A visit to the Bantayog ng mga Bayani is truly a must-do for any Filipino. It allows us to appreciate those who have placed their lives in danger for the freedom that we experience today.
A simple structure, situated along the eastbound side Quezon Avenue, near its corner with the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue or what we commonly call EDSA, the Bantayog ng mga Bayani holds a number of exhibits and monuments which not only educate but also serve to inspire the ordinary Filipino to walk in the footsteps of our great heroes of the past. The museum has both an indoor and an outdoor area. The outdoor part of Bantayog ng mga Bayani has monuments in a park-like setting that honor those who have offered their lives for our country. The inside contains various exhibits which showcase the various fights for rights and freedom that were carried out by our heroes. A large part of the museum shows the story of our country’s fight for freedom during the 1986 People Power Revolution. There were hundreds of photos which depicted the significant moments of the Marcos dictatorship. Also included in the display – and one of the most striking part of the room – was the replica of a typical prison for political prisoners during the Martial Law era. The small room, deprived of facilities seemed inadequate for one person, but in fact such rooms were used to house more than ten such political prisoners. This was a truly shocking discovery for many visitors of the Bantayog ng mga Bayani as it showed the atrocious treatment of those who were captured by the Marcos dictatorship. More importantly, exhibits such as this shows us how hard our heroes fought and how much they sacrificed just to be able to fight for our country.
The visit to the museum is capped off with a short film on the Martial Law era and how we Filipinos stood up against tyranny. Bantayog’s small but modern theater is a great addition to the facilities of the place. It allows the visitors to see important moments in our countries history on the screen. Those who joined in the People Power Revolution of 1986 are able to relive this momentous occasion as if he or she was there again. And for those who were not there or had not yet been born, viewing a film about the Marcos dictatorship and subsequent bloodless revolution allows for a truly special experience – as if to be transported back in time to one of the most important parts of our nation’s history.
Places like the Bantayog ng mga Bayani stand to serve as a reminder to all of us that through the hard times, people stood up and fought for what was right. History is always something that we should use for the betterment so the society’s future. And as much as we look to the Bantayog ng mga Bayani as a reminder of the past, it is also an essential reminder that we, the Filipino people, are capable of overcoming the struggles that are to come.
Paolo Lorenzo Tejano