Kiangan National Shrine - Atlas Obscura

Kiangan National Shrine

Kiangan, Philippines

This memorial commemorates where a Japanese commander surrendered to Allied forces on September 3, 1945. 


Located in Pindongan, Ifugao, a six-and-a-half-hour drive north of Manila, the Kiangan National Shrine marks the end of World War II in the Philippines. The shrine is also called the Bantayog ng Kiangan in Tagalog or the Yamashita Shrine.

The memorial specifically commemorates top Japanese army commander Tomoyuki Yamashita’s (known as the “Tiger of Malaya”) surrender to Allied Filipino-American forces on September 3, 1945, at a local school. Yamashita’s surrender came just one day after the formal surrender of Japan aboard the USS Missouri, an Iowa-class battleship, in Tokyo Bay, marking the official end of World War II in Asia. Yamashita’s submission also ended Japanese occupation in the Philippines. 

The shrine was erected on July 9, 1975, and is made of concrete and steel. It was modeled after an Indigenous Ifugao house featuring a ceremonial stage and a viewing deck. A highlight of the memorial is the wooden wall sculpture made from narra, the country’s national tree, secured with plaster within the shrine’s main chamber.

The wooden sculpture dominates the larger wall, depicting three scenes from top to bottom. At the top of the carving, a sun rises behind a woman standing with her arms outstretched and broken handcuffs dangling from her wrists symbolizing the dawning of peace. The middle of the carving shows American General Douglas MacArthur and Allied forces watching as General Yamashita signs Japan’s official surrender. The bottom of the sculpture depicts the atrocities the Japanese Imperial Army committed against the Filipino people throughout the war.

Today, the shrine serves as a war memorial and a testament to the historic event that ended almost 4 years of Japanese occupation in the Philippines and the end of World War II.

Know Before You Go

Be respectful of the community, their culture, and the environment when visiting the place. Avoid any form of vandalism, loud noises, and loitering when visiting.

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March 5, 2024

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