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.

Steve Richie

Hi folks, Two lives in one lifetime. The first me, lived to age thirty-four. That Steve was overly confident and oozing with pride. Then, on a record heat-setting day (107º) here in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota and western Wisconsin, a one car near-fatal wreck left me in a two-month long coma. I emerged much as I was before minus certain physical capabilities, but my mind seemed mostly in tact. The crash and its effects did not change me (I emerged a happy individual) but the deeds perpetrated against me in the ensuing months from my wife of sixteen years scared and humbled me as I was dragged down with nothing left by my wife who now had guardianship over all of our accounts. And neither would she allow me to see our kids. She took everything out of, "Our" names and changed them to her name only; then would not allow me to our home and divorced me. I was angry, but no more. I spent half of 1988 and more than half of 1989 in hospitals, nursing homes and a three month stint at a head-injury rehab center where I was being taught how to re-enter society as this different person, that I didn't know. I was not able to return to my previous line of work, a self-employed decorator, you know, painting and paperhanging. It was a physical job which required much dexterity, finesse, and a good grasp of numbers. I returned to the beginning, school, but on a community college level. One of the instructor's liked my writing and I began focusing my attention on that. I attended classes at, "The Loft," A Place for Writers in Minneapolis. While there, a classmate of mine was having her friend from New York, a CBS executive, to her home for the holidays and asked me if she could do a critique on a couple chapters of a book I was writing, "A Day I'll Never Remember" and I obliged. When she returned to class the following Monday she told me that the exec wanted a ten-page synopsis of the book for a possible movie; I was excited. After obliging for that also, I never saw or heard from her or the guy from CBS. Next thing I knew I was watching a movie called, "Regarding Henry" starring Harrison Ford and the scenes of therapy were exactly like what I went through and had written about. Regarding Henry - could've been my story except that, "Henry" got his head injury from a gunshot and his wife stayed with him throughout the ordeal. Coincidence I'm sure, though, the therapy scenes entailed what I described in the book so I always wondered..... My hope, my dream is to bolster our income for my daughter and for myself. I am and have been raising this beautiful, talented little girl who was diagnosed with autism at age two, since 2006 singlehandedly. I divorced her mother the same year following complaints that I spent too much time with our daughter. However, Stephanie began school with no need for special education. She has been reading since age four and understanding what she'd read. Stephanie maintains straight "A's" on her report card, has published two books (through school) and has been selected as an, "Honors" student for seventh grade English. My ex moved to New York to be closer to her sister and has been remarried now for a number of years. Well, that's only a snippet of my sixty-one years and I would like to thank you for reading, thank you.


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