the death march

You'll see a lot of these in Bataan.  It's a symbol of suffering, and this is how it almost felt like when we were walking up to the top of the Shrine of Valor in Mt. Samat.  And on this arc below is where it starts.

Dambana ng Kagitingan

Ambo was already approaching when we had the 8km walk to the Shrine of Valor in Mt. Samat or the Dambana ng Kagitingan.  Okay, I'm gonna tell you a secret, we didn't really walk up to the top of the mountain, well we would, we were down for the challenge, but it started raining and we have a kid in the group, so we decided to ride on the tricycle whose driver had been offering us a ride since we started walking up to the 3rd km.. that's when it started to rain.

One of the reasons why we kept on refusing the tricycle drivers' offer was because it wasn't that cheap, but we can not risk the kid's health so eventually we gave in.

half of our group

A few minutes later, we reached the top but it was still raining.. so we waited for it to stop because we're going to climb a thousand steps or more up to the shrine! that was awesome!  You have no idea how I love stairs!  I was pretty exhausted and kinda wet because we waited for about half an hour and the rain didn't stop and we cannot wait that long so we head on and started crawling.

Shrine of Valor, Mt. Samat

Reaching the top, the very top; we're tired, thirsty, wet, kinda hungry, but happy that we did it.  Okay, at that time, we were glad that we did the tricycle because we might not have had the strength to climb that long stairs if we did the 8km walk.. sooo thank you rain, thank you tricycle drivers, and thank you kid, that we have a kid to think about.

You can't even see the end of the trail on that photo above, it's suffer long!

We didn't expect though a bunch of people when we got there.  We thought it's just a few because of the weather, and so we waited for our cue to climb up the cross.. now this is the fun part, finally!

the Shrine of Valor, Mt. Samat

We found some military groups up there and I was like "what's going on? are we in trouble?", just in my mind though.  Apparently these armed groups, that's what alarmed me, they were armed (what for?), were also tourists.  Actually, they're friendly and another thing to thank about that they're there was because of an elevator incident.

So after about half an hour or so, we decided to leave because the wind was getting strong and the cross we were on was shaking badly, like we were on a ship.. and we got a little dizzy, or maybe it was just all in our heads.  But the old guy did say, I think he's one of the staff, he said that we have nothing to worry about because the landmark was typhoon and earthquake proof.  Yeah, I do think it can handle the strongest wind, but we have stayed long enough and we're hungry.

view from the Shrine

view from the Shrine

The elevator was small it could only accommodate 6 people and we were 8 in the group.. so we were like sardines. haha!  But on the way down, Jam and I were left, I think because some other people joined them, and there was quite a crowd on the elevator line.  So Jam and I joined some of the military men.. we were halfway down when it stopped in the middle of floors.  They lost electricity apparently.
These men decided to open the door and.. I can't remember if there was jumping involved, I think there was., but I was hesitant to get out because I was thinking what if the electricity comes back while I was in the middle of getting out?!  It happens a lot in the movies!  But they escorted us girls, Jam and I were the only girls there, and we went down the stairs safely.  The electricity I think went back after a few hours.. or so I thought, and there were still a couple of people left on the top.  But they couldn't be trapped because there were stairs.. okay, that's disappointing.

So we got out and it started to rain pretty bad, plus a bit of strong wind.  I think this was the first day that Ambo joined us in our trip.  Thankfully there were enough picnic cottages for everyone stranded.  Some of them improvised raincoats for them to get out of the place, but we stayed until it stopped for almost an hour, and that's when we decided to eat.  We brought food, but if I remember it correctly there were stalls where you can buy food, but expect them to be expensive.  So just bring your own baon.

view from the Shrine, Mt. Samat

Shrine of Valor, Mt. Samat

Shrine of Valor, Mt. Samat