Originally, a plan for four, came down to two. My friend Angel and I went for a ride off the city to find relief, but instead got an amazing and unforgettable adventure. Since both of us are suckers of the Philippine History, we decided to visit the famous island of Corregidor. This is a tadpole-like island in between the coasts of Bataan and Cavite, and an hour and a half away by ferry boat from Manila Bay. This is government-owned property and is being funded by Corregidor Foundation Incorporated (CFI) which means that nobody can live here aside from the people who are only staying here to take care of the island and maintain the place for tourists. Currently, the only company who is allowed to manage Corregidor is Sun Cruises Philippines.
The port of Sun Cruises Philippines which is located in Esplanade Seaside Terminal, Seaside Blvd., MOA Complex in Pasay City.
At 11:30 in the morning, the ferry boat departed from Manila Bay and arrived at Corregidor Island at around 1:00 P.M. Our plan was only to pay for the ferry transport and explore the island by ourselves, which was a complete insane idea for the island is too big to conquer its historical spots by foot in a day. As such, with all excitement and thrill, we decided to rent a vehicle and stay for the night. Lesson learned? Always bring a spare for everything.
The bus that took us on the journey around the island. They were modeled from the mode of transport of the soldiers who lived here during the war.
Okay, let’s start the tour, shall we?
1. Japanese Memorial Garden
A statue of Buddha Goddess of Fertility inside the Memorial Garden.
Our first stop after lunch was in the Japanese Memorial Garden. It was once an unknown Japanese Military Cemetery ( and the only one in the entire Pacific during the WWII) during the war in Corregidor and was discovered through a photo found in a garage sale. This site faces the Caballo Island, one of the islets that surrounds Corregidor. Since we went there during the afternoon, the pictures we took were a little bit off; hence, we decided to go back there the next day.
A photo of an unknown G.I. -the only proof that a Japanese Military Cemetery was in Asia was built in Corregidor during the WWII.
A view of Caballo Island from the Japanese Memorial Garden.
The Japanese Memorial Garden was also once a gun emplacement before Corregidor was defeated.
2. Malinta Tunnel
The East Entrance to Tailside area of Malinta Tunnel.
This is my personal favorite among the spots on the island. I am still amazed by how it was built. Insanely amazing! If my memory serves me correctly, it has 4 entrances and has 24 laterals. The tunnel was built by Filipino prisoners and were engineered by the Americans during their stay here in the Philippines.
A map of Malinta Tunnel.
Most of the quarters inside the tunnel are slowly eroding due to natural disturbances but there are places that can still be visited. A light and sound show is still being played inside Malinta tunnel for tourists to feel how soldiers spent their lives in there during the war.
A view inside the tunnel during the day from east to west side and two of the blocked laterals (11 and 15).
A view of the tunnel during the night. (Top left) It is one of the laterals that hasn’t collapses yet. (Top right) It is a remain of the only toilet this tunnel had and it was used by nearly 1000 people during the war. (Bottom left) It was said to be bones of a Japanese soldier whose one of the many who took their lives upon the fall of WWII. (Bottom right) It was an air ventilation on the south passage of the tunnel.
We went back there during the night for a more detailed visit and the feeling was so eerie that it gave me creeps during the entire walk. The place was completely dark and silent that we heard the drops of water from the stones above and even our own breath. It was said that many Japanese soldiers commits suicide inside the tunnel upon the fall of WWII.
By the way, the tunnel’s name was derived from the Filipino word ‘linta’ which means leech/s that inhabits the place decades ago due to the moist and stagnant water that came from the drops of water of the stones above the tunnel.
3. Middleside Barracks
The remains and ruins of the Middleside Barracks.
It was consisted of two three-storey building and one of the many barracks in Corregidor that houses 60th Coast Artillery anti-aircraft regiment of the United States Regular Army and the 91st Coast Artillery of the Philippine Scouts.
4. Battery Way
This was a gun emplacement in Corregidor and got 4 out of 12 mortars but only 3 of them in this area worked during the war. The weapons were believed to be 40-years old already during the WWII.
5. Battery Hearn
Holding the biggest gun in the island, Battery Hearn was also a gun emplacement. The gun here was said to hit a certain target at a very long range. Our tour guide Mar compared the distance from Balintawak as the place where the gun is located and Baclaran Church as the target’s location. (If you knew the places I just said, then you can probably imagine how far the distance it made.)
6. Pacific War Memorial
One of the biggest historical spot in the island, the Pacific War Memorial is consist of the ruins of Cine Corregidor, remains of the Bachelor Officers Quarters, the Pacific War Memorial Museum, the Pacific War Memorial Dome, the Eternal Flame of Freedom Monument and a war airfield. This place is suitable for relaxation, and team building activities.
Top and bottom left – Cine Corrigedor. The last known film shown there is “Gone with the Wind.” Top right – A statue of an American soldier carrying a wounded Filipino soldier. This was made in tribute to the fallen heroes during the WWII. Bottom right – an open airfield for air crafts to land.
The Pacific War Memorial Museum houses variety of artifacts and documents during the war not only in Corregidor Island but also the entire Philippines. Bottom left – a shell of a bullet with a design of an old Filipina.
The Pacific War Memorial Dome and an altar created for those fallen American and Filipino heroes during the WWII.
The Monument of The Eternal Light of Freedom.
7. Corregidor Lighthouse
Due to a strategic position, a lighthouse was built in the island by the Spaniards to serve as a watch of the Manila Bay during their colonization of the Philippines.
8. Battery Geary
Another gun emplacement in Corregidor, Battery Geary got 2 mortars and was considered as the most effective anti-personnel weapon in the island.
My friend Angel and Mr. Patrol Man dressed as an officer during the war. He is a real police officer by the way.
We finished the Day Tour at around 5:15 in the afternoon. Since the night activities started at 5:oo PM, we lost the chance to go for a sunset viewing and a visit to the remains of the hospital that was used during the war. Since we were tired, we decided to let it go and prepare for the remaining night activity which was the Night Lateral Tour of Malinta Tunnel. As I described the feeling upon entering this place during the night earlier, it was worth it but never going to go back in there again.
We had our dinner at 8:30 in the evening, lights off at 10:00 P.M. and headed for another day of adventure the next day.
The morning at 6:00 was cold and raining so sunrise viewing was not possible. Instead, we went for bird and monkey watching. Yes, the entire island is also being inhabited by different kinds of animals. So far, we’ve seen falcons gliding on a dark dawn, black sparrows flying above our heads and long tailed macaques climbing on the trees. Nevertheless, we decided to go for a short hike.
9. Japanese Tunnel
The Ups and Downs of the Japanese Tunnel that we hiked and climb at 6 in the morning while raining.
Unlike the Malinta Tunnel which was made through concretes, the Japanese Tunnel was consisted of pure rocks. It was short and straight-forward, but we need to climb at least twice in opposite directions in order to reach exit. It took at least 20 minutes for us to finish the hike.
10. Mile-Long Barracks
The Mile-Long Barracks and our hilarious jump shots!🙂
Another barracks in the island, the Mile-Long Barracks can be considered as the center for trade and business during the war as it consisted of a coffee shop, a barber shop and few others for the soldiers’ enjoyment. Since we were not able to enjoy all of the spots yesterday due to schedule conflict, Bryan, our tour guide that day brought us there for jump shots.🙂
11. Corregidor Inn
A 31-star hotel, as Mar jokingly said, Corregidor Inn is consisted of 31 rooms and a restaurant. Aside from 2 small sari-sari stores that are located near the port and on the south beach area, this is the only place you can buy food. It was previously run by La Playa; however, Sun Cruises took it over and leaving restaurant to them to manage. They have the most friendly hotel staff that I ever encountered so far. Kudos to everyone on the team and for letting us stay the night without enough money to pay for the rent at that moment!
After the breakfast at 7:00, we decided to take a walk around the island and slowly backtracking the path of our tour that day before. The feeling of relief and relaxation is oozing by that moment as we are walking and the cold sea breeze blowing our problems and the negativity of the city life. Surely, time is very very slow on that place and we are not in a hurry. As such, we were able to sweat our hearts out and take pictures of the spots we missed before.
12. Filipino Heroes Memorial
In order to commemorate the bravery and patriotism of the Filipinos who fight for the country’s freedom, a memorial museum was created for them in Corregidor. There were vintage pictures and paintings that hang around the small museum from different artists. It is like Rizal Park, Quezon City Circle and Bantayog ng mga Bayani in one place.
13. San Jose Church
A church was created in the Island to hold masses and other Catholic ceremonies such as weddings, baptisms and other Christian recreations.
All in all, the experience is awesome and incredibly educational. We left the island at 2:45 in the afternoon with a smile and comfort in our hearts. One thing I am disappointed about though is not bringing enough supplies to stay for another day.
There are still a lot of places we haven’t visited in Corregidor Island and a lot of fun things we haven’t done. I will surely going to return there someday and hopefully completes the adventure.
Technically speaking, this is my first trip for the year so I imagined it to be splendid, and it definitely is🙂
But before I end this post, I would like to raise this upsetting issue about the tons of garbage that welcomed us upon arrival on the island. The view is really unpleasant to the eyes and is a major turn off to most. As we all know, first impressions lasts; hence, we would like to maintain the cleanliness of the island, not just its land area but up to its sea level as well.
To those who are planning to visit Corregidor, welcome and thank you for coming!🙂
For bookings, please visit Sun Cruises Philippines, Inc. or contact them at the following numbers:
Tel. (632) 834-6857 to 58, (632) 831-8140
Mobile (63)917 513-2625, (63)922 337-0068