Crisostomo's story is about rivalry gone too far, made worse by the unstable conditions of wartime and guerrilla warfare.
Married to Ester, Tomas and Concha Umali's fourth child, Crisostomo Salcedo was a native of Candelaria who was appointed to the post of Justice of the Peace of the town of Dolores in 1940. This would revive an old rivalry with Vicente Umali (not related to the Herrera Umali family), who wanted the same post, and who would, under cover of war, take his revenge.
"Nita Umali Berthelsen: If the horror of war is to be measured by tears, heartbreak, and death, then it is Ester who received her full share of it. It must be hers to tell or not tell the story which began in the house. Or maybe it began even before that, when Mitoy was appointed Justice of the Peace by Quezon, to the great disgruntlement of Vicente who wanted the post. Or again, it may have begun earlier, when he and Vicente were constantly competing in Law school."
The Herrera Umali family traveled the forests and hills of Dolores upon the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. By the time they returned to Tiaong in 1942, Vicente had fashioned himself the mayor of the town, collaborator with the Japanese. Later he'd turn guerrilla, founding President Quezon's Own Guerrillas (PQOG), which Crisostomo would join even as he moved above ground around Tayabas, and organized neighborhood associations in Tiaong.
Then Crisostomo bags a major post with USAFFE intelligence chief Maj. Bernard Anderson. Enraged, Vicente ends the rivalry in the forests of Batangas.
The family tragedy of these times would take the Herrera Umali family as far away from Tiaong as possible, to Colong-Colong and Unisan, even as the Americans returned to recover the islands from the Japanese.
This is the story of a family fleeing and surviving in the midst of the Japanese Occupation. This is the story of one Crisostomo Salcedo, lawyer from Candelaria Quezon, whose political involvement he had to pay for in his own blood.