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FHM Explainer: Araw Ng Kagitingan

Remembering the efforts of our badass World War II heroes
by Neps Firmalan | Apr 8, 2013
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Walang pasok bukas, mga pre!

In case you didn't know, tomorrow, April 9, is Araw Ng Kagitingan, a national holiday. Good news to our hardworking kababayans (ahem!) because in this sizzling heat, a rest day is always welcome. But before you dream of hugging your blankies to death and waking up late or go somewhere to chill and spend the day, here's a thought: Do you know what the heck Araw Ng Kagitingan is all about?

We channel our inner historian to come up with a new edition of FHM Explainer.  Our goal: to reeducate you about April 9's important place in Philippine history. That and to sate our hunger for trivia.

Araw ng Kagitingan celebrationSaludo kami senyo, mga ser!

It goes by different names...
April 9 is commonly known as Araw ng Kagitingan here in the Philippines. However, it's also called Bataan Day or Bataan and Corregidor Day (we'll get to that next). And if you're espokening dollar you might be calling it Day of Valor.

 But there's only one reason why we celebrate it...
...and that's to remember, commemorate, and celebrate the bravery, heroism, and sacrifices of Filipino and American soldiers when they fought the invading Japanese army during World War II. That's the main reason, which could then be broken down into several significant historical Araw ng Kagitingan tidbits, and those are next.

Araw ng Kagitingan super cannonThat's one big-ass cannon you've got there!

The Battle and Fall of Bataan
The Battle of Bataan is one of World War II's most important events this side of the globe. We'll give it to you straight: The Japanese were victorious on this one and this victory was perhaps their most important in terms of getting a hold of the Philippines during the war. But it wasn't a walk in the park for the Land of the Rising Sun's army as the fighting, which happened in the Bataan peninsula, lasted for over three months.

Fall of Bataan POWsThis ain't no flag ceremony...

Then the infamous Bataan Death March happened
But despite the valiant stand of Filipino and American troops, the fall of Bataan was imminent. It was a strategic W for the Japanese as they saw the Philippines as an important ingredient in taking and maintaining a grip on Southeast Asia. As a result, the United States army was forced to surrender a huge amount of soldiers to the Japanese on April 9, 1942. They became POWs and were forced to march from the east coast of Bataan to Camp O'Donnell in San Fernando, Pampanga. This was no field trip or leisurely escapade, folksit was the one of the most horrendous journeys ever undertaken.

Continue reading below ↓

 

NEXT: The Death March by the numbers and the silver lining behind the Fall of Bataan