What you need to know about April 9: Philippines' Day of Valor

Apr 7, 2021 0 comments



Everyone knows December 25 and January 1 are holidays because they’re Christmas New Year, respectively. Everyone also knows that June 12 is the commemoration of Philippine independence, and November 1 and 2 are the usual days for the dead. But does everyone know and understand why April 9 is a holiday in our country?


A quick trip to your wall calendar or a few taps on your phone will tell you that April 9 is Araw ng Kagitingan or Day of Valor. The holiday, however, has a former name: Bataan Day. Here’s how it all started: 


It’s a World War II-related holiday


Araw ng Kagitingan commemorates the Fall of Bataan during World War II, which happened on April 9, 1942. The combined troops of the Filipinos and Americans had been fighting valiantly against the Japanese since January 7, but it was on April 9 that they formally surrendered. In a radio broadcast from the Malinta Tunnel in Corregidor, Third Lieutenant Normando Ildefonso Reyes read a message from Captain Salvador P. Lopez that started with the words “Bataan has fallen.” You can read the Captain’s whole message here


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The surrender of more than 75,000 troops remains to be the largest surrender of American and Filipino soldiers in both countries’ histories. What then followed is the infamous and brutal Bataan Death March. The Japanese forced the captured soldiers to march from Bataan all the way to San Fernando, Pampanga, where the soldiers were loaded onto poorly ventilated trains. When they reached Tarlac, the prisoners of war were then made to march all the way to Camp O’Donnell again.


While many captured soldiers managed to escape, thousands perished during the Death March due to hunger, disease, exhaustion, and wanton killings by the Japanese.


The April 9 holiday and its name changes


Republic Act No. 3022 was passed in 1961 proclaiming April 9 of every year as Bataan Day, a legal holiday, in honor of the heroic soldiers. Public officials and citizens are meant to commemorate the holiday by observing one minute of silence at exactly 4:30 pm. 


26 years later, the holiday was renamed Araw ng Kagitingan (Bataan and Corregidor Day) by then President Corazon Aquino. It was turned into a regular holiday instead of a legal holiday. It was only since the term of former President Benigno Aquino III that April 9 became simply known as Araw ng Kagitingan.


━━ Written By Bella Javier  


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