The Manila American Cemetery and Memorial10/24/2012
Situated in The Fort or most popularly known now as “Bonifacio Global City” in Taguig, Philippines is a 152 acres (62 ha) or 615,000 square meters cemetery. This cemetery is visible at a distance from the east, south and west of the city. The Manila American Cemetery and Memorial is the resting place of a total of 17,206 brave soldiers who fought during the World War II. It is by far the largest cemetery in the Pacific for U.S. personnel killed during the war. The cemetery is generally circular in pattern, set among masses of a wide variety of tropical trees and shrubbery.
In the middle of the cemetery stands a white masonry building enriched with sculpture and mosaic and serves as a chapel. There are about 25 mosaic maps that recall the achievements of the Americans armed forces in the Pacific, China, India and Burma. A Tablet of the Missing containing 36,285 names and was inscribed on a rectangular Trani limestone.
The American Battle Monuments Commission maintained this place. It is the largest site administered by the Commission in the number of graves and of those missing whose names are recorded on the walls of the memorial.
Entrance of the cemetery is at the far (north) side of the large grassed circle just beyond the military sentinel’s post which is at the junction of the McKinley and Nichols Fields Road.
The cemetery is open daily to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except December 25 and January 1. There are no fees collected when you visit the place. A staff member is on duty in the visitor building to answer questions and escort relatives to grave and memorial sites.
My personal experience
Upon reading a lot of this place on the internet I decided to visit the place and see for myself the beauty it can offer to visitors like me. Going to the cemetery is not difficult, if you have a car or riding a cab you can access it through EDSA to McKinley Road then to McKinley Parkway inside the Bonifacio Global City. If you will be coming from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport you can take the Nichols Field Road, this will take you directly to the Bonifacio Global City.
I created a plan on when to go at Manila American Cemetery, I decided to visit the place after lunch so that I will get enough time to prepare the things that I to bring. As a photographer I bring my DSLR with me to take some photos of the place. Everything is set and I’m ready to explore this beautiful place.
There are some guidelines that you need to follow when you want to visit this place. This is a resting place of those brave soldiers and it must be respected all the time. So if you plan to visit the place you must follow this guideline.
· Do not enter to an area which has sign of “Do not enter”.
· Don’t throw your garbage anywhere inside the place.
· Do not make unnecessary noise inside the cemetery.
· Do not destroy or vandalize anything inside the cemetery
· Taking photos for commercial use is prohibited.
The time I arrived at the place I go directly to the officer on duty and asked them I can enter and visit the place. They asked me, what is my purpose of visiting the place? Since I don’t have any relatives buried there, I told them that I just want to visit the place and will not stay long. Upon entry they check my bag for security reasons. They saw my DSLR and told me that kind of camera is not allowed inside. I told them that the only purpose of me bringing my DSLR is to get some photos of the place and for my personal consumption. They let me in after I gave them my valid reason.
The place is really beautiful and I can say that what I read on the internet about this place was true. Everything is organized and clean, you can see some maintenance staff doing their work and some are visiting their relatives. It was a whole new experience for me going in to that place. After my visit I told myself to go back to this place again.
There are roaming security staffs around the cemetery and that make me more confident that this place is safe for everyone. If you are planning to relax try visiting this place. For sure you will enjoy and have a memorable time. You may also try looking on the graves or on the list of missing soldiers maybe you’ll find your relatives there.
I managed to take some great photos of the place and I want to share it with you so that you will also get the chance to see the beauty of the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial.