‘Ride for Valor’: Saving Bataan Death March heroes’ markers

A non-competitive, 160-km bike ride tracing the original route of the Bataan Death March will be held on August 28 in a bid to save 10 historical markers in Mariveles and 4 in Limay, Bataan.

Called “Ride for Valor”, it was set up to raise funds for the Filipino-American Memorial Endowment (FAME) to enable them to save the historical markers in remembrance of the sacrifice of some 10,000 brave soldiers who died along the Death March route.

The ride commemorates the camaraderie, bravery, and sacrifice of Filipinos and Americans who fought for our freedom, according to FAME, a non-government organization that maintains the kilometer markers of the Bataan Death March from Mariveles, Bataan to Capas, Tarlac.

FAME said that in the past, Bataan Death March markers had been destroyed, uprooted, and neglected due to drainage and other road projects. The 14 mentioned markers have to be relocated soon due to road widening and other repairs.

They serve as a reminder of the route taken by Filipino soldiers who defended the country against Japanese forces during World War II some 80 years ago, the group added.

The ride is part of the 30th anniversary of the Philippine Veterans Bank (PVB). I hope others will join to commemorate this historic event and take part in helping save our heroes’ markers,” said Mike Villa-Real, PVB vice president for communications.

PVB is a commercial bank owned by World War II veterans and their families. As part of its charter, PVB allocates 20% of its annual net income for the benefit of its shareholders.

The format for this year’s ride is Gran Fondo or “Big Ride,” where each participant will have a “passport” that they need to bring to three stops: Mt. Samat in Bataan, San Fernando Train/Water Station in Pampanga, and the Death March Memorial Shrine in Capas, Tarlac. 

Each stop will have optional destinations such as the Stotsenberg Park near the Clark Parade Grounds and the Bamban Museum of History in Tarlac, where participants will receive their ride kits. A 12-hour cut-off will be implemented during the event, and participants may finish the entire route or join along the stops and ride their preferred route. 

A mechanic will be on standby to help those who will experience mechanical issues, and roving marshals to monitor the progress of the participants. Support vehicles are allowed, but participants should not ride the vehicle unless they decide to withdraw from the bike ride.

Interested participants may register at bit.ly/RideforValor2022. Only bikes with brakes are allowed in the event, and participants must be fully vaccinated.

Around 80,000 Filipino and American soldiers and prisoners of war were forced by the Japanese military to march 69 miles from Bataan to Tarlac during World War II. Only some 54,000 persons reached the camp, and around 20,000 died due to starvation, dehydration, diseases, and the brutality of Japanese captors. 

For more information, visit www.veteransbank.com.ph and bit.ly/FB_RideforValor2022

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