160-KM trail kicks off annual tribute for Bataan Death March heroes and survivors

TOURISM
April 4, 2019

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Former US Navy SEALs together with hundreds of our country’s armed forces, police and civilian volunteers, paid tribute to our World War II heroes in a 160 kilometers ‘Freedom Trail’ from KM Zero in Mariveles, Bataan to Capas, Tarlac.
    
Freedom Trail is an annual event organized by the Philippine Veterans Bank (PVB), in partnership with the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), and the Provincial Government of Bataan. The event honors the sacrifice and bravery of Filipino and American World War II heroes and survivors. Participants trail the 160 kilometer route that spans three provinces for 42 hours.
    
Veterans Bank’s Freedom Trail traces the actual route of the Bataan Death March from KM Zero Mariveles in Bataan, to San Fernando Pampanga, up to Capas in Tarlac. The Freedom Trail kicks off the 77th year commemoration of the Bataan Death March.
    
“Freedom Trail is our way of remembering our World War II veterans’ bravery and heroism during the war. They have sacrificed life and limb for our country’s freedom. Let the Freedom Trail be a constant reminder for our next generations,” said Mike Villa-Real, Head of Veterans Bank’s Marketing Communications Division.
    
The Death March, considered as one of the darkest days in Philippine History, is the forcible transfer of 60,000-80,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war (POW) from Saysain Point, Bagac, Bataan and Mariveles to Camp O’Donnell, Capas, Tarlac. The prisoners were loaded onto box cars in San Fernando, Pampanga. The transfer began on April 9, 1942 and left thousands dead and seriously wounded after enduring torture under the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army.
    
The Death March route stretches from Mariveles in Bataan to Capas, Tarlac via San Fernando, Pampanga. The total distance covered was from 96 to 112 kms.
    
This year’s commemoration activities also includes “Ride for Valor,” a competitive bike tour to be held on March 10 from Kilometer Zero in Bataan to Capas, Tarlac; and the Bataan Freedom Run that will be held on April 14, 2019. Bike and running enthusiasts are invited to register for the events.
    
Proceeds from the activities will be used for the restoration and maintenance of historical markers along the route of the Bataan Death March.
    
To register and find out more, visit the Facebook pages of the Bataan Freedom Run and the Veterans Bank Freedom Trail.

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