CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, March 29 (PIA) – Around 350 military and civilian cyclists endured, Sunday (March 27), the 160-kilometer trail retracing the route that Filipino war veterans walked from Mariveles, Bataan to Capas, Tarlac in what is historically known as the Bataan Death March of 1942.
Dubbed as “Alay Sikad sa Kagitingan,” the bike-a-thon event, said event manager retired General Nicolas Ojeda Jr., is a simple way of saluting the heroic deed of war veterans during the Japanese regime in the Philippines.
Ojeda said it was heartening to see participants biking altogether in unison in commemorating the heroes of Bataan who were instrumental to the freedom Filipinos enjoy at present.
Teodoro Jamandre, 75, and the oldest among all participants, said it was really hard to ride a bike on a very long journey, but as for him, it was his own way of taking pride of and expressing indebtedness to what Filipino war veterans have contributed to the country – freedom.
Gessyka Maria Fronda, of the Philippine Navy, 23, like Jamandre, said, her participation is purposeful, stating that the mere thought of doing it in acknowledgment of the heroism of Filipino war veterans, is reason enough to wear away tiresome and fatigue in biking. “It’s reliving the death march spirit,” she exclaimed.
In a culminating program held at the Capas National Shrine in Capas, Tarlac, Elizabeth Siojo, director of the Creative Communications Department of ABS-CBN Global Limited, who served as the keynote speaker, expressed support and pride of the Bataan death march heroes.
“More than the physical accomplishment (in biking from Mariveles to Capas), it was the sense of fulfillment and pride that I would never forget. Nothing would make up for the hardships that our heroes of Bataan went through for our freedom,” Siojo conveyed.
Siojo further expressed hope that the younger generation of Filipinos would be more aware and appreciative of the deed of war veterans who had been part of Philippine history in a very hard and fateful manner.
The Alay Sikad sa Kagitingan 2011 was organized by the Department of National Defense and the Multi-Agency Task Force for the Observance of Araw ng Kagitingan and Philippine Veterans Week. (WLB - PIA3)