Last week, D and I were going to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan, and drove through foot of Mount Samat. Since we were on vacation, there was no actual schedule to follow, and when we saw the road sign that says Mount Samat National Shrine, we drove towards it on a whim.
Historically, Bataan is known as where the thousands of US and Filipino soldiers surrendered to the Japanese during the WWII. The infamous Bataan Death March started here, where the starving and sick soldiers were made to walk 80 miles to Capas, Tarlac. In memory of the brave fallen soldiers, Mount Samat National Shrine was erected.
Going up, D and I turned off our car radio, rolled down our windows and took in the sound of the forest. I’m always drawn to the sound of birds, so I was quite exhilarated. We passed by some cyclists heading up to the mountain, and I thought how lucky of them to live near this nature sanctuary.
At the summit we saw the giant cross up close. Stone carvings of Filipino heroes surrounded the base of the cross. The atmosphere in the shrine was peaceful, and as we looked out from the mountain top, I reflected on the fallen heroes’ courage and sacrifice.