TO MOTORCYCLE riders who are also history buffs, the Mt. Samat National Shrine is a cool place to visit.
Situated near the top of Mt. Samat in Pilar, Bataan, the shrine is located 133 kilometers away from Metro Manila. This means lots of roads to ride on for Manileño motorcyclists yet it is not too far like, let’s say the province of La Union, Baguio City in the Cordilleras or the Ilocos region.
One of our good friends, a veteran of several rides up north, was generous enough to guide our way to the historic mountain.
We met one Sunday morning in Malolos City and from there we throttled our way to the nearby province of Bataan.
We used the Manila North Road route, passing through Calumpit, Bulacan before entering Pampanga province via the town of Apalit.
We went past Sto. Tomas before turning left to Jose Abad Santos Avenue in San Fernando City.
The road was long and wide that we were able to hurtle up to 100 kilometers per hour on our way to the town of Guagua, also in Pampanga. It was all straight from Lubao in the Cabalen province until we rested for a few minutes to take pictures of the First Line of Defense Marker in Dinalupihan, Bataan.
We passed by Orani then Balanga before turning right to Gov. JJ Linao National Road.
Along the way, there was an arc with the sign “Dambana ng Kagitingan,” which was the frontage route to Mt. Samat Road, a short stretch of zigzaggy path similar to Marilaque national highway.
At the end of the road, we saw that great big cross that marks the Mt. Samat National Shrine.
The park consists of a large Colonnade and the Memorial Cross, which was erected as a tribute to the soldiers who fought and lost their lives in the Battle of Bataan.
Around the Colonnade, there were displays of World War II cannons and various anti-aircraft guns.
Most of the war memorabilia, including pictures, soldiers’ uniforms and various weaponry; were displayed at the museum located at the bottom of the Colonnade.
The Memorial Cross meanwhile has an artistic sculptural slabs at the base, depicting significant battles and historical events by National Artist Napoleon Abueva.
Too bad, we weren’t able to climb the cross, which offers a panoramic view of Bataan and Corregidor Island.