God is great, He gave me what my heart desired. Before we even left for Kid’s Camp 2016, I was so convinced that we would go to Mt. Samat Shrine (by hook or by crook). I have a few personal reasons for doing so, one of which is: my youngest sister, mother-in-law, and Nate have never been there yet.
Thank God for his provision, He knew how difficult it is to commute with so many kids in tow that He gave us a van that we could rent for our convenience. Before getting the van, I intended to ask him if it’s possible to take us to Mt. Samat before we go back to Manila and he immediately said yes (yay!). Turns out, all the kids have never been to Mt. Samat either so they were very excited to finally go there!
We left the bible school (kid’s camp venue) around 1:30 PM on December 30th (2 days after my birthday, so I kind of thought of this visit as my birthday present). Side story: You can just imagine how loud it was inside the van with all the kids talking, so I told them the quietest kid will win 100 pesos from me and they all went so quiet, even if they were already amazed at the sight of the cross on the highway, they never said a word (actually, medyo naaawa ako sa kanila nun, haha). So I said we would pause our mini “contest” when we’re near Mt. Samat so they can enjoy the visit.
A historical background: At the start of World War II in 1942 after suffering heavy losses against the Imperial Japanese Army all over Luzon, the Filipino and American soldiers retreated to Bataan Peninsula to regroup for a last valiant but futile stand. After four months of fighting, the 78,000 exhausted, sick and starving soldiers under Major General Edward P. King surrendered to the Japanese on April 9, 1942 known as the fall of Bataan. It is the single largest surrender of U.S. soldiers in history and Mariveles, a town in the Bataan province, was their last stronghold after which, together with the Philippine soldiers, they were led on to the 80-mile (130 km) march to Capas, Tarlac known as the Bataan Death March.
The Mount Samat National Shrine was erected as a fitting memorial to the heroic struggle and sacrifices of those soldiers who fought and died in that historic bastion of freedom. (Source: Wikipedia)
There is a registration fee of around 20 pesos per kid/student and 30 pesos per adult to Mt. Samat Shrine. Good thing Juna, one of our church workers for children’s department already told the kids to save money for their entrance fee. The weather was perfect, the place was cozy, the kids we all excited, everyone was happy! It was an awesome day!
1st Stop: Our first stop was at the museum where we found historical photos, firearms, soldier uniforms, flags and more. Mt. Samat is a perfect place for educational tours!
2nd stop: Was the altar or hall (I’m not sure what it’s called but we had to stay there for a little while as it rained a bit.
|Everyone’s Ready but it rained!|
3rd stop: The cross. The highlight, of course, was the Shrine of Valour Memorial Cross. This 90 feet cross is ranked as the 2nd tallest cross in the world next to the Holy Cross of the Valley of the Fallen in Spain. Unfortunately, the elevator wasn’t working (actually, my friend said it wasn’t working since February 2016) so we were unable to go to the cross itself and enjoy a more lovely view. I’ve been to the cross itself once, I was just hoping they could experience it too but there’s really nothing we could do at that point. Needless to say, it was still an awesome experience.
|Nowhere but UP!: on the stairway to the cross|
4th stop: There was a great field in there where you can lie down, rest and have fun, so that’s what we did. The kids enjoyed the wide ground where they could run and play, we just let them. There’s no need to hurry, good thing the driver needed to catch some sleep.
I think it’s safe to say the kids loved the visit and were all happy to finally visit the famous Mt. Samat Shrine! They didn’t just learn about the bible during the kid’s camp, they also learned about history – hitting 2 birds with one stone, right?
Mt. Samat is located in Barangay Diwa, Pilar, Bataan
Entrance Fee: PHP 20 (students) PHP 30 adults
Hours of Operation: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Contact Number: (02) 911-4296