Retracing the Death March route on a bike

In photo (top row) at the ride’s starting line at the Km. 0 Marker are The Oriental Hotels and Resorts associate director of sales Roselle Reyes, PVB first vice president for marketing and communications Mike Villa-Real, JP Halos of the municipal government of Mariveles, and program emcee Towpy Tejano, with participating cyclists and WHG Philippines historical reenactors.

After being cancelled for two years, the Philippine Veterans Bank (PVB) recently ran the 3rd Ride for Valor, a commemorative event for the 80th anniversary of the Bataan Death March during World War II. Participated in by some 135 cyclists, the ride retraced the route of the infamous march which began from Mariveles, Bataan and ended in Capas, Tarlac after over 70,000 Filipino and American troops surrendered to Japan on April 9, 1942.

Firing off at the Km. 0 Marker in Mariveles, the non-competitive ride made pit stops at the Dambana ng Kagitingan in Mt. Samat, Pilar, The Bunker Museum at the Bataan Provincial Capitol in Balanga City, and San Fernando train station in Pampanga where the marchers were boarded onto box cars en route to Capas, Tarlac. 

During the pit stops, historical reenactors from the Wartime Heritage Guild (WHG) recreated key scenes on the Fall of Bataan and the Death March to give the audience a feel of the horrors of war.

Death March Km. 6 in Bataan

The 130-km ride concluded at the Filinvest New Clark City near the Capas National Shrine, where once stood the Camp O’Donell, which became the concentration camp of the Filipino and American prisoners of war. Tens of thousands were recorded to have died in the three-year incarceration until the liberation of the country in 1945.   

Proceeds of the sporting event will go to the restoration and replacement of the Death March kilometer stone markers in cooperation with the Filipino-American Memorial Endowment. 

Ride for Valor is sponsored by Booster C Energy Shots, Shimano, Lazer, Maxxis and Neo Zigma, Air 21, Detoxicare Philippines, One LGC, and Integrated Waste Management Inc., with RD Cycles, WHG Philippines and Outdoor Channel as partners, Without Limits as event organizer.

The event’s official hotel is The Oriental Bataan, a business boutique hotel situated at the Freeport Area of Bataan whose corporate social advocacy includes the preservation and promotion of Filipino heritage. In April this year, the Filipino hotel brand held a commemorative event at the Km. 0 Marker to mark the start of the Death March in Mariveles.

The Oriental Bataan Hotel

Cooperating government agencies are the Province of Bataan, Municipality of Mariveles, Municipality of Capas, City of San Fernando, Department of National Defense, and the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office.

Originally slated in April this year, the event was postponed due to the national elections and was reset in time for the National Heroes’ Day observance.