Shrine of Valor (Dambana ng Kagitingan)

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The Mount Samat National Shrine or Shrine of Valor is a historical shrine located near the summit of Mount Samat in the town of Pilar, Province of Bataan, Philippines. The memorial shrine complex was built to honor and remember the gallantry of Filipino and American soldiers who fought during World War II.

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 Consisting of a colonnade and the large Memorial Cross, the park started the construction in 1966,  by laying of corner stone by the late president Ferdinand E. Marcos, as himself a war veteran. The shrine was completed and inaugurated in 1970 in time  for the 25th anniversary of the end of World War II.

 The Memorial Cross stands as remembrance to the soldiers who fought and lost their lives in the Battle of Bataan. The shrine complex also includes a war museum with a wide collections from painting of the Philippine heroes, to armament used by the Filipino, Americans and Japanese forces during the war.

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In the center of the colonnade is the altar and the 3 religious stained glass murals. Four large bronze chandeliers hang from the ceiling, while inscribed in marble on the 2 lateral walls is a narrative of the “Battle of Bataan”

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From the parking going up to colonnade there’s a wide stairways, that leads to the flagpole that holds a flag of the Philippines, and the two bronze urns on the both sides that symbolizing the eternal flame.

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The peripheral is beautifully landscaped with beautiful  plants and  decorated with a World War II military equipment’s such as machine guns, canons  and others both from American and Japanese troupes.

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View of the Colonnade from the footpath.

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Behind the colonnade is a 14 flight zigzag footpath  that leads up to the base of Memorial Cross. While climbing up, you will notice the beauty of the place.

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The base of the Cross is designed  with murals of the Filipino figures and events  in a different colonial eras of the country. The designed was so significant and historical.

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To go on top, there is an elevator at Php. 10.00 per person. During peak seasons, you must stand in line and wait for your turn.

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There are two wings of the cross that serve as viewing gallery.

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Two circular portholes at the edge side of the cross that also  served for viewing.

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After an exhausting  ascension, take your moment, relax and marvel at the beauty above.

At the top the visitors can seat and relax with the cold and strong breeze hit on your body and face while  gazing a magnificent 360 degree view of Bataan Peninsula, Corrigidor and  Manila Bay on a clear and sunny day.

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The Colonnade as seen from the front side of the viewing gallery of the Memorial Cross

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At the other side of the viewing deck is the  panoramic view of the rolling hills of  Bataan Peninsula.

 

The War Museum

Under the Colonnade is the war museum, where framed pictures, assorted memorabilia, and  old military uniforms are in displays.  Military equipment are also found here, such as , guns, rifles, bayonets, and many among others. What makes more interesting here is the terrain model of Bataan peninsula identifying the location of Filipino and American forces and Japanese military  during the Battle of Bataan. Unfortunately, there is a NO PHOTOGRAPHY rules inside the museum.

 

 The Mount Samat National Shrine is a must to visit for every Filipino, It is not the adventure nor the fascinating sight  of the place, but  the important significance of it for every Filipino. The Dambana ng Kagitingan shows the sacrifices made by the World War II heroes, who gave their lives  to demonstrate the form of nationalism,  love for democracy and freedom of the country.

 

 

Getting there:

By Own Car

From Manila (Balintawak) take the North Luzon Express Way (NLEX) and then the Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) ,exit in Dau, Mabalacat, take the road to Subic and exit to  Dinalupuhan , from Dinalupihan take Roman Highway till reaching the Mount Samat Junction. Alternative route, is take San Fernado Exit, drive westward,  along the way to Layac, Dinalupihan Bataan. Drive straight along the Roman Highway till raeching the Mount Samat Junction. Travel time from Manila is about 2 to 2.5 hours.

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By Public Transport

Genesis Bus, and Bataan Transit is servicing all routes to Bataan from Manila. They have bus terminal in Pasay, Cubao and Avenida. Take the bus heading Balanga Bataan, head on to Balanga Central Terminal then take a jeep bound to Bagac or Cabog Cabog, (Php.24.00)  Tell the driver that you are going to Mount Samat and dropped off at intersection going to the shrine. Take tricycle,for Php. 100.00 per person one way.

For updated fare and bus schedule please contact Genesis Bus 02-421-1425 and 02-709-0803 For Bataan Transit 02-352-4727 and 02-709-4049

From the tricycle terminal its about 6 kilometers winding and steep road leading to the shrine.

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Other Information’s

  •  Entrance Fee  Php. 20.00
  • Spacious parking area for  Php. 20.00
  •  Elevator Fee Php.  20.00
  • Open everyday from  8:00 am -5:00 pm
  • The height of the cross is 92 meters from the base
  • The tower is  555 meters above sea level
  • The shrine complex  is approximately  73,665 hectares
  • Completed and inaugurated in 1970
  • Commissioned by the late President Marcos
  • Decent restrooms  facilities are available.
  • Canteen  and souvenirs shops available within the complex.

 

 

Source of Information:

Wikipedia