“A call for new heroes; an advocacy for peace and international understanding”
The museum is a fledgling project initiated by ordinary citizens, through HAS Club of Balanga Foundation, who simply want to perpetuate the significance and relevance of our parents’ sacrifices during the war. It took a while, but the concerned citizens are able to set-up a monument and building, with the help of the national and city government, corporations and individuals.
Situated behind the main building of Balanga Elementary School is a monument depicting the surrender of USFIP (United States Forces in the Philippines) to the Japanese Imperial Army on the very spot where it happened on April 9, 1942. Across the monument is the museum building featuring dioramas (with more than 120 dolls) showing the Death March in 1942 and the final surrender of Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita to the American forces in 1945. A video summary of the battle for Bataan and the Second World War in the Philippines shows actual footages of the period from peacetime until liberation. One can watch and hear the voices of President Manuel Quezon and General Douglas MacArthur. Picture panels and vintage photos tell the real story of heroism and the role of Bataan during the war. Artifacts include helmets, Japanese mess kit, dog tags, ammunition shell casings and various implements. A minimal entrance fee of P20 is charged for students. Regular fee is P50. It’s open 9 a.m-4pm., from Tuesday up to Saturday, except during holidays.
Bataan World War II Museum is a work in progress, meaning- the exhibits will be enhanced as donations for artifacts and WWII memorabilia are received. This project thrives on volunteerism in our community. Volunteers are welcome, for example, to serve as museum guides for groups. The Balanga Historical Committee is in the process of developing a museum write-up. Volunteers from the Bataan Retired Teachers and Employees Association (BARTEA) help promote organized visits by various schools in Bataan. For scheduling, Dr. Dolores Taňada or Ms. Zeny Lapat can be contacted through mobile number 0946-2631510 or 0927-5013714. The officers of HAS Club of Balanga Foundation are always on call to assist: Engr. Celso Valdecaňas (Foundation President), Cora Malibiran (Treasurer), Cecily Banzon (Secretary) and Teresita Pizarro (Asst. Secretary).
The museum needs material assistance to enhance the exhibits and improve the premises of host Balanga Elementary School where the museum sits. It will be good if corporations and business groups in Bataan can include this project in their programs for community relations or corporate social responsibility.
Bataan WWII Museum is a community project by everybody who cares and not by just one organization or group of individuals. It blends both government and private sector efforts. The assistance and cooperation of the City of Balanga through Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia III and City Administrator Rudy de Mesa are invaluable. The guidance of the Bataan Tourism Council through Arch. Christina Banzon and Amy Canare will surely help in promoting the message of the museum.
A museum is a repository of heritage and culture. Heritage is a set of legacies passed on from generation to generation while culture is the expression of the people’s values and taste. Our museum therefore seeks to capture our identity as a people. The sacrifice of our soldiers and the role of the townspeople in giving relief to the captive heroes will add more meaning to big words like patriotism, freedom, courage and resilience in celebrating Araw ng Kagitingan every year.
For more information, the museum’s executive director Mario B. Magat can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.