Monday, May 19, 2014

Capas: Memoirs of the Death March

10 Day 10K Challenge: Capas, TARLAC
Date: MAY 19, 2014

Today, Capas serves as one of Tarlac’s fastest growing municipalities. However, during the Second World War, this town became the final resting place of thousands of Filipino and American soldiers who died in the hands of the Japanese Empire. Because of how historic this town is, I decided to include it on my list and the landmark that I will be visiting today serves as a remembrance to those who fell victim to the infamous Death March.

Typical view when driving through SCTEX

I was staring blankly out the window as the bus I was on traversed SCTEX. The scenery outside looked fascinating – vast farmlands surrounded by verdant mountains under the cerulean skies with clouds moving slowly from one side to another. More than an hour driving through SCTEX, we reached the Public Transport Terminal in Dau, Mabalacat, Pampanga.

Welcome to Capas National Shrine!
An airconditioned Five Star Bus bound for Alaminos was parked from where I got off, and I asked the bus conductor if they will be passing by Capas. He said that they would, so I went inside and waited for the bus to leave. It was already 11:10 in the morning when we left, and we reached Capas at around 11:49 in the morning. This was the first time I set foot in this town, so I asked help from the locals if they knew the direction going to Capas National Shrine.

Kapampangan is the primary language here in Tarlac, and I couldn’t understand a single word some of them were saying. Fortunately, there were some Tagalog speakers that I managed to talk to, and they instructed me on how to get to the shrine. I decided to eat lunch at a local gotohan before proceeding to the shrine, and right after that, I hailed a tricycle to a stop and asked the driver to drop me off at the shrine’s gate. He told me that the shrine was too far from the town center, and it cost me P75 to get there.

Historical marker about the shrine
The trip was 15 minutes long, and I had to pay for a P10 entrance fee. Capas National Shrine has a huge esplanade, and its pathway was made of black and white marble, designed to look like a giant chessboard. At the end of the pathway stood a towering black obelisk built as a memorial to commemorate the soldiers who died during the Death March. This place was similar to Washington D.C.’s National Mall, with the Philippine national flag being waved freely in every corner of the shrine.

At the obelisk’s base, a historical marker can be found, and it explained why this monument was built. There was also a wall made of black marble surrounding the obelisk where names of soldiers who perished were written. I walked around the wall dedicated to our fallen soldiers, trying to search for a possible relative. I stayed at the shrine for almost an hour and left at 1:49 in the afternoon. I had to get to Tarlac City before the sun sets.

There were tricycles parked outside the shrine. I rode one and told the driver to take me back to the town center, near the public market. As the shrine vanished from the horizon, I couldn’t help but think how brave our soldiers were, sacrificing their own lives to liberate our nation from the invaders. They were the main reason why we are independent today – and they truly deserve to be called our heroes. 

Now off to my next destination: Tarlac City!

Behind me was the towering black obelisk dedicated to those who died during the infamous Death March
This post is part of my 10 Day 10K Challenge that took place between May 17-26, 2014. Read the first entry here. Read the post about the previous destination here. Proceed to the next destination here.

No comments:

Post a Comment