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Arts Culture Do You Know Why We Remember 'Araw Ng Kagitingan'?

Do You Know Why We Remember 'Araw Ng Kagitingan'?

Filipino and American prisoners of war marched from Mariveles to San Fernando. This march was named the Bataan Death March because of the high number of brutal and gruesome deaths along the road at the hands of the Japanese.
Filipino and American prisoners of war marched from Mariveles to San Fernando. This march was named the Bataan Death March because of the high number of brutal and gruesome deaths along the road at the hands of the Japanese.
By Jove Moya
By Jove Moya
April 08, 2021
As we commemorate the lives of unsung heroes who fought on the Day of Valour, Tatler sums up everything that happened in the Philippines this day 79 years ago.

The story of the Fall of Bataan remains to be a devastating tale. But unlike The Shining or American Psycho, this is not a  story ripped off of fiction books. It is a tragedy engraved in the dark pages of our history.

The Day of Valour, also known as the Araw ng Kagitingan, commemorates the Filipino and American soldiers who stood up against Japanese forces during World War II. 

On 9 April 1942, Luzon Force, Bataan commander Major General Edward P King, Jr, surrendered more than 76,000 of his starving and disease-ridden troops (64,000 Filipinos and 12,000 Americans) to Japan. 

As captives, the soldiers were forced to endure the infamous 140-kilometre Bataan Death March to Camp O'Donnell in Capas, Tarlac. Along the way, thousands died due to famine, heat prostration, untreated wounds, and wanton or execution-style murder. 

Historians believe that only 54,000 of the 76,000 prisoners were able to reach Camp O'Donnell. The exact number of deaths and escapees was difficult to assess.

Read also: A Dose of History: The Glory Days Of Philippine Society Before World War II

Filipino and American prisoners of war marched from Mariveles to San Fernando. This march was named the Bataan Death March because of the high number of brutal and gruesome deaths along the road at the hands of the Japanese.
Filipino and American prisoners of war marched from Mariveles to San Fernando. This march was named the Bataan Death March because of the high number of brutal and gruesome deaths along the road at the hands of the Japanese.

The Plan

The Japanese planned to move the captured soldiers to Camp O’Donnell, a place that they turned into a prison. During the march, soldiers were placed into boxcars in San Fernando. Men who could not fit in were forced to walk. 

Camp O’ Donnell was later closed and the imprisoned soldiers were transferred to Cabanatuan prison camp to join the prisoners of war from the Battle of Corregidor.

The Hardships

The Philippines’ surrender to Japan led to the world’s worst atrocities in modern warfare. The Japanese troops did not provide food and water to their captives; as a result, many soldiers became weaker and started to fall behind the group.

Those who fell behind were beaten and killed. Those who were not lucky enough were driven over by trucks and other army vehicles.

Read also: History Focus: All About The Buffalo Soldiers During The Philippine-American War

Photo: Harley Ride to Nowhere
Photo: Harley Ride to Nowhere

Soldiers Rescued

The march lasted for six days. The prisoners who survived were only rescued in early 1945 during the Raid at Cabanatuan

Bataan Day is also remembered in the U.S.

Maywood, Illinois, a small western suburb of Chicago, is the hometown of the members of the 192nd Tank Battalion, a US Army unit that participated in the Battle of Bataan. The town marked the second Sunday in September as Maywood Bataan Day.


 

All former prisoners of war during World War II Pedro PIneda, Proculo Bualet, David Tejada and Luis Gaerlan Jr. as seen on Thursday May 22, 2014, in San Francisco, Calif. Pineda, Tejada and Gaerlan are survivors of the Bataan Death March of 1942. Bualet is a POW survivor, captured on Corregidor.  A talk with survivors of the Bataan Death March of 1942. (Photo by Michael Macor/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)
All former prisoners of war during World War II Pedro PIneda, Proculo Bualet, David Tejada and Luis Gaerlan Jr. as seen on Thursday May 22, 2014, in San Francisco, Calif. Pineda, Tejada and Gaerlan are survivors of the Bataan Death March of 1942. Bualet is a POW survivor, captured on Corregidor. A talk with survivors of the Bataan Death March of 1942. (Photo by Michael Macor/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)
Photo: The Jerny Travel and Inspiration
Photo: The Jerny Travel and Inspiration

Araw Ng Kagitingan

Under Republic Act 3022, the Day of Valour was officially a Filipino holiday. Passed by Congress in 1961, the law says part of the observance for Bataan Day is a moment of silence among citizens and public offices at 4:30pm.

More from Tatler: Why Philippine Music Is So Deeply Embedded in The Culture: Notes on Filipino History
 

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Arts & Culture Holiday Day of Valor History Fall of Bataan

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