[key], peninsula and province, W Luzon, the Philippines, between Manila
Bay and the South China Sea. Balanga is the provincial capital. A
mountainous, thickly jungled region, it has some of the best bamboo forests
in the Philippines. There is a pulp and paper mill, a large fertilizer
plant, and an oil refinery. Subsistence farming is carried on. Early in
World War II (Dec., 1941–Jan., 1942), the U.S.-Filipino army withdrew
to Bataan, where it entrenched and, despite the lack of naval and air
support, fought a gallant holding action that upset the Japanese timetable
for conquest. The army was crippled by starvation and disease when it was
finally overwhelmed on Apr. 9, 1942. The U.S. and Filipino troops captured
there were subjected to the long, brutal, and infamous “Death
March,” a 66-mi (106-km) trek to the prison camp near Cabanatuan
during which some 11,000 perished. Homage is annually paid these victims on
Bataan Day, a national holiday, when large groups of Filipinos solemnly
rewalk parts of the death route. The battleground of Bataan is now a
national shrine. See also Corregidor.
See S. L. Falk, Bataan: The March of Death (1962); R.Conroy, The Battle of Bataan (1969); H. Sides, Ghost Soldiers (2001); M. and E. M. Norman, Tears in the Darkness (2009).
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