25 February 2024


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In commemoration of the Bataan Death March

5 min read
Veterans Bank’s Freedom Trail 2018 kicks off countdown for 76th Year of Bataan Death March Commemoration

The Philippine Veterans Bank (PVB) kicks off the 76th anniversary of the Bataan Death March commemoration with the Mariveles-San Fernando-Capas Freedom Trail (Freedom Trail) event on March 24 to 25, 2018.

The two-day, three provinces wide event, which aims to instill the values of Bravery, Sacrifice and Love for Country, will be highlighted by a retracing of the actual Death March 160km route by AFP Reservists and Personnel, 160KM Run Relay, Motorbike Tour, March, Float Parade, and Poster-Making contest awarding.

WWII Veterans
World War 2 veterans Florentino Platero, 88yo from Orani, Bataan and Caesar Aguirre 90yo from Pilar l, Bataan. Both their fathers were killed by the Japanese during World War 2.

Veterans Bank’s Freedom Trail likewise honors Filipino World War II heroes and survivors by involving the public in this solemn remembrance of heroism.

Organizers have prepared different categories to accommodate civilian, military and police units by running, walking or riding in two wheels while retracing the steps of our fallen heroes during the Bataan Death March.

“It is our generation’s responsibility to commemorate and honor the bravery and heroism of our veterans during the war. It will be a sin to forget how valiantly they fought and how they looked out for their fellow soldiers amid torture, injury, and starvation. History will hold us accountable if the next generations forget the Bataan Death March,” said Mike Villareal, Head of Veterans Bank’s Corporate and Consumer Relations Division.

Bob Hudson
Bob Hudson, son of an American Bataan Death March survivor pays respect to Pinoy veterans, Florentino Platero and Caesar Aguirre at KM30 stop of 2018 Freedom Trail.

The Death March, considered as one of the darkest days in Philippine History, is the forcible transfer of 60,000–80,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war (POW) from Mariveles and Saysain Point, Bagac, Bataan to Camp O’Donnell, Capas, Tarlac. The prisoners were loaded onto trains in San Fernando, Pampanga.

The march began sometime on April 11, 1942, and left thousands dead and seriously wounded after enduring torture under the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army.

The Death March route stretches from Mariveles in Bataan to Capas, Tarlac via San Fernando, Pampanga via the old roads.

Simultaneous Activities

The Freedom Trail will have three event categories:

  1. a competitive 160KM team relay;
  2. the Ride for Valor for big bikes; and
  3. the Freedom March.

160km team relay

The 160KM Team Relay is open to all. There is a registration fee of 1,500 pesos per team. Teams are composed of eight riders, with a minimum of two female riders. All teams must provide their own support vehicle, headlamps, and food. There will be checkpoints at every 10km. Fastest top three teams to reach Capas National Shrine in Tarlac will win a trophy and cash prize. Assembly is 5:00 am, March 24, 2018, at KM Zero, Mariveles, Bataan. The race starts at 6:00 am.

Ride for valor

The Ride for Valor is a non-competitive event for big bikers. Registration fee is 1,500 pesos. Participants will receive an exclusive commemorative patch for the event. Only motorbikes with engines 400cc and larger are allowed. The Ride for Valor will trace the route from KM Zero in Mariveles, Bataan to the Capas National Shrine in Tarlac. There will be historical stops along the way with a short program and performance from the tour guides. Participants are reminded to wear safety gear at all times. There will be a boodle fight at the end of the Ride. The Ride starts at 6:00 am on March 25, 2018, at KM Zero, Mariveles, Bataan.

Freedom march

Marchers from KM Zero in Mariveles, Bataan.
Marchers from KM Zero in Mariveles, Bataan.

The Freedom March will be a torch-passing relay for AFP Personnel & Reservists and youth groups. Participation is free. Participants can join at any point of the course. Special performances will be done by re-enactors at different points along the route.

The march will start at 6:00 am on March 24, 2018, at KM Zero, Mariveles, Bataan and expected to end at 5:00 pm on March 25, 2018, at the Capas National Shrine in Capas, Tarlac.

The Freedom Memorial Trail also recognizes the importance of the ROTC Unit for their efforts and service during the war. It shall be a rallying point for ROTC cadet officers, NSTP Students, ROTC Alumni members, and Army Reservists.

This year’s event also includes events for the general public, including a short program to be performed at the historical sites highlighting its importance to our history. There will also be a poster-making competition among the different barangays along the trail from Bataan, Pampanga, and Tarlac. This shall raise public awareness at the barangay level prior to the celebration of the Freedom Trail. All winning posters shall be exhibited at the Capas National Shrine during the Veterans Week Celebration.

Since 2014, the Philippine Veterans Bank, with PVAO and the Provincial Government of Bataan along with other partners, have held the Bataan Freedom Run in honor of WWII veterans who endured the death march in 1942.

To register and find out more about the Bataan Freedom Run and the Mariveles-San Fernando-Capas Freedom Trail, visit http://www.bataanfreedomrun.com.

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