The Capas National Shrine
Death March Monument
At kilometer 106 in Capas, the Japanese forces then unloaded their Filipino and American prisoners from boxcars to continue the Death March. The dead ones, they dumped right on the spot. Built in the 1960s, an inverted V-shape marks this place in memory of the perished. On the structure’s foot and in both its sides, a sculpture that depicts the inhumanity experienced during the Japanese regime may be seen. A children’s playground has been built within the monument’s compound, ironically, to represent the now-experienced freedom of the country. It has been said that the inverted-V is visible through Google Maps.
The Capas National Shrine Obelisk
In the 1980s, bones of the dead from the monument were transferred to Barangay O’Donnel in Capas, where the Capas National Shrine was built. This shrine has an obelisk inside it that marks the final resting place of all the Filipino and American Prisoners killed at the end of the famous Bataan Death March of the Second World War. Surrounding the obelisk is a ‘Wall of Heroes’, a three-segment black marble wall, where names of each of the perished soldiers are engraved. Approximately 90 hectares, the shrine also has thousands of trees that represent the dead.
Death March Boxcar
A boxcar, where the prisoners were then loaded from Pampanga to Capas, may be found within the shrine’s compound. Each boxcar carried 50 to 60 prisoners, which made it impossible for them to sit and breathe. Under the sun, the boxcar became an oven and claimed most lives. The boxcar found in the compound is the only one that survived time and now stands as a mute witness.
Defenders’ Halland the Battling Bastards of Bataan
Also inside the compound is a small museum, called Defenders’ Hall, which was built by a group of Americans. Inside this hall are framed pictures of the actual death march, depictions of the American and Filipino lives during the Japanese regime, and some officials and heroes.
Near this hall is an area where tombstones for the perished Americans soldiers, whom they called “Battling Bastards of Bataan,” sit quietly. Other tombstones represent other foreign prisoners and officials who have fought for the liberty of the country.