DAMBANA NG KAGITINGAN
SHRINE OF VALOR IN MT. SAMAT
Brgy. Diwa, Pilar, Bataan
Bataan rises tall and proud, with the monuments built to honor the gallantry of the Filipinos who fought during World
War II. The sentinel of Bataan- an awesome memorial to history: the SHRINE OF VALOR IN MT. SAMAT.
The “Dambana ng Kagitingan” or the Shrine of Valor, lies in an area approximately 73, 665 hectares. It was
completed and inaugurated in 1970, consisting of a Colonnade and the huge Memorial Cross. Then President
Ferdinand Marcos conceived of the Dambana ng Kagitingan as a fitting memorial to the heroic struggle and sacrifices
of the Filipinos who fought and died in that historic bastion of freedom
The Shrine of Valor was originally conceived with a Memorial Chapel and Hall of Fame with concourses and other
facilities. The Colonnade is a marble-capped structure with an altar, esplanade and museum. There are several
historical depictions on the Colonnade which include the following:
Stained Glass Mural behind the altar
19 Scriptural Marble at the Parapet
18 Bronze Insignias of USAFFE Division Units
2 Bronze Urns (symbolic of the Eternal flame)
18 Flag poles with colors of USAFFE Divisions/Units
Inscriptions of the “Battle of Bataan”
The Memorial Cross is a towering structure (555 meters above sea level) of steel and reinforced concrete with an
elevator and viewing gallery (arm of the cross). The height of the cross is 92 meters from the base. The height of the
arms is 74 meters from the base. The length of the arm is 30 meters (15 on each side). The viewing gallery is 18 ft.
by 90 ft. with a 7-foot clearance.
The exterior finish of the cross at the base up to an 11-meter level is capped with “Nabiag Na Bato” sculptural slabs
and sculptural bas-reliefs depicting significant battles and historical events by National Artist Napoleon Abueva.
Above the base, the Cross is made of “chipped granolithic marble.”
From the Colonnade to the Cross is a 14-flight zigzagging footpath on the mountain slope, paved with bloodstones
from Corregidor Island.
The Bataan Memorial Cross
Lorenzo del Castillo and Napoleon Abueva
Steel and reinforced concrete finished with chipped
90 feet (27 m)
18 feet (5.5 m)
92 metres (302 ft)
Completion date 1970
Soldiers who fought for freedom in the Battle of Bataan
Located in an area approximately 73,665 hectares (182,030 acres), the park consists of the Colonnade and at the
mountain's peak, the Memorial Cross. The shrine was designed by Lorenzo del Castillo and landscaped by Dolly QuimboPerez
From the parking lot, a wide three series of steps that narrows to the top lead visitors to the flagpole that holds the flag of
the Philippines The last series of steps to the Colonnade level are bordered on two sides by two pedestals topped with
bronze urns symbolising the eternal flame.
The Colonnade is a marble-clad structure surrounded by an esplanade, itself surrounded by marble-clad parapets. The
outer side is covered with 19 high relief sculptures byNational Artist Napoleon Abueva, and alternates depictions of the
war with 18 bronze insignia of USAFFE Division units by Talleres de Maximo Vicente, Leonides Valdez, and Angel
Sampra and Sons. Each bronze insignia has a flagstaff for the flags of each division,
In the centre of the Colonnade is the altar, behind which are three religious stained glassmurals designed by Cenon
Rivera and executed by VetrateD'Arte Giuliani of Rome,Italy. fouur large bronze chandeliers hang from the ceiling, while
inscribed in marble on the two lateral walls is a narrative of the “Battle of Bataan”.
A footpath that leads to the base of the Memorial Cross begins behind the Colonnade.]The 14-flight, zig-zagging path on
the mountain slope is paved with bloodstones fromCorregidor Island. An alternate road also takes visitors to the base of
the Memorial Cross.
The Memorial Cross is a towering structure at the highest point of Mount Samat, 555 m above sea level. The
monument is made ofsteel and reinforced concrete with a lift and viewing gallery at the Cross's arms. A staircase
also leads to the gallery in the wings. The height of the Cross is 92 m from the base; the height of the arms is 74
m from the base, with each arm measuring 30 m (15 on each side). The viewing gallery is 5.5 m by 27.4 m, with
a 2.1 m clearance.
The exterior of the Cross is finished with chipped granolithic marble. The base until the 11 m level is capped
with sculptural slabs andrelief titled Nabiag Na Bato also by Abueva, depicting important historical figures and
events like the execution of Jose Rizal,Lapu-Lapu and Antonio Luna,
Our family went on a long drive to Bataan with friends over the December holidays last year. We wanted to go somewhere
different, not the usual weekend family haunts like Ocean Adventure or Zoobic. We decided to go up to Mt. Samat in Bataan
and visit Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valor), a memorial to both Filipino and American soldiers during World War II.
The road up Mt. Samat is long and winding. There are steep turns and a lot of climbing, so good driving skills and a reliable
vehicle with sufficient power are a must.
Upon arriving at the gate, you will be charged a minimal entrance fee... something like P10 for students, P20 for adults, and
P30 for foreigners. A large cannon greeted us the moment we got down from the car.
You climb the stairs in order to gain access to the memorial.
It actually reminded me somewhat of the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial in Taipei, Taiwan... minus the uniformed guards who
stood like statues.
The open air marble structure is bright and spacious. A part of Philippine history is chronicled on its walls.
It's really just a rectangular open space with a story to tell but it's nice to hang out because it's so well-lit and breezy. The
marble is literally cool too, some of the kids would actually sit on the floor.
Aside from these writings covering the wall, there's also a map which illustrates the historic battles that took place in World
War II. Couldn't get a good photo of the map because it was encased in glass and the reflection ruins the view.
There are some weapons on display outdoors.
Our ultimate goal was to visit the memorial cross on top of the mountain. You will have to drive up some more to reach it.
So we drove and went to see the cross up close. You can go inside it and take the elevator to the top for P10 per person.
We paid and rode the elevator to the top. There are viewing decks where you can sit and take photos. It's quite windy here.
We all loved the cool mountain air!
This is the view from the top of the cross.
Our kids enjoyed our visit to Dambana ng Kagitingan on Mt. Samat. I think it's a good alternative to the usual theme parks
and zoos. This place is something my kids would read about in their civics / social studies text books so they were pretty
pleased when they saw it with their own eyes.