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Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in BGC, Taguig: Travel Guide

American Cemetery and Memorial in BGC TAGUIG

Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, BGC

Bonifacio Global City (BGC) is my second home for the past two years because I am dating someone who lives here.  Since I have spent so much of my time in BGC, I plan to post many useful travel guides to Bonifacio Global City super soon. For now, I will share about the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. We always pass by here on the way to his  condo from Mc Kinley Hill where we always hang out. Being a history and culture buff, my advocacy is to discover places of interest that remember the lives of those who fought and lost their lives during the past World War.

American Cemetery and Memorial fort bonifacio

Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Fort Bonifacio 

The Government of the Philippines donated this spot in 1948 to be used indefinetely without charging tax where the American Cemetery and Memorial is located. Formally dedicated in 1960 in time of the commemoration of Pearl Harbor, it is composed of 152 acres of land that is home to biggest number of graves of US citizens who served in US Military forces and died from 1941 to 1945. Around 17, 000+ dead bodies are buried inside including 560 Filipinos who are Philippine scouts but belong to the American unit  plus  36, 000 names of missing soldiers are found here in American Cemetery and Memorial. Twenty four of them are recipients of Medal of Honor. Also honored here,  were other nationalities who were part of US Military forces: Panama, Australia, China, England, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Finland, Jamaica, Burma and Peru.

American Cemetery and Memorial fort bonifacio taguig

Every commemoration of Memorial Day which happens last week of May, they put tiny American and Filipino flags beside each of these marble headstones. There's always a program spearheaded by The Embassy of the USA, The American Association of the Philippines, American Battle Monuments Commission and The Armed Forces of the Philippines.  This program is usually joined by the Philippine Marine Corps & United States Marine Corps, Holy Trinity Church, The Jewish Association of the Philippines and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

American Cemetery and Memorial

The American Cemetery and Memorial in BGC is at the foot of McKinley Hills within the former US Army Reservation of Fort William McKinley, now part of Fort Bonifacio. I must admit it is one of the most strict historical and open to public sites I have been to. Upon entering, the guard told us to pay close attention to the do's and don'ts while inside the Manila American Memorial Cemetery in Taguig. See the list below:

manila american cemetery and memorial bgc

1.Visitors must wear appropriate civilian or military attire when entering the Cemetery. Physical training attire is not considered appropriate.

2. Use the sidewalk from the parking area to the Chapel. DO NOT WALK ACROSS THE GRASS.
3. Sitting benches are provided, NO SITTING OT LAYING ON THE GRASS.  Please avoid strollers on the grass.
4. All photos taken inside the Cemetery are for personal use and not for commercial purposes. MODELS ARE NOT ALLOWED.
5. EATING IS PROHIBITED. This is not a picnic area.
6. Any sports activity is not allowed. This is NOT AN EXERCISING AREA.
7. Children should be instructed to behave and avoid running around the plots and Memorial. This is NOT A PARK NOR PLAYGROUND.
8. PRACTICE DRIVING inside the premises is PROHIBITED.
10. NO PETS ALLOWED. Only Service Dogs are authorized inside the Cemetery.
11. Please AVOID LITTERING. Trash should be placed on designated trash bins.

manila american cemetery blog review

We proceeded to the Visitors Building as advised by the guard and for me to be able to chitchat a bit of what to expect inside. I quickly told the woman in-charged that I plan to blog about this when I get home but she strongly told me that BLOGGING ABOUT THIS PLACE IS COMPLETELY PROHIBITED. I asked why, she just kept on repeating that it is NOT ALLOWED. She initially said that taking photos here should be for personal use only. She might be thinking I will blog about this for personal use like I will show how "Instagrammable" this place is WHICH IS DEFINITELY NOT. Again, I would like to share this post to others who wants to visit and learn a bit of history of the brave Americans, Filipinos and even civilians who lost their lives that gave way to our independence today. I also made this American Cemetery and Memorial in BGC blog review for those who do not have the means to see this place personally. By sharing photos and information specially to those who are relatives of brave soldiers who didn't made it alive, this could also give them some peace of mind that somehow their loved ones have a good resting place.  

Inside American Cemetery and Memorial in BGC, you'll fee a respite because of the tall lush trees, thick shrubs and some flowery plants. The sight of these white crosses "planted" on green lawns somehow shows a sad story but at the end knowing that they lost their lives because of the war - I somehow developed a stronger sense of loving my country and be more sensitive to what's going on. That I should be vigilant of something that's not right  - I should make sure that my voice is heard or help those who do not have the capacity.

manila american cemetery bgc

American Cemetery and Memorial in BGC, Taguig - What to see inside?

Here, graves are divided into 11 plots. White headstones in the shape of cross dominate in straight line in the grass-covered lawn for the 17, 000 lost lives of US military forces during the wars in Papua New Guinea and Philippines. For the 166 Jewish, instead of cross  - they have a headstone shaped like a star instead.

The Wall of Missing 

The names of the missing 36, 000+ soldiers are engraved on the walls here. Reading each of these names gave me goosebumps about them. May they rest in piece.

The Memorial

It is made of a tower where the small chapel is plus two hemicycles in front that cover the Memorial Court. 

The Chapel and the Altar

 This white masonry building shows a sculpture of St. George portraying as an American warrior fighting a dragon and some interpretations represent liberty, justice and country. There's another sculpture believed to symbolize the future.
Inside The Chapel is The Altar. This is where you can kneel and pray. There's an image ofa female figure that reminds me of Virgin Mary in Catholic beliefs. Later, I learned that this female figure is unnamed. She represents the motherly divine guidance of the One above.

American Cemetery and Memorial Manila Philippines

The 25 Maps

Before you get to these marble slabs bearing the names of the missing soldiers, you'll have to pass by the walls where you'll find the larger-than-life maps recalling the timeline of how the World War II started and ended. 

american cemetery and memorial address

Medal of Honor awardee American soldiers who were buried here 

Dale E. Christensen (1920–1944), for action in New Guinea in July 1944
Leroy Johnson (1919–1944), for action at Leyte, Philippines
Charles E. Mower (1924–1944), for action at Leyte, Philippines
Robert A. Owens (1920–1943), for action at Bougainville
Charles H. Roan (1923–1944), for action at Peleliu Island, Palau
William H. Thomas (1923–1945), for action in the Zambales Mountains, Luzon, Philippines
Louis J. Van Schaick (1875–1945), for action against Philippine insurgents in 1901
Lewis Kenneth Bausell (1924–1944), for action at Peleliu
George F. Davis (1911–1945), for action in the invasion of Lingayen Gulf
Samuel D. Dealey (1906–1944), for action off of Luzon
Ernest E. Evans (1908–1944), for action in the Battle off Samar
Elmer E. Fryar (1914–1944), for action at Leyte, Philippines
Howard W. Gilmore (1902–1943), for action in the Southwest Pacific
Robert M. Hanson (1920–1944), for action at Bougainville and New Britain Islands
Alexander R. Nininger, Jr. (1918–1942), for action at Bataan
Harl Pease, Jr. (1917–1942), for action over New Guinea
Oscar V. Peterson (1899–1942), for action aboard USS Neosho
Milton E. Ricketts (1913–1942), for action aboard USS Yorktown in the Battle of the Coral Sea
Albert H. Rooks (1891–1942), for action commanding USS Houston
Norman Scott (1889–1942), for action as second in command in the Battle of Guadalcanal
Kenneth N. Walker (1898–1943), for actions commanding the USAAF 5th Bomber Command in the South Pacific Theater
George Watson (1915–1943), for action near New Guinea
Raymond H. Wilkins (1917–1943), for action at Simpson Harbor, Rabaul, New Britain
Cassin Young (1894–1942), for action commanding USS Vestal during the attack on Pearl Harbor

American Cemetery and Memorial BLOG REVIEW

Where to go after American Cemetery and Memorial in Fort Bonifacio? 

Another one worth knowing is the Cabanatuan Memorial in Cabanatuan city. It marks the site of the Japanese Cabanatuan Prisoner of War Camp where approximately 20,000 American servicemen and civilians were held captive from 1942 to 1945, after the fall of the Philippine Islands during World War II. In late January 1945 elements of US Army's 6th Ranger Battalion commanded by Lt. Col. Henry A Mucci and reinforced by Filipino Guerillas executed a raid behind Japanese lines that rescued the 511 American and Allied prisoners still remaining inside the Cabanatuan POW Camp.

The Memorial consists of a 90-foot concrete base in the center of which rests a marble altar. Both American and Philippine National Flags are flown from two 20 foot flagpoles flanking the Memorial altar. The Memorial is surrounded on the three sides by a fence of steel rods and on the fourth side by a Wall of Honor upon which are inscribed the names of approximately 3,000 Americans who lost their lives while being held captive in the camp.

Co-located on the site are the West Point Monument, which pays homeage to 179 American and 6 Filipino graduates of the US Military Academy who lost their lives during the defense of the Philippines or while prisoner of war at Cabanatuan and the Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor (a Filipino veterans organization) Memorial which salute their American fallen comrades.

The enclosed map depicts the lay out of the Cabanatuan Prisoner of War camp in January 1945 and the 6th Ranger Battalion's raid that liberated the remaining 511 prisoners. The Black Star marks the approximate location of the Cabanatuan Memorial in relationship with the original POW camp. Driving Instructions and a map to the Memorial are available from the Manila American Cemetery Staff.

The American Cemetery and Memorial in BGC is under the management of American Battle Monuments Commission, a US agency that operates and maintains 26 American cemeteries and 29 memorials. monuments and markers in 16 countries. The goal is to never forget the lives of those who lost theirs for the independence we have today. 

manila american cemetery fort bonifacio

Again, this place is not a tourist spot. They do not encourage more people to visit if only the intention is to have their photos taken with background of these graves and the surrounding skyscrapers.

Related blog post: Casa de Segunda in Lipa, Batangas 

American Cemetery and Memorial address: McKinley Road, BGC, Taguig, Philippines 
American Cemetery and Memorial hours of operation: Monday to Sunday 9am -5 pm
American Cemetery and Memorial entrance fee: FREE

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