Manila American Cemetery and Memorial
McKinley Road, Makati City, Philippines
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial Makati City Reviews
a place for some piece of quiet and a slice of war history... Jun 15, 2012
Located close to the suburb of Fort Bonifacio Global Center and can be easily reached by taxicab. The American Cemetery is a huge U.S. military cemetery with the graves of 17,206 American soldiers (and Filipino heroes) who made sacrifice for their country and died young in the Philippines and South Pacific during World War II. The thousands of neat white crosses and stars of David stand in rank and file in witness to battles of the war years.
The cemetery contains a Memorial -- with maps, photographs and montages depicting the various battles of the South Pacific.
The memorial park covers 152 acres and is America's largest overseas military cemetery. Along with the war dead, the numbers climb to 36,285 military personnel when including those listed as missing in action and hence presumed dead. The graves of 570 Filipino scouts who offered their supreme sacrifice are here, too.
What really touched me greatly was seeing row after row after row of so many graves filled with the bodies or parts of so many young people. Though they didn't die in vain and all of them are undoubtedly heroes, it was just so sad to consider that the mean age of these brave was about 20.
Upon entering this field of crosses and a few stars, you will see buildings that have the names of all the dead and missing soldiers, sailors, and marines engraved on the walls. The fallen heroes, who won their country's highest honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor, have brightly painted stars before their names. There are 28 Medal of Honor winners buried here. Throughout the day, chimes ring out from the bell tower honoring these fallen heroes and signifying their victory over tyranny.
The war cemetery, like cemeteries everywhere, is a grim place. However, the cemetery's designers did their best to render this place more pleasant with its beautiful buildings, neatly arranged gravestones, manicured lawns, chapel, map rooms, and country club-like surroundings. Still, it is a necropolis, a “subdivision” of the dead, a reminder of our own fragile mortality.
One of the best things about this cemetery, which is just a stone's throw from upscale Makati, is that the Metro Manila street noise is absent. The American memorial park is an oasis of peace. Visitors will get a much needed noise break plus a generous slice of American history while wandering the grounds.
The 152-acre cemetery is situated on top of a plateau. The American cemetery has interred the remains of people killed in New Guinea, the first Battle of the Philippines as well as the second battle after Douglas MacArthur made his triumphal reentry in 1944, China, Burma (Myanmar), India, and in other Pacific Theater battles. About one-third of all of those missing in action during World War II are identified here.
The official seals of the United States and its individual states and territories are hand-carved on the floors. The bas relief that cover the front of the Central Chapel has St. George killing a dragon at the bottom. In the middle, blind Justice, with her scales, is joined by other potent symbols of freedom. At the very top of this carving stands "Mother Mary" with the Holy Infant in her strong arms. The Allied dead from other countries along with some non-service personnel are interred there, too.
In one of the memorial buildings there's the Central Chapel replete with a pre-Vatican II-style altar and two kneelers for private prayers in front. The actual headstones are made of marble and are aligned in 11 plots in a circular pattern. Groves of tropical trees and other shrubbery decorate the grounds, making it a truly beautiful place. The cemetery is a popular field trip destination for Philippine school children who want to learn more about those who died in defense of their freedom.
A circular memorial contains all the names of service personnel listed as missing in action engraved on marble columns. There are also huge wall mosaics depicting the many Pacific battles of that war. The buildings hold a commanding view of the surrounding landscape. The memorial is maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission. All buildings and grave markers are made exclusively from Trani limestone.
Visiting hours are daily from 6 a.m. until 5 p.m. except Christmas and New Year's Days. During open hours, staff members are on hand at the Visitors Building to answer questions and escort relatives to the graves of their loved ones. The cemetery is located near McKinley Road, Ft. Bonifacio in Manila. In Manila, the phone number is 521-1687.
If you have any questions or are planning a trip to the Philippines and need additional information about the American Cemetery or any other Philippine or Asian site, please send me a message and I'll do my best to assist you.
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