Underscoring the warming of relations between the Philippines and the United States under the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Balikatan 2023 started on April 11 with 17,600 Filipino and American soldiers participating, the largest gathering of forces in the history of the Balikatan Military Exercises.
Balikatan is a Tagalog term that means “shoulder-to-shoulder” or “sharing the load together,” characterizing the spirit of the exercise and the alliance between the Philippines and the United States.
This year’s Balikatan exercises is the 38th and will last up to April 28. Training sites include the Northern Command’s area of operations such as Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija and in the Naval Education, Training and Doctrine Command in the provinces of Zambales and Cagayan. – Photos by Bullit Marquez for VERA Files.