When we hear the province of Bataan, the first thing that will come to the people’s mind is how it has been part of World War II because of the Death March and The Battle of Bataan. That’s why most of the people who’d like to take a walk back in history love to explore Bataan. Bataan is not just good in tourist spots for its natural attraction like the Bataan National Park and Bataan Technology Park but also because of the interesting stories behind the historical places here.
So here are the top 13 Historical places in Bataan:
1. Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar
Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar is one of the most well-known historical places in Bataan. As of now, there are 27 heritage houses that showcase the look and feel of a colonial village. All these houses were physically transferred from their original location. Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar lets you feel and wonder what life looked like during the Spanish Era.
2. St. Dominic Parish Church
St. Dominic Parish is the oldest church in Bataan. Most of the historical places located in Bataan are part of the World War II happenings, but this church has another story to tell. Located in Abucay, Bataan, this church is a silent witness of a different battle. In 1647, Filipino Defenders fought the Dutch invaders in an intense and prolonged battle in the church courtyard. Two hundred people were killed during the battle.
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3. Bataan Democracy Marker
Located in Hermosa, near Bria Homes, the Bataan democracy marker is the mark of the role of Bataan in the fight for freedom and in the preservation of democracy in the country and the world. This marker tells its beholders of how Filipinos and Americans battled side by side during WWII in 1942 and emerged triumphantly making it one of the historical places in Bataan.
4. Philippine-Japanese Friendship Tower
This is one of the two Zero Kilometer Death March markers located in Bagac, Bataan. After world war II, Japan started rebuilding its relationship with the Philippines. So they built this tower as a sign of reconciliation, peace, and friendship between the Philippines and Japan after the war. The lowest section of the 89foot tower is a hanging bell embossed with intricate dragons, knobs, and Japanese writings. Rissho Kosei Kai Group, a Japanese Buddhist religious movement built the tower in 1975, and stands around 200 kilometers from the site of the Bataan Death March.
5. Zero Kilometer Death March Marker
this is one of the two Death March markers located in Bagac, Bataan. This marker indicates the starting point of the infamous Bataan Death March that happened many years ago. The Filipino and American prisoners of war were forcibly transferred from Bataan to Camp O’Donnell in Tarlac by the Japanese soldiers. Almost 70,000 soldiers had to endure a grueling 160 – kilometer walk, where 5,000 to 18,000 Filipinos and 500 to 650 Americans died before reaching the final destination.
6. Diwa ng Bataan (Spirit of Bataan)
Also known as The Surrender Site Marker, Diwa ng Bataan commemorates General Edward King’s surrender to the Japanese Soldiers. This marker is located at Balanga Elementary school and now called Balanga Integrated School, near the Bataan World War II Museum.
This is a statue of Gen Edward King together with his staff officers sitting around the table facing the Japanese Army. In the marker, a very touching statement is written: “Let this memorial be not a reminder of defeat but a symbol of freedom’s triumph over foreign aggression. Let us heed the message: In all wars, there can never be winners.”
7. The Fall of Bataan Marker
It is an honorary milestone to soldiers and civilians who fought in the battle of Bataan in 1942. This is located in Capitol Compound, Balanga City, Bataan. The Fall of Bataan gets its name from history. On April 9, 1942, The Battle of Bataan ended when the Filipino and American soldiers led by General Edward King surrendered to the Japanese.
8. First Line of Defense Marker
This monument symbolizes the Filipino and American war heroes as allies in the battle against the Japanese soldiers. This is another landmark that signifies that Bataan is part of the World War II. This marker is located at the first Municipality of Bataan when you’re from Manila, Layac Junction Dinalupihan Bataan.
One Fun fact about this monument is that some tourist sees this as sign that they are already in Bataan. The marker depicts the first strong line of defense of the combined Philippines and USAFFE (United States Army Forces in the Far East) troops against the Japanese invasion during World War II.
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9. The Flaming Sword Monument
Located at National Highway Pilar, Bataan, this landmark portrays a hand holding a flaming sword that thrusts right up in the air. It symbolizes the courage of the Filipinos and Americans when they fought against the Japanese during the World War II. It is located where it is now, in the Kilometer 42 point, because it is in this junction where USAFFE soldiers who were captured from the Bagac and Mariveles fronts converged for the iniquitous Bataan Death March.
10. Shrine of Valor
Also called Mount Samat National Shrine, it is located at Mt. Samat Road Pilar Bataan. There you can see a 92 meter cross, also known as Dambana ng Kagitingan. These historical places in Bataan represent the country’s National Memorial to those who fought in the Battle of World War II.
11. Corregidor Island
Although geographically it is located at Cavite, it is also considered as one of the historical places in Bataan because it is just minutes away from Mariveles Bataan where one of our projects is located, the Empresa Homes Mariveles. This island is a small rocky place. It was once the headquarters of all the brave Filipinos and Americans who fought against the Japanese.
12. Bataan World War II Museum
Located at Jose Basa St. Balanga Bataan, Bataan World War II is one of the most visited tourist spots in Bataan. This museum will let you go back to World War II in a time when you can see all the pictures and some of the items that were used by the Filipinos, Japanese, and Americans during the battle.
13. Minor Basilica and Shrine Parish of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary
This miraculous church in Bataan is a “Dambana ng Paglalakbay” or the Pilgrim Shrine.
Bataan is a very nostalgic province. Here in Bataan, you’ll not just see nature, but it will also allow you to look back at the past. It will allow you to see how our brave heroes fought for our country. Here in Bataan you’ll appreciate more the beauty of being a Filipino. Come visit and be inspired in the province of history and beauty, Bataan
Written by Patricia Aileen Aquino