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I Recommend an Adventure in Corregidor
you are fond of history coupled with a little bit of adventure, then I
recommend a visit to Corregidor. This is definitely an outdoor with a bit of indoor type of adventure.
Corregidor, A Bit of History
Corregidor is a rocky, tadpole- shaped island in the Philippines. It is strategically located at the entrance of Manila Bay and served as the headquarters of the Allied Forces as well as the seat of the Philippine Commonwealth government during World War II.
Corregidor is also known as “The Rock” because of its rocky features. But the name “Corregidor” actually has Spanish origin as it comes from the word “corregir” which means to correct. The strategic location of the island made it an ideal ‘correcting’ point where identity and position of vessels entering Manila Bay are checked.
During World War II, Philippine and American forces held out at Corregidor for almost a month before they were forced to surrender to the Japanese Imperial Army. By that time however, Philippine President, Manuel L. Quezon, and Gen. Douglas MacArthur of the American forces, had already left for Australia through secret tunnels in the island. These tunnels are now some of the major attractions in this island.
Adventure in Corregidor
What can one do in Corregidor? Well, you can either take a day tour or an overnight tour.
a) Day tour
After you dock at the pier of Corregidor, you will be taken around the island on a tramvia, an open type of bus.
Stops include the following:
- Ruins of barracks and officers quarters – remains of ruined buildings are all over the place
- Artillery batteries - the guns and mortars of various sizes are still here. This includes Battery Hearn’s seacoast gun which has a firing range of 17 miles
- Parade grounds at various levels
- Malinta Tunnel with its Lights and Sound Show
- Pacific War Memorial and Museum – this is found at the highest point of the island and has a magnificent view of tail end of the tadpole shaped island. The Eternal Flame sculpture is also a landmark of the place.
- Spanish Lighthouse – this used to serve as the checkpoint that alerted officers in Manila of approaching vessels. You can go up the lighthouse one and a time. There is also a small Spanish museum beside it.
- Filipino Heroes Memorial – this is marked by murals that depict some of the country’s historic battles including the People Power Revolution of 1986. There is also a small museum in this site.
- Japanese Memorial garden – this is just near the Filipino Heroes Memorial. It has a beautiful view of the coastline and there is a sculpture and small Japanese garden
b) Night Tour
If you want more adventure however, you should stay overnight and join the night tour as well as the sunrise tour.
If you stay overnight, you are free to do whatever you like after lunch. The night tour begins at sunset where you will be able to enjoy a fantastic view of the sunset over the island. Then you will tour some of the ruins at night.
The night gives the tour an eerie feel because you are in hospital ruins as well as massacre sites. So if you have a kind of sixth sense, you might feel some definite changes in the atmosphere as well as see some unusual light.
In my picture of the night tour for example, I don’t know where that red glow at the right side came from.
The high point of the night tour is a tour through the Malinta Tunnel once again. This time however, the focus is not on the main tunnel and the light and sound show but rather on the lateral tunnels of which there are many. You will also need to wear helmets and carry flashlights because you have to pass through some very low and narrow channels. You have to practically crawl through some of the tunnels and you will also be shown the escape route of Quezon and MacArthur.
To add drama to the whole tour, all the lights in the tunnels are turned off and you have to rely only on flashlights which you share with 4 other people. If the batteries in your flashlight give up (as what happened to us), you have to call out to your guide to help you along.
This lateral tunnel tour is fun especially if you are the type who gets some thrills from being scared. There was even a point during our tour when one lady let out a blood curdling cry when she accidentally touched somebody standing beside a wall as she was groping in the dark. I think the person was just standing silently because it was pitched dark but this lady probably tried to reach for the wall and touched a person instead. So if you have a heart condition, then just wait for the others at the main tunnel. This part of the tour is not for you.
Your stay in Corregidor is not complete if you don’t join a “catch the sunrise tour”. This will bring you again to the topmost part of the island where you can appreciate all the glory of God’s creation as the sun slowly breaks out from the horizon.
For the even more adventurous souls, a short hiking tour through steep trails and dense tropical forest is part of the morning tour. You can however opt not to join the group if you do not have strong arms and legs for this kind of activity.
More Adventures in Corregidor
After the early morning guided tour, you are on your own to explore the island at leisure. The boat back to Manila is still after lunch.
Some activities you can do while waiting for the trip back are:
- Discover where some paths lead to
- Visit the chapel
- Explore the beach
- Use the swimming pool
- Explore some shops for souvenirs
- Go fishing
By the way, there is only one hotel in the island. However, if you want more island type adventure, there is a camping ground where you can pitch tent and do some barbecue.
Ok, have I convinced you enough to give Corregidor a try?