Rediscovering history at Corregidor
Corregidor has been in my travel bucket list for the longest time, primarily because of its significance in the Philippine history. I went there last Sunday (March 13, 2016) with my blogger friends (day off ni #LeBoyf lol!) for a day tour and it did not disappoint! This is my kind of travel that I will enjoy the most for a history geek like me.
One will surely enjoy the well-preserved historical structures, the untouched nature, the serenity of the surroundings and its calming sea. Well-recommended for those who travels alone or with a group.
So here are the highlights of my sudden trip to Corregidor!
I woke up early sunday morning and went to Sun Cruises (located at the back of the MOA, just beside Vikings), got our tickets and paid for our environmental fee (25 pesos).
The ferry was on the first-come-first-serve service, whoever pays early will surely get the best seats in the ferry, which is on the top part. The ferry itself was air-conditioned, seats are comfy, the crew was stationed in every corner, with police officer included in order to avoid any mishaps during our ferry ride. in case we get hungry, there’s a canteen stationed inside the ferry. There’s also an opening at the upper deck of the ferry where you can have the view of the Manila Bay and its surrounding islands.
The ferry ride to Corregidor was estimated around 1.5 hrs from Manila. As we arrived, tranvias are displayed and is used on our tour.
We first went to the Lorcha Dock, where Gen. Douglas McArthur exited from Malinta Tunnel to Australia as ordered by US President Roosevelt.
The statue of Gen. Douglas McArthur stands in his honor, with his famous line, “I shall return!”. He actually said that when he was already in Adelaide, Australia.
As we went to the next destination, we saw caves made by the Japanese that are being used during the World War II.
Japanese garden of peace
Next stop is the Japanese garden of peace that is located at the tail side of the island. The attraction is also known as a praying area for the Japanese war veterans and the families of the Japanese soldiers who perished during the World War II.
A 10-ft high stone Buddha, a reflecting pool, a Shinto shrine, various Japanese markers and anti-aircraft guns are included in this area. It is said that the Buddha (inspired by Mary and Child Jesus) is a fertility God, whoever touched the statue will bear a child.
Souvenir shops can also be found in the garden, where you can buy various souvenirs, including Japanese and American currencies being used during that time.
The Malinta Tunnel is the last stronghold of the joint Philippine and American military prior to the Japanese takeover during the World War II. It is also a bomb-proof shelter being used even before the Japanese came in 1942.
The said Tunnel is now being used for the Lights and Sounds show created by the National Artist Lamberto Avellana. The said audio-visual presentation depicts the historical significance of the tunnel and its series of events that took place in Corregidor.
This is where we had our lunch break. We had buffet lunch at that time. Their welcome refreshment is a sure relief to the scorching sun. The view outside is great too. As for the food, it was good, not that bad either.
It is where the four 12-inch mortars were located. The mortars are capable of a 360-degree traverse, and they are able to fire on land targets in bataan.
The hospital was one of the ruins that are still standing in the island. it is said that all patients of the said hospital were rushed to the Malinta tunnel during the war, as the Japs bombed the whole island.
We were fortunate to check out the ruins as it is not even part of the day tour. Our tour guide told us that the place is used for ghost hunting that is included in the overnight tour.
Much has been said in the said ruins, for it is said to be the training ground of the Philippine military and the elite troops in the 60’s, where the Marcos administration planned to infiltrate the Sabah islands from Malaysia.
The Battery Hearn has the longest artillery battery in the island. despite the size, it never played a vital role during the war because of its direction. (it is faced towards the South China Sea) The artillery is famous for the Japanese tourists for its image is used as the banzai victory photo for their fellow countrymen when they captured the island.
it is the most photographed place in the island because of its massive size and structure. It is also the world’s longest military barracks, measuring 1520 feet in length. it was once a distinctly-decorated building where it blends to the look and feel of the island and its its surrounding buildings.
How I wish we could have an existing old photo of the barracks before the war came. The skeletal remains of the structure, though looks old and weary, still looks gorgeous as ever.
Corregidor island lighthouse
It’s amazing how The Corregidor island lighthouse still stands up to this day since its operation in 1853. It is said to be one of the most important lights in the archipelago as it guides the ships to the Manila bay on their way to the port of Manila.
The lighthouse did not survive the World War II. The now-erected lighthouse was constructed in the 1950s, which is now being seen today.
The water tank hill stood at the back of the lighthouse, where fresh water ans salt water are being stored. it is said that there are six water tanks available before, but now, only 3 tanks are being seen up to this day.
The old flagpole is still stands for more than a century. It is actually taken from the Spanish warship that is captured during the Battle of manila in 1898.
Pacific War Memorial
Located at the highest point of Corregidor, the said memorial is erected to honor the Filipinos and American soldiers who joined during the World War II.
We went first to the back side of the memorial, where we can see the tail-end side of the island and the faraway view of the Manila Bay.
The 40 feet corteen steel structure called the Eternal Flame of Freedom also stands tall at the memorial, also located behind the memorial.
There is also a 6,000 sqm dome with a rotunda, where the circular altar is located. The dome’s open center lights up the altar every May 6 at 12 noon, and all is requested to offer a moment of silence as this is the time when the country fell into the hands of the Japanese.
The museum is away from the memorial, where different memorabilias were being seen and were used previously by the Filipinos, Americans and the Japanese.
A lot can be seen near the Pacific war memorial. there’s the damaged building of Cine Corregidor, the bachelor officers quarters, the brothers in arms, the rock force and various artillery displayed in the open field.
One of the artillery battery in the islands that is one of the three “disappearing” gun batteries. it is said to be disappearing because it is hidden behind the concrete parapet.
Our last stop was at the South dock, where it is said to the convenient place to park on the boats aside from the Lorcha dock and the south dock. It also has a nice view of the beach and its nearby islands.
So there you have it! Oh how I wish we could avail on the overnight tour, I would love to explore more of Corregidor soon!***Special thanks to the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) under Mr. Mark Lapid. Thanks so much Sir for accommodating us!