Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Philippine History: Visiting the Mount Samat National Shrine Where The Fall of Bataan Happened in 1942


When my brother told me that he and his workmates are spending an overnight stay in Bataan, I insisted to join since two of them are not joining. I am cool with sharing the costs because for sure this would be the cheapest way possible for me and the soonest to visit this province . I was literally screaming with joy when we learned that we'll spend a night in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar (blog post on the way, saving the best for last). I have mentioned this place over and over before but the plan won't push through as this is not the kind of place backpacker's like me who are on a tight budget would visit.  I meant, if I can spend this same money on an out of the country trip, why not right? My focus right now is to invade SE Asia.




We left Manila around 6am then reached Bataan 11amish so it is a 4 hour ride through a hired van. Before heading to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, we dropped by in Mount Samat National Shrine, part of Mount Mariveles which is 1, 787 feet high. Historically  Mount Samat is where the battle of against the Japanese soldiers took place in 1942. Filipino and American soldiers hid here but after three months about 80, 000 sick of them surrendered to the Japanese colonizers.



This is the photo Mt Samat Cross in Wikipedia. I have believed all the way that it is just a big, plain and tall cross until I went there to find out it was more than that...


When we reached the top, we had to walk for 20-30 minutes up on a cemented stairs to reach the Mount Samat cross - the peak of the shrine. I was only expecting a cross, that is it but what I saw is a very big, wide cross with an elevator inside that can fit 8 people. It was really cold and foggy when we got there. I regretted bringing my sweater.

If you can see from my photo above, the whole place was covered literally with fog, that the tower or the head part of the cross is not visible. There was a long line of tourists waiting outside to get in. Since there is a limited number of people that should go up and stay in the tower, we had to wait longer.

When it's finally our turn, we're like like squeezed inside a can of sardines, the elevator inside Mount Samat is so far the smallest one I have ever rode in the Philippines. There's no other floor because it is a straight ride to the top. Since it was really cold and it was zero visibility that time, we have not seen anything from the top. The guard said we could have a 360 degree view of Bataan and nearby provinces there.  



 As you can see from the picture above and below, while that time Metro Manila was hot, here which is just 4 hours away - you can have the weather of Baguio in certain days.


This is the view inside the cross which is divided into two parts. Each of these wings are as big as the classroom. Since we can barely see what's outside we chatted the whole time we are there. We can hear the swissing strong sound of the wind which is so cold that an aircon or electric fan is no use here.



Mount Samat's busiest day could be every Valor Day or Araw ng Kagitingan, a national holiday commemorating these fallen Filipino and American soldiers. Every ninth of June, a ceremony is held here. Mount Samat shrine is divided into two - Colonnade and the Memorial Cross. The Colonade is like a bare house made of marbles and an altar with three religious stained glass murals and a museum downstairs containing memorabilias and photographs of WW 2.


The Mount Samat Memorial Cross is 92 meters tall and standing 555 meters above sea level. It is made of steel and like I said has an elevator inside that brings people up to the arms of the cross. It only took us an hour to explore Mount Samat National shrine.  Entrance is only Php20 each.

How to reach Mount Samat National Shrine

By public transportation:
Bataan Transit or Genesis Bus has a Balanga City route for Php 200. When you reach Balanga central terminal, take a jeep to Cabog - Cabog. Then hire a tricycle for Php 100 per person.

By private vehicle:
From NLEX you can head take the route to San Fernando, Pampanga then Dinalupihan. Through Ramon Superhighway, find your way to Mount Samat Junction. 

Mount Samat National Shrine is included in our BATAAN HERITAGE TOUR + SUBIC Day Tour package. If you want to join please click here to check the complete list of schedule, itinerary, rate and inclusions of the tour package to Bataan.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for a most interesting blog. That 6am departure was a commendably early start to the day. The cross itself is very impressive - the casual observer would certainly have no idea that there was an elevator inside. The exhibits in the museum look fascinating, particularly if you are interested in WW2, which I happen to be. Mt Samat is a definite inclusion in a tour of the Bataan area !

    Most surprising (to me at least) to see the cold and foggy conditions; you will have to go back on a sunny day so that you appreciate the views.

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  2. Yeah me too I never expect that the cross will be this too high and wide enough to have an elevator inside. Definitely going back there when its sunny :) though i loved the cool weather, we dont have it that much in the city of manila all the time

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