Hello, Bataan World War II Museum.
It is quite easy to miss this small museum as it is located behind Balanga Elementary School compound which is being renovated. At first, we thought that the museum was closed given that we dropped by on a Sunday afternoon. Luckily, it was open.
We were asked to sign in the log sheet and pay PHP50 per person.
As we roam around to check the donated artifacts, the lady who was manning registration joined us inside and told us a bit more about the photos and items on display.
One of the things that struck me the most was the diorama of the Bataan Death March. The 120 dolls gave a clearer photo of the torture and pain the captured soldiers endured. (Sorry, no photo of this as we’re not allowed to take photos inside the museum.)
After our quick tour, we also watched a short video about the war.
We also managed to head up to the second floor which showcases several photos from World War II. Some of the photos could be described as grotesque as you’d see dismembered bodies of adults and infants alike. It sure was depressing to see it.
As we head back down, we were told that some of the nearby buildings were used to house the comfort women and some were even used as torture chambers. Our guide also mentioned that some visitors claimed that they saw some ghosts during their visit. Hearing that spooked me a bit. We didn’t really check those places anymore as these places are no longer open to the public.
On our way out, we checked out the spot where the Filipino and American troops finally surrendered to the 14th Imperial of Japan. The engraved sentences, “ No one surrendered but me. If there’s any blame, it’s mine. I ordered you to surrender. You did not do anything but take orders.” gave such a strong impact and made me feel the emotion people felt during this historical time.
Overall, it was PHP50 well spent!
Note: Bataan World War II Museum is open Mondays to Saturdays from 9 am to 4 pm, except holidays. Entrance fees are as follows: Students (PHP40), Senior Citizens (PHP40), others (PHP50).
Bataan World War II Museum is located at Jose Basa St., City of Balanga, Bataan.