This year’s celebration of The Day of Valor in the Philippines is centered on the theme “Kagitingan ng mga Beterano, Inspirasyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino,” to elicit participation from various sectors, particularly the youth, to reignite nationalism and cultivate unity among Filipinos through meaningful commemorative events and educational activities.
We are reminded to be inspired by the example set by the gallant veterans of the Bataan Death March to maintain peace and unity, especially in the coming elections. Over the years, we have recognized the modern-day heroes who have inspired us to become better Filipinos. We try to imitate our fallen heroes’ values and love for the country, which can also be seen and applied in our everyday lives.
The Day of Valor in the Philippines
The Day of Valor, formally known as Araw ng Kagitingan, is a Philippine national holiday. We commemorate the fallen heroes of the Bataan Death March, eighty (80) years ago. It was on April 9, 1942, when the Filipino and the American troops surrendered to the Japanese soldiers.
The fall of Bataan was not the end of the war, as Filipino and American forces who fled continued the struggle, spurred by Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s pledge in Corregidor, “I shall return,” given before leaving for Australia.
On October 20, 1944, he returned with a fleet of Allied forces and landed on Red Beach in Palo, Leye, over two years before Philippine independence was restored on July 4, 1946.
Relevance of the Day of Valor in the Philippines today
The Day of Valor honors the valiant stance of true patriots in Bataan – those who have fallen and especially those who have survived. We honor also each Filipino who has been strong in the face of adversity.
While, historically, it appears to be a victorious event for the Japanese invaders, it is however seen, as the truly heroic and patriotic act of the Fallen Heroes of Bataan. They should continue to inspire us to become heroes of our own family and our own country even in our little way. As Filipinos, we are called to be heroes of our country. We are called to defend our country from any foreign invaders, may it be triggered by a political invasion, ideology invasion, or health invasion. We are called to protect our country’s peace and order. We are the modern-day heroes: the Medical and health care professionals, farmers, government employees and officials, law enforcement people, firemen, the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), and front-line workers in food service, transportation, and other critical sectors who bravely fought in these trying times. We did not need to walk from Bataan to Tarlac or die for our country just to be called heroes. Instead, we simply need to genuinely love our country and respond to the call when needed.
How is the Day of Valor celebrated in the Philippines?
Several streets and roads were closed before the Covid-19 limitations to allow for minor parades as part of the celebration. The primary event on this day, however, is the President’s address, which is traditionally held at Mt. Samat Shrine in the Province of Bataan. On this occasion, the President recognizes the bravery and courage of both Filipino and American troops who sacrificed their lives during World War II.
Read Also: Historical Places to Visit in Bataan
To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Day of Valor in the Philippines, the survivors of the infamous Bataan Death March were also honored. One of the leaders of the Hukbalahap or also known as Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon – one of the dreaded rebel groups postwar era – will also be recognized.
According to Proclamation No. 466, s. From April 5 to 11, every year, the country commemorates Philippine Veterans Week to promote, preserve, and honor the values, thoughts, and acts of our war veterans as a method of enhancing patriotism and love of the country, particularly among the young of the republic.
With the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, the Technical Working Committee for the National Observance of Philippine Veterans Week and the 80th Araw ng Kagitingan will hold commemorative activities open to a limited number of people to ensure the safety of participants under the IATF’s Alert Level 1 guidelines.
The committee has organized the following events in collaboration with several government departments and institutions:
PRE-VETERANS WEEK ACTIVITIES
There were webinar lectures that intends to educate and expand the understanding of Filipino youth on Philippine military history, as well as to reignite young patriotism.
In honor of the national holiday, two distinct book launches will take place. The books, co-published with PVAO, aim to foster patriotism in our people by presenting the story of our unsung heroes’ valor and noble sacrifices for independence. The inaugural book launch will be a face-to-face event at the Palma Hall of the University of the Philippines, Diliman, which will also be broadcast live on PVAO’s official Facebook Page via Zoom. Dr. Rowena Quinto Bailon wrote the “Medal of Valor,” while Dr. Maria Bernadette L. Abrera and Dr. Neil Martial R. Santillan edited “Identity and Independence.” The second book launch will be done through Zoom to promote Dr. Cesar Pobre’s book, “Guerilla Days in the Philippine South.”
The decision to grant the U.S. The Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), in collaboration with the United States Embassy, will give the Congressional Gold Medal (CGM) to twenty-three (23) Filipino World War II veterans. This year’s ceremony will commemorate the restoration of the awarding of the U.S. After a two-year suspension owing to Covid-19, CGM has been awarded to WWII veteran grantees. The U.S. CGM is the highest civilian honor bestowed by the United States. Congress bestows the Medal of Honor on a person or a group for extraordinary service to the United States.
VETERANS WEEK PROPER EVENTS
Last April 5, 2022, the Sunrise Ceremony kicked off Philippine Veterans Week and has allowed individual veterans to memorialize their fallen heroes and colleagues by laying flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City. This ceremony is customarily led by the Commanding General of the Philippine Army. Followed by the Wreath-Laying Ceremony which is an established manner of honoring the memory of Filipino heroes and martyrs who gave their lives in the service of their country.
Then, a Virtual Ceremony happened at the Filipino Heroes Memorial on Corregidor Island. A small wreath-laying ceremony will be placed on Corregidor Island and has been broadcast live on the Official PVAO Facebook Page. The celebration pays tribute to all Filipino heroes, patriots, and defenders who have fought and died for the country’s freedom and liberty.
The Araw ng Kagitingan itself is the most significant memorial event during Philippine Veterans Week. As a national holiday, the commemoration is customarily led by the President of the Republic of the Philippines, with the National Historical Commission in charge of the program at Mt. Samat National Shrine, Pilar, Bataan. Various regional and provincial government entities will also recreate the ceremony at the same time. On April 9, during the 80th celebration of Araw ng Kagitingan, the Mt. Samat Memorial Cross at Mt. Samat, Pilar, Bataan, will be re-lit. The Salute of Lights will not only memorialize the valor and courage of our departed predecessors but will also represent the Filipino people’s appeal for togetherness and solidarity in these challenging times. The TIEZA – Mt. Samat Flagship Tourism Enterprise Zone (FTEZ) is organizing the light display in collaboration with the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO).
The next day will be a “Paggunita sa Capas”. This will be at Capas National Shrine, Tarlac
The event has honored the veterans who perished during the Death March and those who were imprisoned at Camp O’Donnel Concentration Camp. The event has sought to inspire the youth by reminding us of the trials and struggles suffered by our valiant warriors during those terrible days.
The culmination of the event happens during the Sunset Ceremony at Libingan ng mga Bayani, Taguig City. The ceremony concludes Philippine Veterans Week. Soldiers, their widows, and the children and grandchildren of veterans congregate before the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to reflect on how a veteran’s life influenced their lives. The event culminates with a Pledge of Patriotism, followed by the participants lighting candles at the Flame of Freedom and writing their names on the Wall of Patriotism.
Aside from the formal commemorative activities stated above, the Department of Education (DepEd), in collaboration with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), DND, and PVAO, has sponsored a Virtual Symposium last April 8, 2022, to be hosted by DepEd Schools Division Offices of Balanga and Bataan. As part of the event, DepEd will host a poster-making contest, an oratorical contest, an essay writing contest, and a songwriting contest. The activities’ goals for students are to enhance their understanding of the historical significance of this event and to raise their awareness of the principles of nationalism, patriotism, and love of country.
The Araw ng Kagitingan and the Philippine Veterans Week are significant celebrations that strengthen our appreciation for the freedom and independence we have today. As we celebrate this year’s Philippine Warriors Week, we remember the noble sacrifice of our dear Filipino veterans. The whole Technical Working Committee for the 80th Araw ng Kagitingan and 2022 Philippine Veterans Week has wished that the events of this year’s national commemoration would deepen our commitment to nation-building by performing our duty as freedom-loving Filipinos.
How to commemorate the Day of Valor in the new normal?
The Day of Valor is one of the most significant in Philippine history. The annual great celebration and remembrance of Araw ng Kagitingan will undergo certain adjustments as a result of the pandemic. Here are some ways we may give back to our generation’s modern-day heroes:
1. Invest in the Philippines
Real estate investment in the Philippines is one of the resilient and thriving industries after the pandemic hit us globally. Its yields have excellent returns despite the hard times. Furthermore, the country’s steady economy and ongoing growth make real estate investments a fantastic method to grow your money.
Similar to our unsung heroes in Bataan who fought for the hard-earned freedom for the country, investors in the same way, continuously made their way through financial hardships towards financial freedom. Check out our website to invest in affordable house and lot and condominium that suits your lifestyle:
- Empresa Homes Mariveles – Affordable House and Lot in Mariveles, Bataan
- Bria Homes Magalang – Affordable House and Lot in Magalang, Pampanga
- Bria Condo Calamba – Affordable Condominium in Laguna
2. Work with the Government in Nation-building
In these trying times, it will be helpful if we play active participation in nation-building. One initiative that the government has is the vaccination drive. We don’t want to add to the existing burden, therefore the greatest thing we can do to show our support for our front liners is to observe the government’s health and safety standards. When going out to purchase some necessities, always use face masks. Also, to prevent the virus from spreading in the community, provide good cleanliness and hygiene.
3. Vote wisely
Voting is one of the finest ways to commemorate the ideas upon which our country was founded. Volunteer to work the polls during an election if you can, and you’ll get to watch our government in action. Campaigning for voter’s education for other Filipinos to objectively see the different sides of the candidates. Watch and listen to the interviews and debates initiated by the media companies.
4. Travel around the Philippines
Don’t be a stranger in your own country. Explore the beautiful beaches and places our country has to offer!
5. Support local!
Watch Filipino movies at least once a year. Support local businesses! Buy products that are made in the Philippines.
6. Follow the road rules and regulations
If possible, use the overpasses, underpasses, footbridges, and pedestrian lanes whenever crossing the streets. We must follow the rules to not cause any hassle to other people.
The Day of Valor in the Philippines is one of the most important days in Philippine history. The yearly grand celebration and memorial of Araw ng Kagitingan have not been stopped by the pandemic. Our heartfelt thanks to the fallen heroes for their sacrifice and heroism, our lifelong respect for their extraordinary commitment to duty, and our eternal gratitude for their legacy. We are called to serve our country. We are called to be better Filipinos. May the sacrifices of our patriotic soldiers and modern-day heroes continue to inspire us to contribute to nation-building to continue our recovery from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Written by: Ruby Baclid