A Blast From WWII!!!
Corregidor Island, Cavite, Philippines
This island perhaps is one of the living witness and story teller of what had happened during the infamous World War II. Stories of heroism, courage, valor, death, and even ghostly stories accompany this isolated yet strategically located island. Bounded by the waters of Manila de Bay, the island located at the province of Cavite, stands quiet and firm after hundreds of bombings and destruction.
We arrived after 1.5 hours of ferry ride from the Roxas Blvd. in Manila, the sun is shining hard on this island, you cant help but to notice how peaceful, quiet, and quite eerie it is. As soon as we disembarked on the ferry, we rode our tram and started the historical tour. With tour guide per tram, he explained and told in detail the story of this small island.
Our first stop is on the Filipinos Heroes Memorial, a complex designed by the famous Architect Bobby Manosa. It has 14 murals that depicted the Filipino guerillas. Next is the Japanese Garden of Peace, which serves also as a memorial to the Japanese soldiers who died in the war.
As we strolled all along the meandering and hilly roads, various small ruins can be seen. We reached the Malinta Tunnel just before we pig out for lunch. The tunnel which served as a hospital and refuge for the American and Filipino soldiers, is perhaps the scariest of all. A tunnel that runs approximately 60-80 meters, which now showcases an audio and video presentation of the happenings before, during, and after the war by the artist Lamberto Avellana. According to the tourist guide, the tunnel has levels underground, you can also see from the inside that the tunnel branch out to left and the right side of the passageway, with no idea where the tunnel leads!! These sections are closed and where wrecks, stones, and massive boulders can be seen. Random ghost stories also tell that during the night, people can be heard screaming inside this dark tunnel!!!
After lunch we headed back and explored the island. We reached the topside, where the famous ruins of the barracks can be seen. The old place is headquarters of the army, barracks, parade grounds, & Cinema Corrigedor. Now it is only the ruins that can be seen, and though it may be wrecked and old, but it is beautiful. Now, new additions can be seen like the museums, and the circular Pacific War Memorial. And at the end side of this is the steel structure which they say symbolizes freedom. Before the tour ended, we visited more and more batteries, and other canyons, but of course, last but not the least, the Lighthouse. It is the tallest and oldest structure in the island, created by the Spaniards during the Spanish regime, standing 628 feet above sea level.
At the end of the day tour, I realized that despite of the size of this island it has gone through many happenings throughout time that shaped the history of the Philippines. Known also as “The Rock”, and managed to be as one, the island despite the tremendous bombing especially during the WWII, now stands head high, firm, and peaceful at last!
For the Corregidor Historical Experience, contact Sun Cruises (http://www.corregidorphilippines.com/)!!!