Travel Philippines – Bataan Province

Stephanie’s Philippine Ancestry

Bataan Province

 Born: April 9, 2003 at 12:09 A.M. Bataan Day in that Philippine Province.  Bernabe Village Subdivision, 2103, Limay Bataan, Philippines.

Bataan Day – your day, April 9.
Downtown Limay, Bataan – 2003
The Bataan Peninsula juts into Manila Bay and is just across the water from the megapolis.  Arrivals and departures could be at  either , Port Orion or another, Port Lamao.  We ferried across many times while taking you, Stephanie, to St. Luke’s Medical Center and to the U.S. Embassy to acquire your American citizenship. You are now a citizen of both countries.
Allow me to give some history of the province dating back to when the U. S. was brought into WWII by Japan.  When the Pacific War broke out in 1941, the selection of the peninsula of Bataan as the locale of the last defensive stand against the invading japanese forces brought fame and infamy to Bataan.  Bataan is probably best remembered for its worst and saddest time in history.  Let’s fast-foward  to 1942 and answer this question -What Was the Bataan Death March?
Prisoners of the Bataan Death March

The Bataan Death March was a 65-mile forced march of American and Filipino prisoners of war by Japanese forces during World War II.

Mt. Samat Cross (Shrine of Valor)

Approximately 75,000 American and Filipino soldiers were forced to surrender to Japan’s Imperial Army after their defeat in the grinding, three-month-long Battle of Bataan (January 7 – April 9, 1942).  The Allied soldiers had not been resupplied for a couple of months, many were sick and malnourished.The loss of life and property cannot be estimated. Bataan then became the symbol of valor and tenacity in its hopeless stand against the much superior invading Japanese Imperial Forces. Today, a national landmark called the Shrine of Valor  stands majestically on top of Mt. Samat in Pilar as testimony to the gallantry and sacrifices of the men and women who with their blood, tears, and sweat made the grounds of Bataan hallowed.

People, Culture and the Arts

   Most of the 424,000 people living in Bataan are Tagalogs. Kapampangans comprise a significant minority of less than 10% and are concentrated in the municipalities adjoining the province of Pampanga. Recent rapid industrialization has lured thousands of people from other provinces to settle within Bataan.

The province of Bataan has always been linked closely to the culture and economy of Manila. Much of what Bataan produces is exported to the big city. The primary traditional industry of Bataan is fishing. It is the home of thousands of fishermen whose industry has spawned a unique craft of net and fishtrap making.

The town of Orion is famous for its tuyo (dried fish), an awful smell, but a great taste.   Orani used to have large tracts of nipa (pronounced neepa) groves, which used to produce a native beverage called tuba.  Tuba is still produced but in smaller quantities and primarily for local consumption.  In the old days the nipa was also used to make Nipa Huts.  The Nipa Hut is more for show now-a-days, or for, Bahay Kubos similar to gazebos in the west.

Tiny nipa hut or fully enclosed Bahay Kubo

The majority of ones used today have a bluish netting to help stop snakes from falling inside.  I like the looks of the huts in the Pilipinas because they look so natural and they are cooler because they are natural. I inquired about having one built while I was in the Philippines back in 1998 and now I am ready to go ahead with my plans.

Events and Holidays   Feast Days and Festivals

Feast days, or “fiesta”, as more popularly known, are always good memories to cherish. A lot of activities are in store for the entertainment of the people. There are fairs, carnivals, bargain shops, craft shops, amateur singing and dancing contests, musical shows, beauty pageants, to the delight of the audience because of the hilarious and crazy antics of the contestants. On the eve of a fiesta there is often a “serenata” (brass band) exhibition or contest in the plaza. On the big day, drum and bugle bands would march on the streets with the “karakol” or street dancing lively strutting along their wake.

Holy Week (March-April)

Holy week in Bataan…

The observance of the Holy Week in Bataan starts with Ash Wednesday when kubuls are set up in every barangay for the pabasa wherein the life of Jesus Christ is read through chanting by devotees. It precedes the week-long activities that take place from Linggo ng Palaspas (Palm Sunday) to Salubong (Easter Sunday), highlighted by church events.

Bataan Death March

Bataan Day (April 9)  The Bataan Day Celebration is an annual event of the province. War veterans and their families travel from all over the country to Mount Samat every April 9 to reminisce the past and celebrate the bravery of our soldiers who offered their lives for freedom. Prior to the big day, the Provincial Government and the Provincial Tourism Office sponsor activities like a photo contest and exhibit, quiz bees, beauty pageants, trade fairs, and a drum and bugle competition/exhibition.

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