“Dambana ng Kagitingan” or the Shrine of Valor was erected atop Mt. Samat to memorialize the gallantry and epitomize the heroic stand of the Filipino and American forces who fought relentlessly from January to April 1942 at the Bataan Peninsula.
Suffering heavy losses against the Japanese all over Luzon, Filipino and American soldiers retreated to Bataan to regroup for a last valiant stand. The scene of their final stronghold is Mount Samat. The 73,665-hectare park itself is part of the bloody battlefield where the Philippines’ most intense fight against the Japanese Imperial forces took place. Almost half of the combined Filipino and American forces lost their lives in battle. Upon surrender, 12,000 American and 64,000 Filipino prisoners-of-war fell into Japanese hands. The infamous Bataan Death March and three years of cruel captivity awaited them.
However, despite these harrowing episodes in history, the unwavering and enduring spirit of thousands of Filipino and American World War II soldiers shone brighter. Even after the ‘Fall of Bataan,’ their gallantry kept the resistance movement alive, which eventually saw the freedom of the Philippines from the Japanese occupation.
Every 9th of April, the entire nation celebrates “Araw ng Kagitingan” (Day of Valor), highlighting instead the unconquerable spirit of our freedom fighters.
The shrine was commissioned in 1967 by then-President Ferdinand Marcos as part of the 25th year of commemoration of World War II.
For further information about the shrine, please contact:
MANOLO M. CASTILLO
Shrine Curator II
Philippine Veterans Affairs Office
Veterans Memorial and Historical Division
Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City
911-4296 / www.pvao.gov.ph