PILAR, Bataan – Growing up in a province known for its historic significance during the WWII, I was able to observe how contented Bataeños are in their way of life and over the, I can see that Bataan is slowly but surely keeping up with the changing needs of its people brought about by globalization. The provincial government, as I see it, though technology and industry driven still manages to maintain its focus on the potential of the province in attracting more tourists and investors through its ecological tourism.
From a simple province with its roads outlined by death march markers, Bataan has emerged as an eco-industrialized province. With its eyes glued to continuous improvement vis-a-vis preservation and conservation of nature, culture and history; adventure tourism is now taking its lead in attracting local and foreign tourists.
One of the destinations frequently visited in Bataan is a towering 92m memorial cross, 555 meters above sea level, the Shrine of Valor in Mt. Samat. Missing this iconic site would make any Bataan tour incomplete. The historic Mt. Samat is the silent witness to the Filipino and American soldiers’ strength and perseverance to defend the peninsula against the advancing Japanese Imperial Forces. At present the mighty mountain serves as a reminder of heroism and valor.
Despite having visited the Shrine countless times, still it never fails to amaze me as it reminds me of the past. However, in my recent ascent to Mt. Samat, a whole new experience came to life – riding an all terrain vehicle (ATV). It was a real test of courage for I have never tried riding an ATV let alone, drive it. After a quick rundown on the “do’s” and “don’ts,” last minute instructions and test drives around the parking space, it was GO.
In just a matter of minutes, excitement started to brew as I got the hang of it, riding the ATV and off to the woods. The awesome track was within the terrains of Samat that made the ride nothing but superb!
Greeted by about 90 degrees upward terrain, I was engulfed by a mixture of excitement and fear, shaken-thinking that I might slide back to the ground, but the ATV’s four-wheeled gear has proven its function. Nearing the end of the slope, a rich canopy of trees came to view coupled with a refreshing breeze as we ascend the mountain. It was indeed a very thrilling ride!
More so, the terrain proved to be an accommodating track for first time riders and an exciting ride for recreational riders as well. By and large, the Mount Samat ATV ride is an experience like no other. An exhilarating activity, yes! Yet I am raring to do it over and over again. Having said that, allow me to borrow the famous line of General Douglas MacArthur: “I shall return”!