Trip back in time at Corregidor Island

The first time I was in Corregidor was in 2007 where I helped organize an Amazing Race activity for work. So that whole time I had zoomed through the place in a hurry to find clues and reach a finish line with nearly a hundred other people. In short – I don’t recall a great deal about the place.

So this time, my second time, I visited with my son while on vacation and with a leisurely place I was able to absorb more about the history and  wonders of this World War 2 heritage site.

We took a day tour via Sun Cruises on an overcast morning, leaving Manila at about 730 am (be warned that there’s no breakfast on the boat so eat beforehand!).  It’s a 1 hour boat ride to Corregidor, which is near the Cavite area.

CAM00688
Arriving at Corregidor via Sun Cruises

 

CAM00689
at the welcome area of Corregidor

 

CAM00654
The bus/ trams on the island are replicas of the original trains that used to run through the island during the war.

We were on one of 8 buses/ trams, each one with a tour guide. Our tour guide was Robert who had been touring people on the island since the 70s.

In Robert’s humorous narrative he shared that Corregidor was one of the country’s last defenses against the invading Japanese during World War 2. The island had a mix of Filipino and American soldiers working together in the defense.  Corregidor’s fight against the invaders lasted 5 months but the the conquerors eventually prevailed, only to be driven out later on when American forces returned to the island.

 

One of the first stops in the tour was the crumbling ruins of the barracks that had been bombed.

IMG_20141230_100023
Ruins of the military barracks.

 

Light house on Corregidor island
Light house on Corregidor island

 

We went on to see a succession of gun areas.

IMG_20141230_100908
Some of the guns at Corregidor

 

CAM00588
A supposedly bomb proof area that was bombed over a thousand times and finally broke. The broken guns are still there.

 

Statue of soldiers at the Pacific war memorial entrance
Statue of soldiers at the Pacific war memorial entrance
IMG_20141230_110122
In the site where the Pacific war museum now stands was formerly a movie house that had played its last movie “Gone with the Wind” at the time the island started getting bombed by the Japanese

 

Built at the end of the memorial building was a flame sculpture symbolizing peace

 

We went on to the Japanese cemetery/ memorial area which was undiscovered until 1986. It was discovered by our tour guide Robert!

CAM00596
More guns facing the sea at the Japanese memorial area

 

CAM00609
The guy in green is our tour guide Robert who discovered the mass grave of Japanese soldiers on the island.

 

Goddess of mercy at the Japanese memorial area
Goddess of mercy at the Japanese memorial area

 

Not far away was the Filipino soldiers memorial area which if I’m not mistaken was built by President Corazon Aquino in the late 80s.

CAM00620
The Filipino soldiers memorial area where several statues stand (statues of President Osmena, President Quezon and 2 others symbolizing Filipino people).
CAM00612
A statue symbolizing Filipino people at the Filipino soldiers memorial area

 

CAM00614
Artwork of a gun and a soldier’s hat with an inscription saying ‘We will not forget’

We then went to the restored Malinta tunnel for a light and sound show (which I did not experience the first time around). It was walk-stop-walk kind of tour where we stopped at designated points to see statues illuminated to dramatize the sequence of historical events in Corregidor in the lateral/ side tunnels. Some of the interesting trivia shared was that the Malinta tunnel was bomb proof because it had 300 feet of rock on top of it. Thus, President Quezon hid there for a time with his family.

CAM00631
Start of the sound and light show in Malinta tunnel

 

CAM00638
Lighted figurines that are illuminated during the sound and light show at the Malinta tunnel

 

CAM00634
More lighted figurines in Malinta tunnel show

 

CAM00640
The end of the 20 minute sound and light show at Malinta tunnel shows a Philippine flag hoisted on a flag pole. The Philippine flag had been hoisted when the Americans had returned and had driven the Japanese out.

After the show, we got to peek at the remaining lateral tunnels which are untouched and still show total destruction within. Our guide said that when the Americans came back after the Japanese conquered the island, the Japanese wouldn’t leave the Malinta tunnel so the Americans poured gasoline and other explosive material down the air shafts from the surface and blew the place up. And so the Japanese were driven out in the end.

Later on I noticed that there were Japanese visitors on the other buses. I wonder what they think about all this?

CAM00644
The lateral tunnels in Malinta tunnel still untouched

We then went off for a good eat-all-you can lunch at the hotel on top of the hill. We were only given 45 minutes to eat, everything was so well-timed as we had to catch the 2:30 pm boat ride back!

CAM00652
Lunch time view from the hotel

 

Scenic ocean views abound around the tadpole-shaped island
Scenic ocean views abound around the tadpole-shaped island
CAM00664
More scenic views

 

CAM00662
There is a black sand beach near the hotel which is also the area of the zipline, boat rentals and bonfire areas
CAM00669
A boat unloading at another pier

 

The last 2 stops were to see the memorial marker of Gen. Wainright and Gen. MacArthur.

CAM00673
Memorial marker of Gen. Wainright at the spot where he surrendered Corregidor and the other islands to the Japanese.

 

CAM00678
Statue of Gen. Douglas MacArthur with the inscription of his famous words: “I shall return”

The tour ended at 2 pm and we were all back on the boat by 230 pm and back in Manila by 4:00 pm.

This is a good trip for people interested in the war (like my son). It was definitely well-organized. I find it a good day trip but probably not an overnight destination for me given the possibility of seeing a lot of ghosts.

I got this deal on a discount site (about P2,000 ++ per person). Definitely worth visiting!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s