar for several hours until the tide came in and floated the craft. Smith then moved it up a small stream for unloading. The boat ran aground again within twenty feet of the bank, in water three feet deep. From there the cargo was unloaded by hand— or rather by head. A horde of barefooted, diminutive Filipinos, attired in abaca cloth shorts, waded from the boat to the shore in a steady stream, each bearing a sack of rice on his head.
It is completely different from Visayan, which prevails in the central islands—those south of Luzon and north of Mindanao—and Mindanao Visayan, again differing considerably, which is spoken on that island and to the south. In addition, the tribes living in the hills and jungles and on isolated islands have clung to their ancient tongues. Rearranging our gear into three packs reduced our loads to more manageable burdens. We then set out on the trail through the moun- Evacuation 25 tainous jungle.
About midnight, I was awakened by Graham Nelson, the young geologist, bursting into the room. “The Japs have landed in Masbate City and are coming this way. ” I asked, as I struggled to rouse myself. “Just got a phone call from Masbate,” he answered, and ran to wake up the others. Masbate City was the provincial capital, some thirty miles southeast of us. A good, mostly-paved coastal highway connected the two towns. Although we all knew we might have to run for the hills at a moment’s notice, no one had made any definite preparations for evacu- Evacuation 23 ation.