I was unable to post this on August 27 in time for our National Heroes Day.
We are always passing by a huge pencil as we call it – every time we go to Monasteryo de Tarlac.
And last August 19, we had a chance to visit it and know what’s in there, after having our mass at the Monasteryo.
The Capas National Shrine (Tagalog: Pambansang Dambana ng Capas) in Barangay Aranguren, Capas, Tarlac, Philippineswas built by the Philippine government as a memorial to Allied soldiers who died at Camp O’Donnell at the end of the Bataan Death March during the Second World War.
“This memorial is dedicated to the brave men and women who defied the might of the invaders at Bataan, Corregidor and other parts of the Philippines during World War II. Thousands died in battle, during the Death March, and while in captivity. Thousands more endured inhuman conditions at the prison camp in Capas, Tarlac. They suffered in the night so that their countrymen would wake to the dawn of freedom.”
Let me share you our pictures.
The site is a focus for commemorations on Araw ng Kagitingan (Valour Day), an annual observance held on 9 April—the anniversary of the surrender of US and Philippine forces to the Imperial Japan in 1942. There is also a memorial to the Czechsand some Slovaks who died fighting alongside the Filipinos and US soldiers.
The area where the Bataan Death March ended was proclaimed as “Capas National Shrine” by President Corazon Aquino on 7 December 1991. The shrine encompasses 54 hectares of parkland, 35 hectares of which have been planted with rows of trees to represent each of the dead.
On 9 April 2003, a 70-metre obelisk and new memorial wall were unveiled on the grounds of the former internment camp. The obelisk is surrounded by a three-segmented, black marble wall engraved with the names of the Filipinos known to have died during the Death March. There are also statistics about the total numbers of prisoners and deaths, together with poems for peace.
Nearby, there are three smaller memorials to the countries whose nationals died at the camp: the Philippines, the United States, and the Czech Republic (then Czechoslovakia). A small museum and monument is also on the site, built by an American group called the “Battling Bastards of Bataan”.
A few hundred meters from the Obelisk is a garden separated from the rest of the shrine by a creek that can be crossed via a hanging bridge. The relics of an old train and railings are also located in the shrine complex.
Rain shower joined us as we were walking around the shrine.
Entrance fee is Php20.00 for Filipino visitors and Php40.00 for foreigners, plus additional Php20.00 for parking fee.
So till our next historical spots to tell you guys.