Mt. Samat Without the Pennants

Friday, January 26, 2018



mt samat pilar bataan
Storytime is a series of  stories about my most memorable travel experiences. Read more here.

Twice I have visited Mt. Samat. Twice it had been on the Day of Valor, where the activities and the business of the event shifted the focus away from the place. Fortunately, after the Pawikan Festival late in November 2017, we headed to Mt. Samat for a quick stopover. 

It was a Sunday then, and there was a crowd, but it was nothing compared to the swarm of people during April 9. Without the throng, and the hurriedness that comes along with the tight security and the formal program, we were afforded plenty of time to fully appreciate the place.
mt samat colonnade bataan

For starters, I discovered there was a museum underneath the Colonnade. There was a model of Bataan’s topography, with tiny colored bulbs to mark the positions of the soldiers of both sides during World War II. There were also weapons and military paraphernalia.
mt samat bataan museum

Also, I got to go up the cross. Finally. My friends from Bataan assume I’ve been up there, but I haven’t until that day. The previous two visits, I didn’t have the time.

In any event, silently thanking my strong cardiovascular system, for the path was steep, I watched the white cross disappear in the bunch of foliage. I was looking directly beneath it now, and my neck ached as I did. Nevertheless, as I reached the top, I was surprised at the details of the monument. 

The base of the cross is adorned with sculptural slabs and reliefs hewn by National Artist Napoleon Abueva. Titled “Nabiag na Bato”, it depicted moments and figures in Philippine history such as the execution of Jose Rizal, and Antonio Luna.
nabiag na bato antonio abueva

Early in 2017, the Tourism Infrastructure Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) had declared the Mt. Samat complex a Tourism Enterprise Zone, which means it will be subjected to further developments and more powerful marketing thrusts. I’ve heard there are suggestions to build an art gallery as well as a performance theater. I find these great ideas. After watching a stage play from a local theater group, I realized Bataan has a lot of untapped potential in the performance arts department. The possibility that it might be combined with the province’s rich historical significance excites me.

All the more reason to keep coming back to Bataan.

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