Heritage Sites

7 Places That Make You Proud to Be Filipino

Ilocos Norte, Iloilo, La Union, Bataan, Tarlac, , Ifugao

Phillip Kimpo Jr.
Phillip Kimpo Jr. | Apr 07, 2014

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The vicious wars fought on Philippine soil have brought out the best in the Filipino spirit—valor, camaraderie, patriotism, and an indomitable assertion of freedom. These traits are what the landmarks listed here commemorate and keep alive for future generations.

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Maintained by the Veterans Historical and Memorial Division of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (tel. no. 02-9114296), these shrines are destinations of their own.

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Photo courtesy of Kiangan.gov.ph.

With the Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) rolling around this April 9, you might want to take the time to visit these sites. Who knows, your pilgrimage might spin off into a bigger adventure, as these places neighbor other natural and man-made tourist attractions.



1) Mount Samat National Shrine (Dambana ng Kagitingan)

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Photo courtesy of Gian Paul Flores from Wikipedia.

Where:

Mount Samat, Pilar, Bataan

What it’s all about:

Where the Filipino-American forces made their last stand against the Japanese Imperial Army.

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Photo courtesy of SamTan from Wikipedia.

What to see:
  • The Memorial Cross at the highest point of Mt. Samat, with an elevator to take guests to the viewing deck, which offers a breathtaking, panoramic view of the province and Manila Bay.
  • The Colonnade, a marble edifice featuring sculptures by National Artist Napoleon Abueva.
Nearby destinations:
  • Pawikan Conservation Center, Morong, Bataan
  • First Abucay Catholic Church, Abucay, Bataan
  • Sibul Spring, Abucay, Bataan
  • Mt. Natib, Orani, Bataan
  • Camaya Coast, Mariveles, Bataan
  • Anvaya Cove, Morong, Bataan
  • Ciudad Real de Acuzar, Bagac, Bataan



2) Kiangan Shrine

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Photo courtesy of Shubert Ciencia from Wikipedia.

Where:

Linda, Kiangan, Ifugao Province

What it’s all about:

Where General Yamashita surrendered his Japanese Imperial forces after a last stand in the Cordilleras.

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Photo courtesy of Kiangan.gov.ph.

What to see:
  • Bantayog Monument
  • Ifugao Museum
Nearby destinations:
  • Banaue and Batad Rice Terraces, Banaue, Ifugao
  • Nagacadan Rice Terraces, Kiangan, Ifugao
  • The town of Sagada, Mountain Province
  • Magat Dam, Alfonso Lista, Ifugao
  • Ambuwaya Lake, Kiangan, Ifugao
  • Mt. Data Hotel, Bauko, Mountain Province
  • Mt. Polis, Banaue, Ifugao



3) Capas National Shrine

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Where:

Aranguren, Capas, Tarlac

What it’s all about:

Site of the actual concentration camp used by the Japanese to house Filipino and American prisoners of war after the fall of Bataan. Thousands of Allied soldiers who took part in the “Death March” died at this camp.

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What to see:
  • The Obelisk
  • Wall of Heroes
  • Actual train boxcar used to transport Death March victims
Nearby destinations:
  • Mt. Pinatubo, jump-off point at Brgy. Sta. Juliana, Capas
  • Lubigan Eco-Tourism Park, San Jose
  • Monasterio de Tarlac, San Jose
  • Aquino Center Museum, Tarlac City
  • Ninoy Aquino Ancestral House, Tarlac City
  • Tarlac Recreational Park, San Jose
  • Luisita, Tarlac City
  • Timangguyob Falls, San Clemente
  • Nambalan rapids, Mayantoc



4) Ricarte National Shrine

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Photo courtesy of Karla Vanessa Redor.

Where:

Batac, Ilocos Norte

What it’s all about:

Commemorates the centennial of Philippine Independence and the centennial of the appointment of General Artemio Ricarte as the first Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

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Photo courtesy of Cesar Cambay.

What to see:
  • Double life-sized bronze monument of Gen. Ricarte
  • Ricarte Museum
Nearby destinations:
  • Marcos Museum and Mausoleum, Batac
  • Fort Ilocandia, Laoag City
  • Sinking Bell Tower, Laoag City
  • Paoay Church, Paoay
  • Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, Burgos
  • Wind Farm, Bangui
  • The beaches of Pagudpud
  • Juan Luna Shrine, Badoc
  • Salt-making in Pasuquin



5) Balantang National Shrine

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Photo courtesy of the NHCP.

Where:

Jaro, Iloilo City, Iloilo

What it’s all about:

Dedicated to the men and women of the 6th Military District, the Filipino guerrilla force that liberated the provinces of Panay, Romblon, and Guimaras from the Japanese Imperial forces.

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Photo courtesy of PVAO.

What to see:
  • Wall of Memories
  • Pylon and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
  • General Macario Peralta Museum
Nearby destinations:
  • Miag-ao Church, Miag-ao
  • Molo Church, Iloilo City
  • Guimbal Church, Guimbal
  • San Joaquin Church, San Joaquin
  • Old Capitol Building, Iloilo City
  • Museo Iloilo, Iloilo City
  • The beaches of San Joaquin
  • Villa Beach, Iloilo City
  • Calle Real de Iloilo, Iloilo City



6) USAFIP, NL Military Shrine and Park

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Photo courtesy of PVAO.

Where:

Darigayos, Luna, La Union

What it’s all about:

Part of the original Camp Spencer established by the “USAFIP, NL,” a mostly-Filipino guerrilla force that liberated Northern Luzon from the Japanese Imperial forces.

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Photo courtesy of Visit La Union.

What to see:
  • Memorial Monument
  • Memorial Wall
  • Seaside park
Nearby destinations:
  • Baluarte Tower, Luna
  • Various surfing spots all over La Union
  • Namacpacan Church, Luna
  • Botanical Gardens, San Fernando City
  • Ma-Cho Temple, San Fernando City
  • Pindangan Ruins, San Fernando City
  • Poro Point, San Fernando City
  • Lon-oy Spring, San Gabriel



7) Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery)

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Where:

Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, Metro Manila

What it’s all about:

The final resting place of World War II martyrs, as well as Filipinos who have contributed much to the progress of the nation such as presidents of the Republic, heroes, veterans of military campaigns, statesmen, and national artists.

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What to see:
  • Heroes Memorial Gate
  • Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
  • Pylon Monuments
  • The Cemetery
  • PEFTOK Korean War Memorial Hall
Nearby destinations:
  • Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
  • Napindan Parola, Taguig City
  • Dambanang Kawayan, Taguig City
  • The Mind Museum, Taguig City
  • Simboryo at the Sta. Ana Cemetery, Taguig City


[Text adapted from the original version, written by the same author, which appeared in the now-defunct Side Trip travel magazine, March-April 2013 issue.]

Related Philippine Veterans Week article:
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