After having Spicy Pork Sinigang for breakfast at a karinderya in Balanga, Bataan and a quick visit to Balanga Church, we were no in Balanga Public Transportation Terminal and were asking around on how do we get to Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valor).
I thought that we should ride the jeep to Bagac since it will be passing by Diwa, the jumpoff going up Mount Samat, but we were then pointed referred to jeepneys going to Cabog-Cabog. The reason why the jeepney drivers to Bagac refer people to Cabog-Cabog when they are going to Diwa because they can pick up passengers after they pass by the town of Cabog-Cabog. This makes both jeepney routes have significant income when they get home.
At around 8AM, our jeepney to Cabog-Cabog left and after 17 Pesos and 20 minutes we got down at the intersection going to Mount Samat at Diwa.
There were tricycles waiting on the intersection and they were offering 100 Pesos/person for a one-way trip to the top of Mount Samat. Unfortunately, we only had 1,000 Pesos all-in for our budget around Bataan so we kindly declined their offer.
According to the tricycle drivers the walk would take us about 2 to 3 hours but the locals doubtedly told us that it would only take us 1 hour. Frankly, I thought the tricycle drivers were trying to exaggerate the time so that they could convince us to pay for them. There were a lot of literature also on the internet that says it would only take 1 hour.
After drinking a bottle of softdrink just to jumpstart my blood and a brief relaxing moment inside the CR we started walking to the top of Mount Samat at around 8:45AM.
We passed by some people drying barbecue sticks on the road.
A lot of firetrees.
Countless of vehicles passed us by.
At one point I wanted to stop and take a rest from the uphill walk but when I looked at Maui she still looked fresh and untired. In order to raise the proud flag of all men in the world, I sucked it up and continued walking. A moment later she removed her bag from her shoulders and was walking by carrying her bag on her hand but she still looked fresh and untired, so I thought she was just joking. Then she asked me “Pwede naman tayo magpahinga diba?” That’s when it dawned on me that she was already tired even though she still looked fresh and untired. I was now wearing the virtual bandana on my forehead with the words “manhid”.
I said sorry and we quickly looked for a level ground to rest for 5 minutes. After that we continued on and planned that we would take short rests after 10 minutes of walking.
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And after 30 minutes of walking we saw the sign.
The sign that we were still 5 kilometers away! Quickly computing the average walk of a normal person is 5 kilometers per hour on a flat surface. But this is no flat surface it was mostly steep uphills with hairpin curves! I understand that many people can walk this road for an hour but not on a fun relaxed pace like we were doing. Obviously, this is another case of probinsyanos saying “malapit na” but in truth it was still far away.
Looks like the tricycle drivers below were not the opportunistic ones as they were telling the truth. O well, even if that were the case we still can’t afford to riding them as we only had a thousand peso budget for the whole trip.
Tricycles that came from above were passing us by and was offering us a ride to the top but since we already walked a significant distance they now offered us 75 Pesos/person. We kindly declined and told them that the sweat that we perspired was still not enough. Even if there were a lot of times we were offered to ride on the tricycles, I was happy that they were not as annoyingly pushy on getting their services than what I experienced on other provinces.
We then saw the 4 kilometer marker to Dambana ng Kagitingan.
Saw a few other markers too.
Maui and I already had significant talking time since the walk was long, steep and winding. I was really avoiding to ask the question “Why are we doing this?” We were laughing on our half meant jokes. Jokes that we would now be riding the next tricycle to go up Mount Samat. Jokes that we would try doing the thumbs up sideways to get a hitch on a random passing by vehicle.
I saw a vehicle going up Mount Samat that was almost full and did the latter joke but this time it was four-fifth meant. Surprisingly they stopped on us and let us ride to the top of Mount Samat! Woohoo!
After 1 hour of walking and a liter of perspiration we were now sitting at the back of a vehicle of random-kind-hearted-strangers. Experiencing this is priceless.
We got a look on how long we would still be walking and the last part was a long steep uphill!
Paid the entrance fee of 20 Pesos per person.
At 10AM we said thanks to the kind people who let two perspiring strangers ride with them. Thanks!
We then went up to the museum. It was still how I remembered it when I was still a child.
A memorable view of Bataan. Marbles. An altar. Glass art. Two walls facing each other that was telling stories on how much suffering was made before this shrine was put up.
After taking pictures we now had to face the greatest enemy of Kung Fu Panda, stairs. This was needed to reach the foot of the giant cross.
When we reached the top of the stairs we decided to just rest a bit and eat a lot. Good thing Maui‘s bag was 3/4th full of delectable goodies.
While we were eating we observed the sculptures embedded on the base of the cross. It depicts of fights fought before not yielding to conquerors. A symbol of Kagitingan (Valor).
I was so caught up in the moment that I didn’t realize that I was already a part of the sculptures.
At around 10:55 AM, we decided to stop eating and ride the elevator to the wings of the cross.
I remember when I first came here, there were no elevator and the only way to get to the top was to climb the metal stairs. Climbing the metal stairs was scary as it was constantly in motion too due to the force made by the people walking on them. But now we only had to pay 10 Pesos for the elevator and about 30 seconds of feeling like a sardine inside a can we now reached the wings of the cross.
I was excited to see it for the second time as it’s almost 2 decades since I last went there.
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I stepped out of the elevator and was walked to the end which I found the round window to be still there. The floors were not tiled. There were also seats on the sides. The long side windows were still there making you feel the cool strong winds inside.
Somehow I was disappointed. When I went here before I could not stand straight as the headroom was small, too small for an adult that my parents had to crawl. The floor was covered with red carpet before, now it was tiled. We sat on the floor before, now there were seats on the side.
Somehow I was glad. Wow it can accommodate more people than before. So my experience before would only be to those who went there before the renovation.
The guard was calling on people to go down when they are finished with what they are doing but we decided to just savor the moment of being inside the cross.
After 10 minutes we decided to go down and become sardines again.
We decided to rest for a bit before walking the 7 kilometer route downward.
I took another brief relaxing moment at the CR and when I got out the one guarding the CR surprisingly came out of nowhere and was asking me 2 Pesos for the use of the CR.
Got down the stairs and passed by the museum again. We saw a small store and we drank a small softdrink again to jumpstart our blood for the walk.
But as soon as we stepped out of the gate and was walking on the side of the road a van beeped at us and I quickly asked if we could ride with them going down. Surprisingly, they stopped and let us in. The family inside told us that they were sorry that they do not have an aircon but we didn’t mind. It was much better than to walk on the 7 kilometer route on a lunchtime sun. I remember seeing this van when we were walking up Mount Samat and when I looked at the couple they were the ones I was asking some question at the base of Mount Samat.
We got down at the intersection of Diwa as the family will be going to Balanga and we were headed for Bagac. We said thanks and waited for a jeep/bus going to Bagac, Bataan.
P.S. I also took a photo of Maui when she was not looking backwards.
Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valor) Details
From Balanga, Bataan
At the Public Transport Terminal of Balanga ride the jeep going to Cabog-Cabog and go down at the intersection to Mount Samat at Diwa, Pilar, Bataan. Fare is 17 Pesos/person. Travel Time is 20 minutes. First trip is 6AM; Last trip 8PM; 40 minutes interval.
From Bagac, Bataan
Ride the jeep/bus going to Balanga and go down at the intersection to Mount Samat at Diwa. Their terminal is located at the side of the Philippine-Japanese Friendship Tower. Fare is 25 Pesos/person. Travel Time is 30 minutes. First trip is 7AM; Last trip 6PM; 30 minutes interval.
From Diwa Intersection
There are tricycles that can bring you to the top of Mount Samat. Fare is 100 Pesos/person one-way. Travel Time is approximately 30 minutes. You can try to haggle if you want.
You can walk going up if you want to. It would take you about 2 hours to walk the 7 km road to the top of Mount Samat at a relaxed pace. If you have an extra budget you may want to take the tricycle going up and walk going down.
You can ride the tricycle going down to Diwa Intersection. The fare would be 100 Pesos/person one-way. Travel time is 30 minutes.
You can also walk going down it would take around 1 hour 30 mins to Diwa Intersection.
From Diwa Intersection wait for a jeep/bus going to Balanga (P17 Pesos/person; 20 minutes) or Bagac (25 Pesos/person; 30 minutes).
The schedule of jeeps/buses from Balanga to Bagac is first trip 7AM; last trip 6PM; 30 minutes interval.
- Entrance fee at Mount Samat is 20 Pesos/person.
- Elevator fee to the top of Dambana ng Kagitingan is 10 Pesos/person. Operates at 8AM to 12NN and 1PM to 5PM daily.
- There are sari-sari stores in the intersection to Mount Samat at Diwa, Pilar, Bataan. You can buy supplies here before going up.
- There are also sari-sari stores at Mount Samat where you can buy snacks but it is a little bit more expensive.
- You can also ride a tricycle going to Dunsulan Falls from the intersection to Mount Samat at Diwa. The fare is 100 Pesos/person one-way.
Follow my Bataan 1,000 Peso 2-Day Challenge
- How much did I spend on our overnight trip to Bataan
- Bataan 1,000 Peso Overnight Budget and Itinerary (Helpful)
- Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valor) in Mount Samat, Pilar, Bataan
- Stella Mariz Beach Resort in Bagac, Bataan
- How to get to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan
- Death March Km 00 Marker and Japan-Philippine Friendship Tower in Bagac, Bataan
- Church of Balanga, Bataan
- Pawikan Conservation Area of Bagac, Bataan