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To Live in Freedom’s Light on Day of Valour – 09 April 2014

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The date 9 April 2014 is a national public holiday here in the Philippines and the celebration is called “Araw ng Kagitingan” or “Day of Valour”. This is a day when we commemorate the “Fall of Bataan” during World War II, thus the holiday is also known as “Bataan Day” or “Bataan and Corregidor Day”.

 

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Pacific War Memorial Museum in Corregidor Island, Bataan

 

What is the significance of the “Fall of Bataan” among Filipinos and Americans alike? Back in World War II, after the Japanese forces had invaded the Philippines, there had been many battles fought by the Philippine and American armies in order to liberate the country. The Philippine-US Army had shortage of food, medicine and ammunition. On 9 April 1942, they were forced to surrender to the Japanese.

 

Due to an unexpected large number of prisoners, the Japanese decided to move them by foot from Bataan towards another base in San Fernando, Pampanga. The distance between those two spots is around 140 kilometres or 90 miles, thus this tortuous long walk that the prisoners experienced is known as the “Death March of Bataan”. Many Filipino and American prisoners of war died due to dehydration, exhaustion, disease and starvation during their march. However, the story of these valiant soldiers did not end in defeat. There was a hidden glitch in the war plan of Japan that eventually emerged.

 

The prolonged siege and defence of the Bataan peninsula by the Japanese forces became their strategic disadvantage, because this hindered them from executing more aggressive battle plan. This gave the Filipino and US forces the opportunity to plan further for subsequent battles which eventually liberated the country from the Japanese.

 

This monumental part of Philippine war history is a reminder of the heroism of the Filipino and American soldiers who were relentless and unyielding in their fight for freedom during World War II.

 

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Something to remember. A historical landmark that tells the story of valour and heroism.

 

Day of Valour is celebrated yearly every 9th of April as a national observance. This is a day of parades which honours World War II veterans in different places around the country. The main venue of the celebration takes place in Mt. Samat Shrine in Pilar, Bataan where war veterans are honoured by the Philippine president.

 

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Art speaks about freedom: The “Eternal Flame of Freedom” memorial within the war museum grounds in Corregidor Island

 

This holiday also commemorates the historical significance of Corregidor Island in Philippine history. Corregidor Island is an island found at the entrance of Manila Bay, Southwestern part of Luzon Island. It is near Bataan and located in Cavite. This island’s location is strategic for the defence of Manila, thus it had several coastal artillery and ammunition. This was the key defence line against enemy warships.

 

Corregidor Island was formerly named Fort Mills. This is also known as the largest island that consisted the harbour defences of Manila Bay. This island also had a small military airfield for defence. Other than Fort Mills, other harbour defences were El Faile Island (or Fort Drum), Caballo Island (or Fort Hughes) and Carabao Island (or Fort Frank). These harbours were fortified during the American liberation of the Philippines.

 

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(Left) Ruins in Corregidor Island. (Right) One of the many cannons in Corregidor that defended the island and Manila.

 

In summary, Corregidor Island is best remembered for its military function during the invasion and liberation of the Philippines. This island was badly destroyed in the latter part of the war, thus today we find several ruins of building structures. In Luzon, Corregidor Island is noted as a beautiful tourist site.

 

 

Author: Marcelle Villegas  

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Photo source:

Pacific War Memorial – By Ash Clark, travel photographer and writer from Sydney, Australia http://themostalive.com/tag/corregidor-island/

Historical landmark – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bataan_Day

Eternal Flame of Freedom – http://www.filipinaexplorer.com/2013/03/a-walk-back-into-time-corregidor-island.html

Corregidor ruins – http://www.choosephilippines.com/locations/corregidor/

Corregidor defence – http://www.boardinggate101.com/2013/06/philippine-independence-day.html

 

References:

Day of Valor 2018 and 2019

http://www.filipinaexplorer.com/2013/03/a-walk-back-into-time-corregidor-island.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corregidor_Island

 

 

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