Monday, February 03, 2014

CAPAS NATIONAL SHRINE: A Sidetrip to History

As part of Travel Factor’s Pinatubo Trek itinerary, we dropped by Capas National Shrine in Tarlac on our way back to Manila. There is a minimal entrance fee of PhP 10, which was already included in the package.

With still weak and trembling knees from the trek, I alighted the van and surveyed the place. The line of trees and the pavement leading to the monument reminds me of Rizal Park back in Manila.

The monument at the center is very tall and narrow. It is called an obelisk, which according to Wikipedia is “a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top.”

The obelisk is surrounded by a circular wall (“The Wall of Heroes”) made of dark marble which has about 70 thousand names of Filipino and American soldiers who suffered during the Bataan March. I tried to find someone on the list who has the same surname as mine. Who knows, I might have a distant relative who stood up heroically during the Japanese Occupation.

There were also rows of trees which gave me Koreanovela feels, but turns out that these trees were planted to represent each of the deceased.

Aside from the list of names, there were quotes and poetry engraved along the walls. And one that really tugged at my heart was this:

"This memorial is dedicated to the brave men and women who defied the might of the invaders at Bataan, Corregidor and other parts of the Philippines during World War II. Thousands died in battle, during the Death March, and while in captivity. Thousands more endured inhuman conditions at the prison camp in Capas, Tarlac. They suffered in the night so that their countrymen would wake to the dawn of freedom."

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