Our next stop for the Holy Week was to check out Bataan’s famous Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valour). The memorial shrine complex was built to honor and remember the gallantry of Filipino and American soldiers who fought during World War II.
Bataan fell after three months of fighting when 78,000 exhausted, sick and starving men under Major General Edward P. King surrendered to the Japanese on 9 April 1942. It is the single largest surrender of U.S. soldiers in history. Together with the Philippine soldiers, they were then led on the Bataan Death March.
The scene of their last stronghold is Mount Samat, the site of Dambana ng Kagitingan. The shrine was conceived as a fitting memorial to the heroic struggle and sacrifices of the soldiers who fought and died in that historic bastion of freedom.
The memorial shrine complex was started with the laying of the cornerstone by President Marcos on April 14, 1966. Due to lack of funds, construction was unfinished for the 25th anniversary of the Fall of Bataan in 1967. The shrine was completed and inaugurated in 1970, in time for the 25th Anniversary of the end of World War II. – from Wikipedia
Mount Samat National Shrine is one of the most famous tourist spots in Bataan. It consists of a Colonnade and a large Memorial Cross. Here’s the beautiful front and back view of the Colonnade.
These bronze urns outside the Colonnade symbolize eternal flame.
The Colonnade is a marble-clad structure surrounded by an esplanade, itself surrounded by marble-clad parapets. Inside the Colonnade’s walls are surrounded with writings on how we should remember the soldiers who fought during the Battle of Bataan.
Passing through the Colonnade will lead you to the 14-flight zigzag footpath that leads to the base of the Memorial Cross.
The Memorial Cross is a majestic structure at the peak of Mount Samat, which is 555m above sea level. Its foot is covered with intricate sculptures of important events depicting important historical figures and events like the execution of Jose Rizal, Lapu-Lapu and Antonio Luna.
What’s more interesting about this shrine is that you can even go inside to the arms of the Memorial Cross via an elevator. There are about 200 people who go inside daily, according to the marshals. Tourists normally line up for 2-3 hours to experience the 360-degree breath-taking view of Bataan and Corregidor for only Php10.00/head.
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