August 8, 2015
The last time my family traveled together was during our Cebu trip last June. Looking back, it’s been two months since, but finally we had an available weekend to spare and we got our butts into our cute family car and headed to Mt. Samat in Bataan!
Mt. Samat is an important historical place in our country and on the summit is the Shrine of Valor or Dambana ng Kagitingan, a monument dedicated to the fallen Filipino and American soldiers during World War II.
Leaving early, we took a long drive through NLEX and SCTEX. We reached the city of Balanga, Bataan before lunch time. From the city, we can already see the giant cross on top of the mountain. That was how big it was. We ate at Jollibee where there were a couple of cute employees and when full, we continued the final drive to Pilar, Bataan, the actual location of Mt. Samat.
Lots of signs point to the mountain, an indication of how popular the destination is. It would be hard to get lost, and if you do, the people are friendly enough to offer directions.
The ascent was through a winding road and even our car had some difficulty maneuvering it. Along the way, we saw some bikers climbing and it made me miss my bikes at home. I was already contemplating pedaling to Bataan from Manila. Maybe someday.
Finally reaching the shrine, we parked our car and swallowed the whole view. From high up, I can already see Mt. Mariveles, a mountain that’s already on my to-climb list. Seeing it so near made it look more majestic.
From the shrine, the cross already gigantic. We took a few more photos and started the climb up to the base of the cross.
Up close, the cross was amazing. On the base were carved murals depicting different scenes from World War II and in Philippine history.
There were lots of people waiting for the elevator ride up to the arms of the cross which also served as a viewdeck. When it was our turn to ride, the elevator ascended up to 30 stories in the air. We got off the elevator and marveled at the view. It’s too bad the windows weren’t that big, but the cool air was so inviting that I didn’t really care. The view of Manila bay on one side and the Mariveles mountain range on the other was just amazing.
My family and I took a few more pictures and just spent more time looking at the great scenery around us.
After that, we descended on the elevator and enjoyed some more of the cold mountain air before finally ending our Mt. Samat trip.
Itinerary and cost breakdown:
By private car:
- 06:15 ETD Pasig City
- 06:50 Mindanao Toll Gate
- P45 Toll Fee
- 07:45 Dau Toll Plaza
- P173 Toll Fee
- 08:32 Dinalupihan Exit
- P132 Toll Fee
- 08:58 ETA Jollibee Balanga
- 09:30 ETD Jollibee Balanga
- 10:00 ETA Mt. Samat
- P40 Car Parking
- P30 per head Entrance Fee
- 11:15 ETD Mt. Samat
- 12:00 ETA The Beanery
- 12:30 ETD The Beanery
- 13:53 NLEX San Fernando
- 14:50 NLEX Bocaue
- P157 Toll Fee
- 15:43 SM North EDSA
Total Cost: P577
Safe Budget: P700 + Gas + Food
- Genesis Bus / Bataan Transit to Balanga Terminal in Bataan
- Jeep bound for Cabog-Cabog
- Alight at Mt. Samat Intersection at Diwa, Pilar, Bataan
- Walk or take a Trike to the top of Mt. Samat
The shrine is open daily from 8am to 5pm
It was a really fun trip and to go with my family is a blessing in itself. My mom was really proud of having climbed a mountain. Maybe someday I can bring them to Mt. Batulao so they can experience the more down-and-dirty kind of mountain-climbing.
p.s. so how do you take a picture of the whole cross?
That is how you take a picture of the cross. Dedication to the craft.