Bataan: Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valour)

Located at the summit of Mount Samat in the town of Pilar in Bataan, Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valour) is a historical shrine built to honor and remember the Filipinos and American soldiers who fought for our freedom in World War 2. The shrine was designed by Lorenzo del Castillo and landscaped by Dolly Quimbo-Perez.

Also called Mount Samat National Shrine, Dambana ng Kagitingan is famously known for the beautiful colonnade and the memorial cross that towers above Mt. Samat. 
The towering cross has an elevator in it
The history marker found at the lower part of the cross

Speaking of the memorial cross, it is said that the cross is the second tallest cross in the world standing 92 meters tall atop the 555-meter Mt. Samat. At the base of the cross are marble slabs sculpted by National Artist Napoleon Abueva. Titled Nabiag Na Bato, these sculpted marble slabs depicts several important historical figures and events in Philippine history. 
The view from the peak of Mt. Samat
Check out the sculpted marble slabs...
One can also go inside the memorial cross and ride the elevator going to the viewing deck. From there, one can view the province of Cavite just across Manila Bay. He/ She can also see the vast lands of Bataan. Sadly, when we visited last April 2016 the elevator was out  of order (for several months already as I was told) hence, we didn't get the chance to go up the viewing  deck. 
The giant cross as seen from a distance

Historically, the construction of the memorial shrine complex was started after President Marcos laid its cornerstone on April 14, 1966. the shrine was completed and inaugurated in 1970, just in time for the 25th Anniversary of the end of World War 2. 

Here are the photos of the sculpted marble slabs:

I got to visit the Dambana ng Kagitingan during our Bataan-Tarlac Visita Iglesia. What I liked about the shrine is its well maintained road that allows vehicles to reach up until the summit (well, almost). Although some parts of the road are steep, drivers should still not worry because after the 10-15 minute drive up the mountain, he could park his car on a flat parking area. 
The kids seems to be enjoying this historical trip

Overall, Dambana ng Kagitingan is a nice place to view the vastness of Bataan and some parts of Cavite. However, if you are looking for World War 2 stuff, then this place is not for you. You won't see tanks or other WW2 related objects here (better go to Corregidor Island instead). The memorial cross and colonnade is but mere artistic objects that helps us remember the heroes of the past.

Getting there:
From Manila, ride a Genesis Bus Line or a Bataan Transit heading to Balanga City in Bataan. From Balanga City Central terminal ride a jeepney going to Cabog -Cabog and tell the driver to drop you off at the intersection going to Mt. Samat. Once there, you may choose to hike or rent a  tricycle to bring you to the shrine (expect an exorbitant fare though).
Going up!
The cross as seen from the parking area


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