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Day of Valor

Philippines National Holiday in Philippines

Mount Samat National Shrine, Bataan, Philippines
Mount Samat National Shrine, Bataan, Philippines

When is the Day of Valor?

Called 'Araw ng Kagitingan' in Filipino, this official regular nationwide holiday is celebrated annually on 9 April.

If the date clashes with an Easter holiday, then the day may be moved. This was the case in 2009.

The holiday may also be known as 'Bataan Day' or 'Bataan and Corregidor Day'. It commemorates the fall of the Bataan peninsula during World War II.

History of the Day of Valor

At dawn on 9 April 1942, Major General King, of the United States Army was forced to surrender his forces of over 76,000 Filipino, Chinese and American soldiers to the Japanese.

Unprepared for the number of prisoners, the Japanese decided to walk the prisoners 150km to a prison camp in San Fernando. Over 20,000 prisoners died on this march either though starvation, exhaustion or at the hands of the Japanese. The trek became infamous as the 'Bataan Death March'.

While the holiday marks an event which was a victory for the opposing forces, the heroic defense of Bataan by those soldiers was seen as a key event in the war, as it allowed the allies time to prepare for later battles which halted the Japanese progress in the pacific and eventually led to a turn in the fortunes and allied victory.

The Bataan peninsula was eventually retaken by American and Filipino forces on 8 February 1945.

How is the Day of Valor Celebrated?

To mark the day, veterans from World War II will parade in many cities across the Philippines. The key event takes place at the Mt. Samat shrine (pictured above) in Bataan, which honours the heroism and sacrifice of the Filipino and American troops during World War II. Here the president of the Philippines gives a speech to honour veterans.

In 1961, 9 April was declared Bataan Day. In 1987, it was renamed officially as 'Araw Ng Kagitingan' (Day of Valor) to pay tribute to those who defended Bataan, Corregidor and Bessang. From 2007, the holiday was designated to be observed on the Monday nearest 9 April, but since 2009 a yearly presidential decree has meant it is observed on 9 April.

As it is decreed as an official regular nationwide holiday, employers should abide by the Holiday pay rules.


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