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Tuesday, April 09, 2013

En Route: Capas National Shrine

Memorial Obelisk at the Capas National Shrine in Capas, Tarlac Philippines



I remember taking snapshots of the Capas National Shrine on our side to Capas, Tarlac during our Mt. Pinatubo bloggers climb few years ago. And since we pay tribute to the courage and heroism of our World War II veterans as we observe "Araw ng Kagitingan," also known as "Bataan Day, Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) today, I looked for said snapshots and luckily I still have it on my phone.

Inside the Obelisk - Capas National Shrine in Tarlac
On 9 April 2003, a new memorial wall and obelisk was unveiled. The 70-meter obelisk towers above the grounds of the former interment camp.
The Capas National Shrine (Paggunita Sa Capas) in Barangay Navy Capas, Tarlac, The Philippines was built by the Philippine government as a memorial to the Filipino and American soldiers who died in Camp O'Donnell at the end of the Bataan Death March. This is an important site related to Veterans' Day in the Philippines (Araw ng Kagitingan), every 9 April, the anniversary of the surrender of the combined US and Philippine forces to the Japanese in 1942.

Capas National Shrine Death March Wall Poems
Historical Marker on the Capas Concentration Camp - Tarlac


The prisoners of war were forced to endure the infamous march from Bataan to San Fernando, Pampanga, where they were transported by train to Camp O'Donnell, Tarlac, which is known today as Capas National Shrine. Thousands perished due to dehydration, heat stroke, starvation, and diseases. This event came to be known as the Bataan March.

Dedication Wall at the Capas National Shrine dedicated for the Filipinos who died in the death march

The area around where the Bataan Death March ended was proclaimed by President Corazon Aquino to become Capas National Shrine on 7 December 1991. The shrine encompasses 54 hectares of parkland, 35 hectares of which have been planted with rows of trees to represent each of the deceased. On 9 April 2003, a new memorial wall and obelisk was unveiled. The 70-meter obelisk towers above the grounds of the former interment camp. 

Statistics of the Filipinos who died in the death March

Capas National Shrine Filipinos who died in the Death March

On the three large wall segments that almost encircle the obelisk, there are statistics about the total numbers of prisoners and deaths, together with poems for peace. Thousands perished due to dehydration, heat stroke, starvation, and diseases. This event came to be known as the Bataan March.

List of names who died in the Death March during the Fall of Bataan

Names of the Filipinos and Americans who died during Death March

The obelisk is surrounded by a black marble wall engraved with the names of the Filipinos and Americans known to have died at the location.

Nearby is a small museum and a smaller monument built by an American group calling themselves the "Battling Bastards of Bataan", honoring the American dead of the period. A few hundred meters from the Obelisk is a garden separated from the rest of the shrine by a creek, it is passable with the means of a hanging bridge. The relics of an old train and railings are also present in the Shrine.






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About the Blogger

Yodi Insigne
Yodi de Veas Insigne is one of those delusional sorts who imagines himself a useful contributor to the greater blogosphere (Well, that's what he's trying to accomplish).

He started blogging for three reasons:

1. He always felt he has something important to say,
2. Books can make him cry,
3. He want to sleep at night.

He is a certified bookworm, travel junkie, shutterbug, movie freak, Mangyan freethinker who sleeps a lot and think a lot. He got a little vice, which is black coffee and cashew nuts. He got colorblindness on yellow and green - and he freaking loves it!

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