Perched high atop the hilly ranges of Valencia is the historical monument called the Filipino – American – Japanese Amity Shrine(Fil-Am Japanese Shrine). It stands on a sacred battle ground where an encounter during the World War II actually took place. It was built to remember the many lives taken by the vicious war. It was also to provide closure to a sad era and to mark the beginning of peace and friendship between the three countries.
The commemorative shrine is actually a tall pillar with a solid concrete base. The pillar has three angles, making it appear 3 sided similar to a triangle. These three sides represent the three countries: Philippines, United States of America and Japan. In 1977 it was erected and unveiled by the war veterans, the surviving families of the water veterans, and the descendants of those who marched and died in the same war. Other people who were in a way a part of the war joined the unveiling ceremonies. The shrine was declared a historical monument shortly after it was constructed.
The ride up to the shrine is steep and would require a 4×4 vehicle. In the rainy season, it is a tricky course and is difficult to maneuver. It is best to visit the Fil-Am Japanese Shrine in the summer or anytime in the year when the weather is dry. From Dumaguete City to Valencia, it takes around 20 minutes travel and another 30 to 40 minutes going up to the site of the shrine. It is best to join a guided tour offered by a travel agency or hotel because the road is generally winding and could be a hazard for those not familiar to it. Despite such difficulty though, curious visitors still make it up to the shrine just to see what its like and to have a fair share of the commanding vision beyond it.
Before reaching but very near the Fil-Am Japanese Amity Shrine one passes through a clearing by the roadside with wooden cabins and garden trails. This is Camp Lookout, a popular hangout during the early 1980’s. It was the then destination for summer camps, outings and vacations. The clearing provided a spectacular aerial view of the Dumaguete City and its neighboring towns, the sea, the sky and the islands across. Such is also the scene from the vantage point of the amity shrine. Today Camp Lookout’s wooden cabins are boarded up and the garden trails are grossly unkempt. However it still provides the same view it did back then.
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