Mount Samat National Shrine or Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valor) is a historical shrine in the Philippines, dedicated to the fallen Filipino and American soldiers who fought during World War II. It is located near the summit of Mount Samat in the town of Pilar, Bataan.
The memorial shrine complex consists of the Colonnade and a Memorial Cross. The Colonnade is surrounded by an esplanade and at its center is an altar. On the left side is the entrance to the museum. Behind the Colonnade, there is a footpath that leads to the Memorial Cross.
The Memorial Cross is located at the highest point of Mt. Samat, at 555 MASL. The cross has a height of 95 meters from the base. There is an elevator that services the central rod of the cross and a viewing gallery at the cross’s arms. There you have a panoramic view of Bataan. You can view there the two mountains of Bataan, Mt. Mariveles and Mt. Natib.
Trivia: The Memorial Cross is the second largest cross in the world and the largest cross in Asia.
If you are in Bataan to visit Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, Mount Samat National Shrine is a good side trip. It is about 45 minutes drive from Las Casas. You can drive all the way to the top, where the Memorial Cross is located. Mt. Samat is open daily from 8:00 in the morning to 5:00 in the afternoon. There is an entrance fee of Php 50.00 per person. Keep the two tickets because you have to give one of the tickets to the guard when you visit the museum and the other one prior to entering the elevator of the Memorial Cross.
How to Get There
- By private transportation: If you’re driving from Manila, you can take the North Luzon Expressway and take either the San Fernando toll exit or the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). Upon exiting San Fernando, proceed to Jose Abad Santos Ave, (formerly Olangapo-Gapan Road) all the way to Lubao, Pampanga and Dinalupihan, Bataan. Continue to Bataan Provincial Highway. When you reach an intersection in Pilar, turn right onto Gov. JJ Linao National Road. Turn left onto Mt. Samat Road.
- By public transportation: Ride a bus from Cubao to Balanga, Bataan. At Balanga, take a jeepney bound to Cabog-Cabog. Alight at the road leading to Mt. Samat. Hire a tricycle going to the shrine.
- There is a store/souvenir shop near the cross as well as a restroom.
- There is a road leading to the base of the Memorial Cross from the Colonnade (where the museum is located). As mentioned earlier, you can drive all the way to the top, if you want to avoid walking.