Araw ng Kagitingan is a national holiday in the Philippines which fall annually on April 9. It commemorates the heroism of Filipino soldiers during the World War II. At the dawn of April 9, 1942, after a month of defending against the Japanese invaders, exhausted and lacking in food and medicine, Major General Edward King Jr, head of the commanding force in Luzon surrendered more than 76,000 Filipino, Chinese and American soldiers to Lieutenant Masaharu Homma. This was known as the Fall of Bataan. The soldiers were forced to take a 90-mile march to Camp ‘O Donnell. Thousands of soldiers died during the hike (also known as the Bataan Death March) due to starvation, dehydration, exhaustion and diseases before they could reach the camp.
|The route starts from Mariveles Bataan to San Fernando Pampanga by marching, from San Fernando Pampanga to Capas Tarlac through train and from Capas Tarlac to Camp 'O Donnell by marching again|
|Prisoners of War on the march from Bataan to the prison camp|
|Thousands of dead soldiers on the Bataan Death March|
After the surrender of Japan in 1945, an Allied Commission convicted Masaharu Homma for war crimes and was executed on April 3, 1946. To commemorate and honor the soldiers, Araw ng Kagitingan is celebrated as a national holiday in the Philippines. The Capas National Shrine in Capas, Tarlac was built in the grounds surrounding Camp 'O Donnell and a shrine in Bataan named Dambana ng Kagitingan commemorates the Death March.
|Dambana ng Kagitingan at Mt. Samat, Bataan|