Photo Duel: Fil-Jap-Am Amity Memorial Shrine vs Fil-Jap Friendship Tower

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Name: Filipino-Japanese-American Amity Memorial Shrine

Location: Valencia, Negros Oriental

Filipino-Japanese-American Amity Memorial Shrine in Valencia, Negros OrientalThe Filipino-Japanese-American Amity Memorial Shrine marks the easternmost portion of the main defense site that runs west along the two ridges converging on the top of Mount Talinis, Negros Island‘s second highest mountain. It was here where the main elements of the 174th Independent Unit of the Japanese Imperial Army under the command of Colonel Satoshi Oie, properly positioned in a series of bunkers, dugouts, foxholes, and tunnels linked by connecting trenches had battled the combined forces of the 164th Division of the US Army and the guerilla elements of the 73rd Provisional Division of the 7th Military District of Negros Island.

Filipino-Japanese-American Amity Memorial Shrine in Valencia, Negros OrientalThe Battle of the Ridges commenced in earnest on April 27, 1945 and by the early part of June 1945. The combined Filipino-American forces captured these ridges from the Japanese defenders. The remnants of the Japanese Imperial forces withdrew from these ridges and finally surrendered by the roadside, north of the town of Zamboanguita, Negros Oriental on September 22, 1945, signaling the end of the hostilities in Negros Oriental.

Filipino-Japanese-American Amity Memorial Shrine in Valencia, Negros OrientalOn April 2, 1977, the Filipino-Japanese-American Amity Memorial Shrine was unveiled by the descendants of the soldiers who fought in the Battle of the Ridges. Perched on a hill facing the Bohol Sea, the shrine consists of a three-sided monolithic structure representing the three countries that fought during the Second World War, and a torii, a traditional Japanese gate.

Name: Filipino-Japanese Friendship Tower

Location: Bagac, Bataan

Filipino-Japanese Friendship Tower in Bagac, BataanAt the junction of Governor Joaquin J. Linao National Road and Aguinaldo Street is an imposing monument. Called the Filipino-Japanese Friendship Tower, it was built by Rissho-Ko-sei Kai, a Japanese Buddhist organization, as a symbol to the the renewed friendship between Japan and the Philippines, two nations that fought during World War II. The Filipino-Japanese Friendship Tower was “dedicated to those who suffered in World War II, it is both a peace offering and a symbol of man’s quest for peace. The cooperative efforts of the Japanese and Filipinos exemplify the blending of Buddhist compassion and Christian love, achieving thereby a sense of unity inspite of differences in culture, politics and religion. Go forth, tell the world that from his hallowed ground people have taken the first steps toward world peace.”

Filipino-Japanese Friendship Tower in Bagac, BataanInaugurated on April 8, 1975, 33 years after the Fall of Bataan, the Filipino-Japanese Friendship Tower consists of three pillars interconnected by ten rings. Approximately 200 meters south of the 27-meter tall Filipino-Japanese Friendship Tower is the Kilometer Zero of the Bataan Death March, Bagac.

Filipino-Japanese Friendship Tower in Bagac, BataanThe Filipino-Japanese Friendship Tower has a Buddhist bell with a hope that its sounds reminds the prayers of those who died in the Second World War, an inscription written in Filipino, English, and Nippongo. On April 9, 1975, a special ceremony was held to unveil the bell which Mayor Atilano Ricardo of Bagac and Reverend Nikkyo-Niwano each struck the bell for peace.

“The sound of the bell of the Friendship Tower shows the prayer for those who died in action. It expands our missionary minds hoping for friendship and peace. May the mysterious melody establish the eternal peace on earth.”

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