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Corregidor: Gibraltar of the East

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This post has been overdue for the longest time. Oh well, better late than never.

When I was first introduced to group buying websites, one of the first deals I bought was a tour package to Corregidor from We got it for Php998 per person instead of the usual Php 2,000++. It included the entrance fee to the Malinta Tunnel Light and Sound show (normally an additional Php150) and a lunch buffet at the only hotel on the island, La Playa. It was a great deal.

Sun Cruises ferry

So together with 10 other friends, we scheduled a tour with Sun Cruises to visit the historic island.

The Sun Cruises terminal bay is located near the CCP complex. A shuttle transported guests to the ship that would take us to the island. Upon reaching Corregidor, guests board open mini trams while the tour guide provides interesting and sometimes funny information about the island and its history.

Mortars and Batteries
Corregidor Island is shaped like a tadpole and is very small. Way back when aerial bombardment wasn't popular, Corregidor was considered impregnable. It had a formidable array of defensive armament consisting of 23 batteries with coastal guns and mortars. It was called various names such as "The Rock" and "Gibraltar of the East" but it was officially named Fort Mills by the Americans.

The highlights of our trip were the following:

1. Malinta Tunnel - The light and sound show featured the voices of General Douglas MacArthur and then president Manuel Quezon during the events of the war.

Malinta Tunnel layout

General Douglas MacArthur

Life-size dioramas portray life in the tunnel during the war

2. Topside Barracks - also called the Mile Long barracks due to its reputation as being the longest barracks in Asia during the American colonial era. These were the ruins of the American military personnel residence that also housed commercial and entertainment facilities such as tennis courts and swimming pools.

The most photographed structure in Corregidor is the Topside Barracks

3. Pacific War Memorial - This encompasses a wide area which covers a museum, and a distinct circular altar with an oculus. On May 6, light from the sun will fall directly over the altar.

Pacific War Memorial
Brothers in Arms
The Museum. A tattered American flag is also displayed here
The altar. On May 6, the light should be directly over the altar.

The Eternal Flame

4. Japanese Garden of Peace - This is a park built as a memorial to the Japanese soldiers who died during the war.
Japanese Garden of Peace
 5. Corregidor Lighthouse - A light house in Topside, one of Corregidor's oldest landmarks.

Corregidor Lighthouse

 6. Filipino Heroes Memorial - a collection of murals depicting heroic battles fought by Filipinos. A statue of a Filipino farmer-soldier adorns the complex.

murals of battle

As one of the last standing fortresses of the Philippines in WWII, Corregidor is an important historical location and I really hope more Filipinos visit it.

Although Bataan fell on April 9,1942, Philippine and American forces held out at Corregidor for 27 days against great odds. On May 6, 1942, the Allied forces were forced to surrender to the Japanese Imperial Army. It was only 2 years and 10 months later on March 1945, when General Douglas MacArthur reclaimed Corregidor, fulfilling his promise to return to the Philippines.

General Douglas MacArthur: "I shall return."


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