Events | Travel

Mt. Samat National Shrine: Commemorating the 78th Araw ng Kagitingan

April 9, 2020
Sunset image of Mt. Samat in Bataan as seen from Manila Bay. Photo courtesy of Philippine Star.

Breath-taking photos of Mt. Samat Memorial Cross, as seen from the now clear skies of Metro Manila, have been circulating lately. Mt. Samat National Shrine located in Pilar, Bataan is a popular, must-see spot in Bataan especially for motorbike riders because of its challenging terrain and fantastic viewpoint. Have you been to this national shrine lately?

Artwork (“Sa Manlulupig, ‘Di Ka Pasisiil) designed by J. Pangilinan

Today is the 78th Day of Valor (Araw ng Kagitingan 2020). Luzon is under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) so Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) has no choice but to cancel events related to the celebration of Araw ng Kagitingan, along with the week-long activities for the Philippine Veterans Week. But it’s okay. No better way of honoring our war veterans than by becoming today’s heroes. We are at war with COVID-19 anyway.

Normally, April 9 is a regular holiday, whose activities are televised since the highest government official of the land is on Mt. Samat leading the celebration. He is joined by the few living veterans and the family of the deceased ones. Last year, the Vice President along with several foreign dignitaries including the papal nuncio were present for the celebration. (We were expecting the president up to the night of April 8 but he suddenly wasn’t able to join.)

Vice President Leni Robredo for 77th Araw ng Kagitingan Mt. Samat. Photo Courtesy of PVAO Facebook Page.
Araw ng Kagitingan Celebration last year (2019) at Mt. Samat.

Mt. Samat Shrine including the underground war museum is currently closed because of ECQ. It will reopen once the ECQ is lifted. There have been changes already in the shrine and more developments are to be expected. So make sure to include Mt. Samat on your next visit to Bataan! Here are some up to date information you may need to know.

Drone image of the memorial cross by journalyn.com
Mt. Samat Memorial Cross in Bataan. You can “climb up” on the tallest cross in the world through its inside elevator. Access is inclusive in the entrance fee so don’t lose your tickets.

Operating Hours: Mt. Samat National Shrine is open from Mondays to Sundays, 8AM-5PM. Last call for the elevator which can take you to the top of the Memorial Cross is 4:30 in the afternoon.

Address: Mt. Samat Road, Brgy. Diwa, Pilar, Bataan.

Colonnade
Colonnade. Do you letter “M” markings on the floor? That’s not a coincidence. The national shrine was built during the time of then President Marcos. Drone image of Mt. Samat Colonnade by journalyn.com

Access:

By Private Transportation – Bataan can be accessed via the Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and exit to San Fernando City. Take Jose Abad Santos Avenue that will pass through Guagua and Lubao. Continue to Bataan Provincial Highway. When you reach an intersection in Pilar, turn right onto Gov. JJ Linao National Road. Turn left to Mt. Samat Road. The road can be seen after the Death March Marker (KM. 19).

If from Subic or Clark, take Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway(SCTEX) and exit to Dinalupihan.

By Commute – Ride a bus from Cubao or Avenida to Balanga, Bataan. At the Bataan Common Terminal, take a jeepney bound to Cabog-Cabog. Drop at the road leading Mt. Samat and hire a tricycle going to the Shrine (Php150 one-way).

Thru Ferry -From Esplanade Seaside Terminal in Seaside Blvd, Pasay City, take a one-hour ferry ride to Port of Capinpin in Orion, Bataan. Ride the free shuttle service and go down in the intersection in Brgy. Ala-uli, Pilar. From there, hire a tricycle going to the Shrine.

Altar of Valor in Mt. Samat, Pilar, Bataan. This is where the wreath in memory of our war veterans are being offered by the President every April 9.
Did you know that Mt. Samat Underground War Museum has its own mobile app? It can be downloaded for free when you visit the war museum.
Mt. Samat Underground War Museum is an Augmented Reality Museum! More of this on my next blog post.
Museum visitors can be assisted by a virtual tour guide. Mobile phones with pre-downloaded app can be rented for Php50. The app plays related World War 2 videos when pointed to specific photos found inside the museum.

Entrance Fee: Locals- Php 35;  Students- Php 20;  Foreigners- Php 50

Parking Fee: Big vehicle: Php 150 ;  Small vehicle: Php 40

Contact Numbers: Ms. Lyn Sabiling, Shrine Curator – +639494130762;  Mr. Rizaldy Mamuad, Museum Curator – +639958118849

Facebook Pages: Mt. Samat FTEZ Facebook Page and PVAO Facebook Page

Leave a Reply