Chronicling the heroic deeds of Filipino soldiers who risked and gave their lives during the Second World War, the BTV World War II Museum — also called the Philippine Veterans Museum — is a must-see attraction in Taguig City. With murals, dioramas, artifacts, photographs, and veterans’ personal accounts of the war, the museum gives visitors an intimate look at the events of WWII from a Filipino perspective.

Did you know?

When the Japanese invaded the Philippines, they captured 27,412 rifles, 68 Browning Automatic Rifles, 218 machine guns, and 1,161 hand guns. When the American forces returned in 1944, many of these guns were recaptured, but they were treated as Japanese weapons and destroyed.

The Battle of the Philippines: What Happened During WWII?

When the Philippines was under American control, the United States had several important military bases in the archipelago due to its strategic location. So when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, they didn’t waste time in attacking the Philippines. In fact, it was only nine afters after Pearl Harbor that the Japanese began their invasion of the Philippines. The battles that followed would devastate the United States, and especially the Philippines.

The Fall of the Philippines

On December 8, 1941, just nine hours after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan began its invasion of the Philippines. Though the defending forces in the Philippines outnumbered the Japanese by three to two, these troops consisted of non-combat experienced, constabulary, national guard, and new units. Meanwhile, the Japanese used their best troops in the beginning of the campaign, which led them to take control of Luzon in just a month.

After the first month, the Japanese withdrew their best troops and most of their airpower to advance their operations in Borneo and Indonesia. On March 11, 1942, General Douglas MacArthur was ordered to leave the country for Australia. He left 76,000 American and Filipino defenders on Bataan, who surrendered on April 9, 1942 and were forced to endure the infamous Bataan Death March, where an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 died or were killed.

The 13,000 men on Corregidor surrendered on May 8. This is considered by many military historians as the worst defeat in United States history. Around 23,000 American military personnel and 100,000 Filipino soldiers were killed or captured.

The Liberation of the Philippines

For over three years, Japan occupied the Philippines. But brave Filipino guerrillas were able to defend 60 percent of the islands. The Americans reinforced the guerrilla campaign by sending them supplies and reinforcements.

On October 20, 1944, the American forces returned to the Philippines, with the US Sixth Army landing in Leyte. This resulted in a number of battles called the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which lasted from October 23 to October 26 and ended in a victory by the US Navy. The battle destroyed what remained of the Imperial Japanese Navy. This victory was followed by many others, and after fierce fighting, the Japanese surrendered on August 15, 1945.

By the end of the war, the Philippines had experienced tremendous destruction and loss of life. Around 1 million Filipinos were killed, and during the Liberation of Manila, the capital was devastated.

Visiting the BTV World War II Museum

The BTV World War II Museum chronicles the heroic deeds of Filipino soldiers who risked and gave their lives during the Second World War. The museum is open on Mondays to Fridays, from 7 am to 4 pm, except during lunch time. The entrance fee is P75 for adults and P50 for students. For more details, contact +632-838-9148.

How to Get There

Head northwest on CAVITEx and take the exit toward NAIA Expressway. Continue onto NAIA Expressway for 3.5 kilometers, then turn left to merge onto Andrews Avenue. Continue onto Sales Road, then at the roundabout, take the second exit onto Lawton Avenue. Turn right onto the ramp to East Service Road. Continue on East Service Road for 1.5 kilometers, then turn left to merge onto Carlos P. Garcia Avenue/C-5. After 1.9 kilometers, take the exit toward FTI/Bicutan. Turn right onto Cuasay, then turn right toward Veterans Road. Continue along Veterans Road until you see the BTV World War II Museum to your left.

Sources:

“Philippines – World War II.” Country Studies, http://countrystudies.us/philippines/21.htm.

Tharoor, Ishaan. “Manila Was Known as the ‘Pearl of the Orient.’ Then World War II Happened.” The Washington Post, 19 Feb. 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/02/19/manila-was-known-as-the-pearl-of-the-orient-then-world-war-ii-happened/.

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