Living in The Philippines > Places to Visit/ Things to Do

Mt Samat - Bataan Death March Memorial


I visited the Mt Samat Shrine, which is the Bataan Death March Memorial in Pilar, Bataan peninsula. There is a Death March Marker in Mariveles which is the start of the death march and there is another monument in Tarlac, which is the end of the march. Capas National Shrine.

From the main road, there is a big sign showing where to turn to go up to the mountain. It's 6 km from that turn to the top. Trike drivers will charge you 100 p per person to take you to the top. It's steep, but some people were walking. At the Mt Samat Shrine (also known as Dambana ng Kagitingan), there is an entrance fee. 50 p for foreigners, 30 p for locals, and a 40 p fee for cars. It was foggy when I went and it gave it an interesting feel. There was an artillery gun next to the shrine and there were 2 walls which told the history of the battle between the Japanese, Americans, and Filipinos. I didn't see it, but there is a door on the left side where you can go downstairs to a small museum. You can walk up the stairs and see the big cross. For 10 p, you can ride the elevator to the top of the cross and get a 360 degree view of Bataan. There are a few monkey hanging around, a small store, and restrooms. If you like history, it's worth a stop, but it's kinda out of the way and I don't care for the dual pricing for foreigners. You can probably see it all in 1 hour or less.

When I lived in Orion, Bataan I could see that cross just by looking out the back sliding doors.  There was a 15 hectare open land field behind the house then the woods started on the other side of that.  Mount Samat was due straight back and on top of it was that cross.

The one time I decided I had the desire and energy I took off on the hike from my house to it(probably around 7km each way as the road going back to it was about a kilometer down the road and I was living on a "service" road that ran along the national road. so I crossed my "road" and walked up a 4' incline that was maybe 15' long to the national road then just down it to the road to the memorial).  Took me over and hour(like you said, the roads are steep) to make it up the "zig zag" road to the top.  Paid the fees and got into the cross.  I was joined about half way up the road going up the mount by some locals.  It was more I caught up to them, then slowed down as we began to talk. 
We went up the elevator to the top "look out".  I sat on the bench to rest before I got up the gumption to make the walk back.  Then the cloud levels lowered enough to where we were in the clouds up there and the clouds began to enter the lookout.  I joked with the kids I met along the way that I was going to take the clouds back as a souvenir.  I started to grab the clouds and stuff them in my pockets.  Their dad laughed.  They gave me funny faces.
They do an Easter Service there every year(or at least they use to) and that place got super packed.  Cars would fill up the top parking lot, then the 2nd one, then follow the road all the way down to the road that came off from the national road, then start down that road on both sides going towards the national road.  It was pretty crazy.  They have a "pavilion" style place to sit under for those up there.
Anyway, it is a sorta cool spot to visit if you are in Bataan.  I put it right behind Corrigidor Island.  At least for the places that I've visited.  There is a female historian from Pilar that use to lead tours on the Bataan Death March that also owned a resort on Manila Bay.  I spent a couple nights there as a guest of hers after I bumped into her at a local event.  She has a book written based on real events that happened.  I think it was called something like "Captain Highpockets" or something close to that about a Filipina woman who could "smooze" Japanese troops and learn secrets from them and hide the notes she took in her bra.  The japanese would not search her and that's how she was able to transmit messages from her findings and later between American and Filipino troops.  The woman actually existed...but the story is more about her exploits with some fictional story to put her on a mantle...if you will.  She gave me a copy, but sadly, I do no know any longer where it is.

Thanks for sharing that information.  When I retire it's on my bucket list.  Thanks again

I take it from your post you no longer live in Bataan.

Spin, you are correct.  I was there when working for a corporation(funny situation that allowed for me to live there).  I left in 2009 to return to work in the USA for about another year before I got early retirement.
I now live in the Visayas.  Very happy with how it all turned out. 


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