Friday, August 19, 2011

Mount Samat - A Tribute to Heroes

World War II will forever be enshrined in the hearts and minds of every Filipinos. It was during this time that hundreds of Filipino and American soldiers perished at the hands of Japanese forces. My grandfather was one of them. He fought the battle and survived. There were lots of commemorative places built after the war but nothing can be compared to the Shrine of Valor atop Mount Samat in Pilar, Bataan.


This place center around the Memorial Cross built in 1966. It is a towering structure made of concrete, steel and marble with beautiful stone and metal sculptures of soldiers depicting significant battles and historical events. It is 92 meters high and the arms’ length is 15 meter on each side. It is 555 meters above sea level.

Stone Sculptures at the base of the Cross


Filipino and American Soldiers facing Japanese Forces


The Cross also featured historical figures like Lapu-Lapu of Mactan


Sculptures were collectively called "Nabiag Nga Bato"


Sculptures in a Heavy Metal Door


Tribute to Men and Women of War


The Shrine of Valor


My grandfather died almost a two decades ago but I can still recall how colorful his wake were because of the American flag that spread over his coffin and the Philippine flag proudly hanged on the wall. From what he once told me, it was a nightmarish time of hunger, disease and death. It is almost impossible for us to understand the suffering of all those soldiers he once knew.

And I thank these commemorative places because they remind me of my grandfather and all the men and women who fought for our country. They were true heroes.


This is my contribution to My World. To see other amazing entries, please click here.


Look-Back Friday. Originally posted on March 23, 2009.

63 comments:

  1. Looks like our country had a common enemy back then, the Japanese. I think our soldier fought alongside Commonwealth countries soldiers such as Britain, Australia and Canada.

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  2. Yes you can be proud of your grandfather and proud of those people who offered their lives during the world war II, they are true hereos in our heart and mind.

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  3. at last. a place i have gone to. the steep ascend to the mountain overwhelms but the shrine will not disappoint… it is a beautiful place… the weapons used are displayed… very informative museum… but the best part of my visit was sitting inside the arms of the cross feeling the cold air and it is not just a breeze. the moment made me not want to leave.

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  4. Your grandfather was a brave soldier. Yes, I heard of horrible stories of WW2 and my maternal grandad was almost killed but he play dead on the beach where tons of men were forced to kneel there and faced the firing squad. They killed many able young man then cause the Japanese Soldiers worried these able men would threathened their lives.

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  5. wow! so meron ka palang dugo ng hero ah!! ang galing! you should be really proud.. ^^ how can i forget what they have done to our dear country..

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  6. I like your shots of the cross. Nice! Were these originally shot in black and white?

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  7. landmarks like this one should remind us not only of our heroes, but also of the sufferings of our people, the civilians---particularly women, children and the elderly. war is hell, according to my grandparents. dapat hindi na talaga mauulit.

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  8. I love this, my lolo died a hero as well as he was also a veteran for the WOrld War II, just saddens me that i wasn't around when he died, and that wasn't even around during his wake, I have not said my goodbyes to him fully well.

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  9. Ganda at nakablack & White pa. Hmmm I remember, san na dito ang mga pose ni Lawstude?

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  10. Now I'm proud to say na nakapunta ako dyan LOL. I like the shot of that magnificent cross. I remember taking the elevator up to the vertical part! The view from those windows are awesome, not to mention the non-stop breeze! I regret not having loads of photos of me in there.

    Just looking at your darn good photos gives me goosebumps. I'm touched at the same time because a lot of our men fought in here but then the dreaded word, The Fall Of Bataan.

    I salute your Grandfather and everyone who were part of it.

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  11. I'll put up your link on my latest blog post because I'm proud of your photos and our countrymen! :)

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  12. i love these sculptures! :) i haven't been to bataan. tnx to your lolo and all the other brave soldiers. i can't imagine if we were still under som other nation's rule...

    btw, my dad insists kamag-anak namin si gabriela silang. hahaha...

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  13. I think its really an honor for those people who fought for freedom to be a statue someday! lol

    ganda na naman ng mga shots as usual :)

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  14. nakita ko lang to sa malayuan hindi ko pa talaga napupuntahan. naalala ko yung mga pictures mo dyan doon sa bilog sa bintana nito.

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  15. Poignant and heart provoking. Thanks so much for sharing...thanks to your Grandfather for being a hero.
    Sandi

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  16. wish ko lang alam ko ang papunta doon. ang dami kong gustong puntahan na malapit lang dito sa amin kaso di ko alam ang pagpunta sa mga lugar na un.

    madmi tlaga ang nangyari noong panahon ng giyera dito. sana lang di na natin maranasan un lalo na ngyong crisis

    alam mo naiingit ako sa inyo ni kuya Dong kase kahit saan nakakapunta kyo.

    Nagpunta ka dyan sa bataan, alam mo ba kung saan ung Spanish Village?

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  17. Lawstude I am glad you showed up close the details of the cross. I have seen this cross featured so many times and I don't remember the bloggers showing the details. Thanks.

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  18. It is a very impressive place... that cross is huge.

    You can be proud of your grandfather !

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  19. @ borneo falcon - yup. we belong to the allied forces against the japanese. really horrible stories but i believe japan had now made amends.

    @ gaston - i agree 100%

    @ vinzent - i agree. but i still can't get over how steep the driveways are. one of my hardest ride ever.

    @ alicesg - yup. i grew up hearing these horrible stories of survival. i just can't bear the thought of sufferings they had back then.

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  20. @ cyndirellaz - i believe every filipino has a heroes' blood in them. with almost a century of capture and under foreign rule, we Filipinos should really be proud to be finally free. and i thank our grandfathers and ancestors who fought for us.

    @ andy briones - thanks andy. nope, i changed them to b & w for that nostalgic feel.

    @ luna miranda - i agree. nobody wins in war. lots of casualties and sufferings, that's why i dread those countries who invade other countries because of what will happen to the women, children and the elderly.

    @ sheng - since there is no closure, but i guess there are alternative mediums like blogging for that. you can say your goodbye and thank you to your lolo thru your blog.

    @ redlan - salamat. hahaha. tinanggal ko dito yun kasi kakatuwa yun eh. medyo nostalgic kasi post na to.

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  21. @ halfcrazy - thanks for the link. i am so glad that the elevator was working because there are times that it isn't working and you have to climb stairs just to reach the observation deck.

    @ reena - wow. i have heard stories about gabriela silang in abra. very courageous woman.

    @ christian bryan - thanks. puro patay lang may statue no?

    @ the dong - ah yun ba? hehe. fun time yun sa observatory deck ng cross. konti pa lang tao nun kaya nakapagpose pa kami ng ganun.

    @ sandi mcbride - thanks. our countries have too much history shared among us.

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  22. @ justkyut - minsan sama ka samin ni dong sa mga lakad namin. backpackers nga lang kami.

    i have already features the spanish village used as the set of zorro. check out my bataan links in my category and look for Real De Acuzar.

    @ photo cache - yeah i agree. they mostly featured the mountain and the cross and the war paraphernalias so I featured the stone and metal sculptures for a change.

    @ gata verde - gracias!

    @ sidney - thanks. i am proud of him and all those other soldiers who defended my nation.

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  23. What a magnificent memorial! And how beautifully your photos tell the story! You have every reason to be proud of your grandfather as I'm sure he would be and is proud of you. Thanks for sharing this very personal piece of your world!

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  24. My father was a soldier too during WW2.He received pension after the war at nakabili ng tatay ko nag sinaka nya kaya kami napag aral nya. Sayang nga lang wala na sya at hindi mariceive yung 9 thousand dollars na pinamimigay ngayon ng US veterance s mga Veterano.
    Thanks for posting. Namiss ko ang tatay ko at proud na rin isa sya gaya ng lolo mo na nakipaglaban para sa ating bansa.

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  25. That is quite a monument. This is a terrific post. I like how you put your heart into it because of your grandfather.

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  26. 92 meters? It must be even more impressive in real life than it is here. A great post, thanks!

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  27. Makes me want to go home at bumisita dyan.

    Nice post!

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  28. im so proud to be a bonifide citizen of Bataan. My grandfather is also a hero during the second war and he managed to survive. I have really good memories in Mt. Samat when i was young. And now that I’m grown up, I still have the chance to go there when a mass and prayer “rally” is held there led by our Bishop Socrates Villegas. and we actually climb the Shrine by foot. so we spend like 2 and a half hours before we actually reach the cross. But it’s an amazing experience. Really..:)

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  29. Hello Lawstude, I would like to go to this place with some friends. How can I reach it by ferry from Manila ? and from this place can I go to Corregidor Island also by Ferry? if not, where in Bataan can I ride a boat going to Corregidor island. Thanks a lot.

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  30. I like the photo of the memorial cross! And all those sculptures at the base of the cross are awesome!

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  31. Nice photos you've got there. You did travel a lots. So nice.

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  32. Poignant post and hat's off to your lolo and all the war veterans and heroes. Thanks for sharing.

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  33. LS: That is a wonderful tribute to the men who fought in WWII. You captured it very nicely.

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  34. These are quite impressive sculptures, my two grandfathers were also part of the war and I've also heard of their accounts during the war. I've still got so much to explore in the Luzon parts. Thanks for the visit kabayan.

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  35. LOL climb the stairs? I don't think I can do that! I might collapse halfway!

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  36. Very impressive monument! Thank you for sharing these pictures! My father sailed during the war from Australia to England and to the USA and back again. They sailed with other allied forces throughout the war. I have a post tomorrow about my experiences during the war as a child in a Japanese concentration camp. Thanks for your visit to the Netherlands.

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  37. Strangely enough, this is the first time I've seen this monument. I guess it's not as famous outside the Philippines as it is at home. It would be quite a work of art even without the additional significance.

    Personally, I'm hoping for the day when our artwork doesn't need to have that kind of significance. But until then I'm glad there are those like your grandfather (and mine) who are willing to face down evil.

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  38. Your B&W photos,all of them has all the beauty of it's own.Nostalgic.

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  39. @ sylvia k - wow. nice words. he was long gone before i become a lawyer but i guess he is looking down on me from heaven.

    @ nanaybelen - sayang nga hano? pero i remember those pensions really well kasi lagi may blow-out noon lola ko pag dumadating na ang pension.

    @ louise - thank you very much.

    @ chrome3d - it is really big and you can see the cross on a clear sunny day even from the shores of manila bay.

    @ shey - thanks. i hope you could visit the place when you come home.

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  40. That stopped me in my tracks, to say the very least. Very impressive, my friend. Thanks.

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  41. @ rp cutee - really wonderful going up there because of the shrine and the view up there.

    @ vanessa - we brought our own car when we got there so your question got me googling and here is what i got:

    at the CCP Terminal in Roxas Boulevard you can ride at Mount Samat Ferry that will lead you to port of Orion. Then you have to rent a van or jeep from Orion to Mount Samat Shrine.

    If you wanna go to Corregidor, you can go to Cabcagen and rent some boat there going to Corregidor. Just brace yourself for a rough ride though.

    Alternatively, you can go back to CCP Complex and book a ride at the Suncruiser going to Corregidor.

    @ foongpc - thanks for liking them.

    @ superman - i love traveling and taking photos of my travels. thanks for visiting.

    @ jenn - thanks too.

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  42. @ fishing guy - both our countries have shared histories of war. thanks for liking the photos.

    @ today's blah - salamat kabayan. and thanks to our lolo who defended us during the war.

    @ halfcrazy - it is a good exercise lol.

    @ reader wil - i will look forward to your post. thanks for visiting too.

    @ mojo - the structure is really impsing because of its length and because it is on top of the mountains.

    i personally share your thought too. let us stop war from happening again.

    @ unclewang - thank you very much.

    @ sandycarlson - thank you my friend.

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  43. kasama ka ba sa mga rebulto? joke. haha

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  44. Uy, black & white. When I took a siminar in photography, black & white is the hardest subject.Anong medium mo, film or digital camera?

    I like your take sa "cross" with the skyline as background. : )

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  45. pards naalala ko din tuloy lolo ko. sundalo din siya nung panahon ng hapon at nasali pa sa death march. yun nga lang ay nagawa niya tumakas sa pagtalon sa isang tulay habang di nakatingin ang mga bantay na hapon.

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  46. Stunning photographs of an apt memorial to remember those who gave their lives for our freedom. We will not forget them. Thanks for sharing your world with us and your kind comments on my site.

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  47. That's a beautiful memorial. My father fought in WWII. He's gone now, but I think it's important to remember what our ancestral heroes sacrificed to preserve our way of life. Thanks for sharing.

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  48. wala na akong naabutang lolo kaya walang kwento about WWII ... my grandma though blamed a lot of thing on WWII .. including getting married at 16 for fear of getting raped.. hehe

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  49. Excellent tribute. Great photos.

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  50. 92 meters? Edi halos kasing taas nito ang Statue of Liberty?

    My family name sounds Japanese. Sana di ako lahing japanese. waha!

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  51. Wonderful post. We all owe those men (and women!) so much. Most of my family ancestors in WWII fought in Europe.

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  52. wow! ang galing ng pics mo sa Mt. Samat. Got me wanting to get back there. Tsus! it was so difficult for us to get a ride going up and down there, we had to walk long. Good thing, there were good Samaritans who helped us get a ride.

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  53. have to been to the american cemetery sa fort?
    dami photo ops don
    =)

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  54. @ vanny - ngek. buhay na buhay pa naman ako eh. :)

    @ blogusvox - ako wala pinasukan na seminar. puro self taught-kalikot lang. digital na medium ko eh pero dati film ako.

    @ madbong - wala yan sa lolo ko (eat bulaga mode) hehehe. pero seriously bro, we owe then a lot and we thank your lolo and all the lolos who fought for us.

    @ bingskee - thanks.

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  55. @ mannanan - we certainly won't forget them. thanks for the visit.

    @ janie - you should really be proud of your father. thanks to him also.

    @ jericho - ayaw maging comfort woman lol. naalala ko tuloy yung joke na dati pag dumadating ang mga hapon sumisigaw mga tao na "magtago na kayo anjan na mga hapon". ngayon kasi ang sinisigaw na " magsilabas na kayo, anjan na mga hapon".

    @ antigoni - thanks.

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  56. @ fortuitous faery - thanks.

    @ allen yuarata - ok lang yun. magsisisi naman na mga skang eh lol.

    @ alan - our countries were allies in ww2 and many americans died in my country.

    @ marites - the ride was not easy too kasi ako nag-drive tapos ang hirap ng curve pataas. masyadong sharp curved.

    @ raft3r - di pa eh. meron ako gusto puntahan sa clark eh. cemetery yun ng mga namatay during ww2.

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  57. my uncle was part of the death march :( but he survived to tell the tale. thanks for posting.

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  58. Long live our heroes. Although it sounds a bit ironic because most of them are dead.

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  59. Stunning composition and angle!

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  60. Beautiful view, a real treat ... Excellent B & W.

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