Captain Donato escaped in Pampanga and made his way to Manila by "banca" - a small outrigger boat - and then by
freight truck to Vigan where he was once again interned. "I considered myself lucky," he said. "At least I was
He spoke modestly, with simplicity and understatement. He made his escape sound matter-of-fact, and did not label
it as an escape from the "death march." His manner reminded me of what Brendon Phibbs, in "The Other Side of Time,"
had written about people like General Lucien Truscott: "Having won, they're satisfied with the achievement; they're
not driven to seek their value in the gaze and the wonder of others . . ."
We discussed the liberation of Manila. Despite General MacArthur's ban on the use of aircraft to bomb enemy strong
points, damage was enormous. Instead of aircraft, the Americans used artillery to blast the Japanese out . . .
building by building. When the city was finally taken on March 3, 1945, the Filipino capital lay in ruins-it was
the most heavily damaged allied city after Warsaw.
But despite the liberation of the capital, the battle of Luzon was far from over. The greatest obstacle was the
110,000-man force of the Shobu group who held the north of the island. MacArthur had decreed that they "Be driven
into the mountains, contained and weakened. . . ." Eventually American and Filipino forces pushed the Shobu group
back into the mountains near Bontoc, to the southeast of Vigan, where they held out until the end of the war.