April 9 was declared as the “Araw ng Kagitingan” (Day of Valor) to commemorate the Fall of Bataan. It was the day when Filipino and US soldiers surrendered to the Japanese Army during World War II. We annually celebrate the day of valor but do we really know the story behind this historical day? Let’s have a short look at the monument built to commemorate this one very important day of the year. From our trip to Mount Pinatubo, we dropped by at Capas National Shrine in Barangay Navy, Capas, Tarlac to take a look at the memorial monument.
An entrance fee of Php10 is being collected at the gate by the guard on duty. A Philippine Flag raised on a pole will welcome you upon your entry. The obelisk is about yards away from the gate and you need to pass through the checkered path with mini-flagpoles flanked on both sides.
The shrine was redeveloped under Pres Fidel Ramos administration to express the indisputable respect to the World War II soldiers. The obelisk, which is 200 feet high, is the focal center of the shrine which stands for peace. The need-like tower has 3 sections that symbolize the Filipino, American, and Japanese people. A regulatory signal is installed atop the obelisk to symbolize the height of nationalistic aspiration of Filipinos towards peace and freedom.
Officially listed as a National Shrine on October 9, 1991, the place was originally established as Camp O’Donnell in 1940. It served as the center for the military training for the Filipino Youth. The Wall of Heroes Memorial, a circular wall around the obelisk cull the names of the more than 30,000 Filipino and American soldiers who fought for peace and freedom for our nation. The list was sorted by first name. I went over to find my surname and a surreal feeling engulfed me as I saw a name having my last name. SGT. Fortunato Abellera.
On the sides of the esplanade is a mini forest having 31,000 trees dedicated to the Filipino and American soldiers. A tree stands for each soldier imprisoned and died during the war. The project also aims to promote environmental consciousness in the preservation of trees.
This post is part of the Mount Pinatubo trip sponsored by Byaheng Victory, a collaboration of Victory Liner, the Philippines’ premiere bus transportation company and Travel Factor, the leading adventure travel company in the Philippines. Visit their website and book the adventures that will kick off your 2013. You can also follow them on Twitter and like their Facebook page to be updated of their upcoming tours.
CAPAS NATIONAL SHRINE