The Ride for Valor: Bikathon retraces the Death March trail
Team Out of Town Blog Hub (Outoftownblog.com) – The Ride for Valor, a commemorative ride on two wheels to mark the anniversary of the Bataan Death March during World War 2, recently returned on the road after being canceled for two years.
Held under the auspices of the Philippine Veterans Bank, the event’s third edition retraced the route of the infamous march, which began from Mariveles, Bataan. It ended in Capas, Tarlac, after over 70,000 Filipino and American troops surrendered to Japan on April 9, 1942.
Originally slated in April to mark the Death March’s 80th anniversary, the event was postponed due to the national elections and was reset in time for the National Heroes’ Day observance.
The non-competitive ride participated in by 135 cyclists, fired off at the Death March Km 0 Marker in Mariveles, where Filipino and American prisoners of war (POWs) were assembled and forced to walk under the sweltering summer heat.
The ride made pit stops at the Dambana ng Kagitingan in Mt. Samat, Pilar, The Bunker Museum at the Bataan Provincial Capitol in Balanga City, and the San Fernando Train Station Museum in Pampanga. The latter is where the marchers were boarded onto box cars en route to Camp O’Donnell in Capas, Tarlac, which became the concentration camp of the POWs.
During the pit stops, historical reenactors from the Wartime Heritage Guild (WHG) recreated key scenes of the Fall of Bataan and the Death March to give the audience a feel of the horrors of war.
The 130-km ride concluded at the Filinvest New Clark City near the Capas National Shrine, where tens of thousands were recorded to have died in the 3-year incarceration until the country’s liberation in 1945.
Proceeds of the sporting event will go to the restoration and replacement of the Death March kilometer stone markers in cooperation with the Filipino-American Memorial Endowment.
Ride for Valor, which used motorcycles in its earlier two editions, has shifted this year to bicycles to tap the country’s growing cycling community and help boost the emerging bike tourism sector.
The bikathon is sponsored by Booster C Energy Shots, Shimano, Lazer, Maxxis and Neo Zigma, Air 21, Detoxicare Philippines, One LGC, and Integrated Waste Management Inc., with RD Cycles, WHGbic Philippines and Outdoor Channel as partners, Without Limits as an event organizer.
The event’s official hotel is The Oriental Bataan, a business boutique hotel situated at the Freeport Area of Bataan whose corporate social advocacy includes preserving and promoting Filipino heritage. In April this year, the Filipino hotel brand held a commemorative event with the Municipal Government of Mariveles at the Km 0 Marker to mark the 80th year of the Death March.
Cooperating government agencies are the Province of Bataan, Municipality of Mariveles, Municipality of Capas, City of San Fernando, Department of National Defense, and the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office.
In the photo at the Ride’s starting line at the Km 0 Marker are The Oriental Hotels and Resorts associate director of sales Roselle Reyes, PVB’s first vice-president for marketing and communications Mike Villa-Real, JP Halos of the municipal government of Mariveles, and program emcee Towpy Tejano, with participating cyclists and WHG Philippines historical reenactors.