Favorite thing: Pilar is one of the municipalities included in the Industrial Hub of the ’W’ Growth Corridor. Being adjacent to the provincial capital and main commercial center Balanga, Pilar is the next site for industrial development in Bataan
The Pacific War started on 08 December 1941 with the Japanese Imperial Forces and the United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE). On January 1, 1942, major units of the United States Forces in the Philippines (USFIP) retreated to Bataan, Corregidor for a “last ditch stand” against invading Japanese, until assistance from the Unites States (which never came) shall arrive.
Meanwhile, the fall of Bataan became inevitable because of continuous Japanese onslaughts. Twenty-seven days later, the citadel of Corregidor fell on May 6, 1042.
Three years of Japanese Occupation ensued. During which, the Filipino-American forces gathered strength. The momentum of their combined effort culminated in the American landings at Leyte on October 20, 1044 and their subsequent return to Luzon on January 9, 1945.
Although most of the Philippine territories were already LIBERATED many battles had yet to be fought in view of the threatening resistance to the enemy. With the presence of General Tomoyuki Yamashita’s Shobu Army Group in Northern Luzon, the Battle of Besang Pass became unavoidable. The Pass, a key terrain, was the gateway to the Japanese fortress in the Mountain Province.
Fondest memory: On June 14, 1945, the Filipino forces, the USFIP-NL, finally recovered Besang Pass.
As expected, these three epics in the flight for freedom and justice were immortalized in the memories of the Filipino people, immediately after the defeat of the enemy in Northern Luzon on September 2, 1945. Many of those who participated in the epic battle began to work in commemorating the valor of those who participated in the last stand at Bataan, Corregidor and the Victory at Besang Pass.
On April 9, 1946, the fall of Bataan was commemorated in simple but meaningful rites, the fall of Corregidor followed shortly on May 6, 1946; eventually, the celebration of Besang Pass Day on June 14, 1946 was capped by the putting up of a marker on the spot where victory attained.
After thirty years of commemorating these three important historical events, it was decided to celebrate the events in Bataan, Corregidor and Besang Pass into one memorable day. This lea to the issuance of Letter Instruction No. 1087 dated November 26, 1980 displacing April 9 and every year thereafter, set as ARAW NG KAGITINGAN honoring those who sacrificed for the defense of democracy and freedom.
In 1989, Pres. Corazon Aquino issued Proclamation N0. 466 declaring the period from April 5 to April 11 of every year as Philippine Veterans Week with the view to promote, preserve and memorialize the principles, ideals and deeds of the Filipino war veterans as a means to enhance patriotism and love of country, specially among the youth of the land.
Pres. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo issued Presidential Memorandum Order No. 52 constituting a National Executive Committee to spearhead the celebration of this year’s observance of ARAW NG KAGITINGAN and Philippine Veterans Week.
National Executive Committee
For the 2002 Observance
Of Araw ng Kagitingan and
Philippine Veterans Week
The Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valor), a natural shrine atop Mt. Samat, is a regularly visited historical/tourist spot in Pilar.
Natural shrine atop Mt. Samat, which immortalizes the agony of the Filipino and Americans against the forces of aggression and articulates. The Commitment of the Filipino people in freedom and dignity...
Fondest memory: The Background: I get this background or history story of World War II last 2002 when we attended the celebration “Araw ng Kagitingan 2002 (Day of Valor)” together with lot of Veteran Filipinos and Americans who fought and come back to rejoined this day to the memories of history of their past.
To our war veterans: "we salute our hastily salute and sincerest gratefulness for your tremendous sacrifice and chauvinistic achievement in the defense of independence, social equality and liberation of our country and people! "
Favorite thing: I remember going up here when I was a child and I remember being able to see the beach on the Morong side as the sun was going down. You can point out the nuclear power plant on that side. This was the nuclear power plant that never went into action but was just part of a money making scheme during the Marcos era. You can see all this on a clear day. Unfortunately, it was hazy both times we went up there. So we had a limited view although very nice also.
Shown here Pedro and Juan cheating during an exam. Pedro and Juan are the national cheaters. Shown here copying notes they have hidden up their sleeves.
Hehehe. Kidding! This is actually a scene portraying THE BLOOD COMPACT. Filipino heroes cut themselves in the arm and then placed the wounds over each others believing that this would mix the bloods flowing in their veins....forging stronger ties than that of real brothers. This is an agreement that made them all blood brothers united for a single cause. Wow! Such a high tolerance for pain and such strong beliefs in their cause.
See more of these relief sculptures at the base of the Cross Monument up at Mt.Samat.
They should promote this site to schools. The relief sculptures and other art here would make great instructional tools when teaching history. At the least, they would learn to value the freedom and independence we are enjoying now paid for in blood by our ancestors.
"The Shrine of Valor" or "Dambana ng Kagitingan" is worth the visit. The place is historical as well as would give you the best view of the province of Bataan.
It would involve quite a bit of walking and climbing though. I would recommend driving the car up to the base of the cross, checking out the Cross monument and maybe explore the area and then when you are ready to visit the altar building, for the passengers to use the pathway zigzagging down the side of the mountain to the altar buildilng (Colonade). They use bloodstones from Corregidor Island for the footpath. And it is 14-flights zigzagging up or down.
Enjoy the magnificent scenery.
If you are interested to see more, more pictures and info in my travelogues. I hope you visit the place. Really worth it.
Walk around and discover many features of the Shrine of Valor. I think this is a well planned and constructed shrine. I'm turning into a Marcos loyalist, I think. (Hmmmm) Coz I've been noticing that even though they did start the downfall of the Philippines, they really did a lot of quality buildings/tourist attractions during their reign.
Shown in this picture is a marble relief of a war scene. You'd really have to walk around the altar building to see everything.
If you've got a vivid imagination, you can imagine how during WWII Mt.Samat seemed a formidable defense ground. You've got clear vista 360º and if you've got artillery up here, you can get encroaching enemies easily.
Here are some of the weapons used although these are probably good enough for just show now. Still, you can get a nice shot of your kids, even yourself, pretending to shoot these guns.
You can find these in the altar building grounds. Shrine of Valor, Mt.Samat.
It is amazing how there are no ants in this picnic area. hehehe. But dont take my word for it. Coz there is always the chance that you have mutant ants.
Even though we came up here around noon and the sun was up, it was still relatively cool in the shade. Must be because you have winds coming from the sea. You will enjoy a beautiful view of Morong on the left side of Bataan and Manila Bay on the right.
Have a picnic up at the base of the Cross Monument up at Mt.Samat. Enjoy the view and fresh air.
This is the best perspective to take your souvenir shot. But this shot cost me a butt picture. Crazy VTer took my pic while I was bending over almost lying on the grass just to get the cross and big cannon in the picture. Had a great time here with syllybabe and D._Pepper.
Be careful though as the ledge is a bit sloped and it is quite a long fall.
See more in my Pilar travelogues. Mt. Samat is really a great place to visit.
The collection is not large but would give you an idea of how it was during WWII. The museum is located up at Mt.Samat. Visit the "Dambana ng Kagitingan" or "The Shrine of Valor". You will find the museum located on the left side of the altar. You will have to climb the stairs up to the altar and then another flight down inside the building. But the museum is air conditioned and the items are well labeled.
I have more pictures in my travelogues when we visited the shrine last Oct 2002. If you are interested, the travelogues would give you an idea what to expect when you go visit the Shrine of Valor.