Philippine Veterans Bank (PVB) in partnership with the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, Bataan government, Tarlac government, Philippine Army, Philippine Navy and Philippine Air force started a grueling 3-day march.
The “Obelisk” at the Capas National Shrine
The march started midnight of March 1 (Friday) started the kick off ceremonies in commemoration of the 77th year of the Death March and concluded at Capas Memorial Shrine in Tarlac on March 3 (Sunday) past 8:30 pm.
Philippine Army and Navy marching along Bamban, Tarlac highway
Mr. Tomas Cloa, Jr. (PVB) Vice president said the original Death March lasted for four days after Bataan fell to the Japanese invaders on April 9, 1942.
8 Historical Facts and Numbers about the Freedom Trail March
Death March Memorial Shrine in Capas, Tarlac province
1.) Freedom Trail March, it retraces the 140 kilometers of actual route of the Death March from the ( zero) O- kilometer Death March marker in Mariveles, Bataan to Capas in Tarlac.
Bamban bridge, Tarlac
2.) Death March is considered as one of the darkest days in the country’s history. There were 60,000 to 80,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war from Bagac and Mariveles towns in Bataan to Camp O’Donnell in Capas, Tarlac.
3.) About 2,000 living World War II veterans are still alive.
4.) United States Navy Seal 21 members of the United States Navy Seal participated for the first time.
5.) Epic Charity Challenge from the United States headed by its director Dr. Lance Cummings of California together with 17 members aimed to raise $100,000 this year to be given to athletes needing prosthetic and metal shoes.
Cristo Rey High School students
6.) 77 Students from Cristo Rey High School which symbolizes the 77 years of Death March were at the lightning of torch. The school was known as O’Donnel’s Rettlement High School. The place is popularly called NAVY.
Maj. Gen. Delfin Negrillo Lorenzana, AFP (Ret.)
Secretary of Defense Delfin Negrillo Lorenzana led the torch lighting ceremony at the shrine.
boodle meal dishes which included steam white rice, fried pork liempo, roasted chicken, salted duck eggs, slice tomatoes, slice mangoes, pork chicharon, steamed egg plant, steamed okra, steamed kangkong with bagoong and vinegar .
7.) Boodle Fights– After a long day march, everyone enjoyed a hearty boodle fight meal.
Mr. Roberto de Ocampo
8.) Philippine Veterans Bank is owned by Philippine war veterans and prime mover in commemorating the event. Mr. Roberto De Ocampo ( former Finance secretary during President Fidel Ramos term 1992 to 1998 ) is the chairperson of the banking institution.
Philippine Living History members
Mr. Robert Hudson, vice-president of Filipino-American Memorial, said the Death March markers are well-maintained, now with the assistance of the Department of Public Works and Highways.
souvenir items for sale
souvenir items for sale, These included black and white color shirts ( Php 400 each), marble obelisk kilometer marker- Php 150 and refrigerator magnets.
A big salute to all the soldiers and to the organizers of this annual freedom run .