Nope, this isn't mountain climbing. The 16th Hotair Balloon Fiesta(i'll make a seperate blog entry for this one) was the Bakasyonista's first out of town trip for 2011 so the planning was done as early as the start of year. We agreed to hire a van so we can easily manage our itinerary for our sidetrip which is Mt. Samat in Pilar, Bataan but unfortunately, the driver backed-out 6 hours before our scheduled meetup. Talk about stress. And so we agreed that we will just go on a bus to Clark and then later to Mt. Samat after meeting up at Ortigas. Ivy was on a cab and was on her way to meet us when the driver heard that we were looking for a van rental. Call it coincidence or maybe it's just our lucky day, the driver was willing to rent out his Innova for us! So off to Bataan we go and 3 hours later, we arrived at Pilar.
On top of the mountain lies the Shrine of Valor, a monument dedicated to all the Filipinos and American soldiers that lost their lives during the battle of Bataan in 1942. Learn how the Battle of Bataan shaped the local community following WWII with a degree in history. If you don't have a car, you may opt to walk the 7km stretch of road leading up to the shrine winding uphill if you are a bit of an adventurer or hire a tricycle that charges at least 100 per head. The road going to the shrine really woke up my senses. It was like going on a rollercoaster ride, only longer.
Upon entering the museum, you'll feel amazed at the colonnade and its floor because it's not common to see these kinds of structures in the Philippines. In some way it has a resemblance with the ones that your normally see in the US.
The shrine also features a 92-meter high cross that has a viewing deck within its arms. It is connected to the colonnade by a zigzag road so you need to do some considerable climbing before you reach the foot of the cross. We were lucky because the service elevator was working that time or else we have to climb the 416-step staircase all the way up. There was a long queue of people wanting to go up so we waited for our turn to get accommodated.
The view from the top is just breathtaking and the mountain breeze is so relaxing. A perfect way to end the day tour.
Many thanks to Ms. Lily Biscocho for providing us the proper directions. I hope this place will be maintained by your department for future generations.