Day of Valor or Araw ng Kagitingan is a day of celebration in the Philippines. It’s one of my favorite day of observance because it honors the brave Filipino and American soldiers who were imprisoned on April 9, 1942.
It was a horrific day in human history. More than 75,000 soldiers suffered through what became known as the Bataan Death March. Many soldiers died from illness, injury or were just put to death. I have seen many documentaries about the Death March. One veteran recalls the day when allied soldiers would drop dead during the march. Some soldiers started eating mango leaves and grass just to get some nutrition.
It’s unfortunate that this brutal event is not as internationally recognized. I’m glad that the Philippine government has made April 9 an official day of observance.
To honor these brave souls, the Philippine Warrior Arts Society got together and celebrated their sacrifice-Pinoy style! Live music and lots of food. Grand Tuhon Leo Gaje was our keynote speaker. Master Oliver and Agalon Herald did a great job organizing this event. It was held at the Palabok House restaurant in Edmonton. The event was filled with great people, many of whom are Filipino martial artist.
I raffled off my Kriss sword and dagger. Did I cry a little? Maybe. Don’t worry it’s in a good home now.
One of the highlights of the night for me was when Grand Tuhon handed me my promotional plaque. I then became a Guro along with my friend,Guro Edgar Porquez. Grand Tuhon spoke about the history of the Philippines and how Filipinos survived against all odds when the country was invaded. He mentioned about how Kali was used by the Filipinos during the way. GT encouraged everyone to make healthy choices and Kali on.
This was great event. I would like to encourage you to learn more about the Bataan Death March. Youtube has some great documentaries about it. Watch the movie, “The Great Raid” directed by John Dahl, starring Benjamin Bratt and James Franco.
Till we meet again.