What is the essence of Araw ng Kagitingan?
During the month of April, the Philippines pays tribute not only to the war heroes who gave up their lives during World War II but also to the veterans who fought in the name of freedom.
What are the Ways to Celebrate it?
1. Visit Bataan Tourism Center
Bataan Tourism Center (BTC) is the first and only one-stop-shop tourism center in the Philippines. If you’re a first time traveler in Bataan, visiting Bataan Tourism Center will be very beneficial. They offer guide maps, and even tour guides!
BTC offers three tour packages: Historical Tour (1,250/pax), Historical + Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar Day Tour (2,710/pax), and Eco Tour (1,405/pax). These includes a DOT accredited Tour Guide, all entrance fees, snacks, and lunch.
2. Appreciate the veterans in the Parangal para sa mga Beterano
The province of Bataan annually gathers all the veterans in their province. The government officials share their initiatives on how to improve the life of their veterans. As for me, I tried to interview them to ask about their experience during the war. You won’t believe what they said. I’ll save it for my next post.
3. Observe the Foot Parade and Float Parade
Various organizations joined the foot parade to commemorate Araw ng Kagitingan. In addition, the twelve municipalities of Bataan made various floats depicting what their place has experienced during the war.
4. Witness the Marching Band Exhibition and Drum & Lyre Band Competition in Bataan
Marching bands from Philippine Army, Navy, and Air Force showcased their talent in playing instruments and by dancing! The next day, eight elementary schools from Bataan participated in the drum and lyre band competition.
5. Visit the World War II Museum in Bataan
Visiting World War II Museum in Bataan really touched my heart. Unlike the other places with young tour guides, this museum invites volunteers to talk about the events happened in the Philippines during the World War II.
Lola Maria, 89 year old veteran, talked about her first hand experience during the war. I held my tears while listening to her experience. I’ll write about it in my next post.
6. Join the Bataan Freedom Run
If you’re into sports, joining the Freedom Run is suited for you. As a tribute to thousands of Filipino and American soldiers who died, many runners from different places join this annual event. They have a competitive race: 42km and 21km. And they also have amateur race: 10km, 5km, and 1km.
7. Watch a concert at Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar
The Provincial Government of Bataan held a fund raising concert for the Aeta community. It was entitled “Koro Bangkal Magbikin Concert”.
I’m really amazed how talented these kids are. They sang a lot of traditional Filipino songs. The highlight of the event is when the former National Youth Commission chairperson, Aiza Seguerra offered some songs.
The grand venue is a different story. I’ll make another post about Las Casas Filipinas Acuzar.
Also Read: Where to Stay in Bataan
8. Shop at the Galing Bataan Trade Fair
Just across the Plaza Hotel where I stayed, is the Galing Bataan Trade Fair. It opened last April 4-9, 2018. The products that I’ve seen there includes Bataan delicacies like Araro, tinapa, and other Bataan souvenirs such as shirts, bags, key chains, and ref magnets.
Also Read: Where to Eat in Bataan
9. Explore the War Museum in Mt. Samat
Unlike the Bataan World War II Museum in Balanga, you can take pictures inside the War Museum of Mt. Samat. The museum includes pictures of events during the war as well as some weapons, and materials used by Filipino and American soldiers.
10. Experience the National Commemoration of Araw ng Kagitingan in Mt. Samat
Prior to this trip, I really don’t have an idea how people celebrate Araw ng Kagitingan. I didn’t know that it is a grand event in Bataan.
I thought I’ll get the chance to meet the President Rodrigo Duterte but Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea represented him, together with the foreign dignitaries, in leading the observance of the 76th Araw ng Kagitingan.
Believe it or not, it feels so surreal to sing the National anthem with the military veterans, the Philippine soldiers and policemen, the boy scouts, the girl scouts, and the rest of the people who love the Philippines.