Dambana ng Kagitingan—Bataan Chronicles 2023 (Part 3)

We would not leave Bataan without dropping by one of its most popular landmarks, Dambana ng Kagitingan or the Mount Samat Memorial Cross.  It’s not an easy commute, but we made it.

Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valor).

The Dambana ng Kagitingan or Mount Samat Memorial Cross is a very prominent landmark that you would not miss when you’re around Balanga and as such, it’s been on my mind how we can get there on public transportation.  Fortunately, I found an old blog (dating back before the pandemic) detailing how, and on our way back to Balanga, we tried to follow suit.

You’re sure not to miss it when you’re around Balanga.

Getting There

Your starting point in commuting to Mount Samat is the intersection of Roman Superhighway and Gov. JJ Linao National Road.  If you are coming from Metro Manila, your bus should pass by this intersection and should just be around a kilometer after Vista Mall Bataan.  Here, you can find a tricycle terminal which can take you all the way up the entrance to Mount Samat National Shrine.  It is a travel of about 11 kilometers, about halfway going up the mountain 560 meters tall, so it can take a while.  The road going up is quite unforgiving for tricycles so try to pack light.  Your fare should already be for round-trip and includes your driver waiting for your return (unless you negotiated otherwise).

Going up!

Surprise Trek

Getting to the Mount Samat Cross is not a quick nor easy as it involves walking up steep, winding trails.  But before doing so, there are some fees to pay at the entrance and everyone is required to join an orientation.  Here, visitors are reminded that the Shrine is a memorial and respect should be observed.  The trails and amenities are also explained.  It is in this orientation that we learned that visitors are no longer allowed to enter the Cross due to the aging infrastructure—disappointing but understandable.  I think it’s great that they provide it to visitors to make the ascent and descent orderly and safe.  But to be honest, I didn’t expect that we’d have to do a trek before we get to Mount Samat Memorial Cross!

The trail up is paved but can get steep.

There are some stages to the trek allowing visitors to take breaks along the way.  But if you’re in a hurry to reach the top, you’re not required to stop, though the amazing views from these stops may make you stay awhile.

Aside from the views, there are some interesting items along the trail.

Dambana ng Kagitingan

The trails lead to the side of the Memorial Cross where you also have a panoramic view of both Manila Bay and West Philippine Sea.  It is quite an amazing feat that such a huge structure was built on top of this mountain.  As per Wikipedia, the Memorial Cross is the second tallest in the world with its 95 meters height.  Its base is decorated by sculptures depicting historical figures and events.

Looking up at the Memorial Cross
Zooming in. Too bad going up the Memorial Cross is no longer allowed.


At the base of the Cross lies the Colonnade where a museum is also located.  You just continue following the trail which will lead you to stairs going down, ending at the rear of the structure.  We did not enter the museum as we didn’t want to make our driver wait too long, but we savored the amazing views from this area.  On a very clear day, you can see the Mall of Asia area from here!

The Colonnade as seen going down from the Memorial Cross.
I really love this stained glass mural.

Returning to Balanga

The return trip to Balanga was much faster as it’s mostly downhill.  And instead of alighting at the terminal near the intersection, we asked our driver to take us to the nearby mall for our last meal in the province.  While I prefer supporting local businesses and avoiding malls whenever I go to the provinces, we had to make an exception here due to convenience (plenty of dining options and buses going back to Metro Manila pass in front of the mall) and it was getting late.

We found a nice place to have our last meal before leaving Bataan.


Our trip to Bataan exceeded my expectations in a lot of ways, and it allowed me to reconnect with the province again after more than a decade.  It also allowed me to visit one of the places I’ve long wanted to see, the Dambana ng Kagitingan.  The province is relatively close and easy to get to from Metro Manila so I’m looking forward to seeing more of the province in the future.  If you’re from Metro Manila, this is your sign to start exploring nearby provinces that we tend to overlook!

Bataan Chronicles 2023
Balanga City
Las Casas Filipinas, Bagac
Dambana ng Kagitingan

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