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The Bataan World War II Museum or also known as the Balanga War Museum is located inside the Balanga Elementary School in Balanga, Bataan, Philippines. It was built to commemorate and honor the heroes of Bataan, particularly those who served and perished during the historic Battle of Bataan, which saw the defeat of Philippine and American soldiers against Japanese forces in 1942.
Despite its small size, the Bataan World War II museum packs a lot of historical significance as it houses a wide collection of memorabilia, artifacts, and diorama depicting the bloody time when Philippine soldiers showed bravery and patriotism for the country.
There are infographics that detail the war’s events and developments as well as 120 dolls that depict the infamous “Bataan Death March” after the surrender to Japanese troops. Right outside the museum stands the Surrender Site Monument, which marks the command post of Lt. Gen. Homma when Major General King surrendered his forces and features life-size statues of American and Japanese officers signing documents.
A Torture Chamber, used by the Japanese during the war, can also be seen outside the museum but is off-limits to the viewing public.
The museum was built and established through the combined efforts of the local government, non-governmental organizations, and private entities. But the volunteers, who are actual survivors of the World War II, run the show as they also serve as tour guides, the very people who can shed light and recount first-hand testimonies to the events that shaped the country’s history.