Corregidor Island: The Rock

Corregidor Island is one of the historical spot a stone's throw away from Manila that I kept on putting off visiting because "it's not going anywhere."  

The island - used to be a Spanish signal outpost and fortress due to its strategic location at the mouth of Manila Bay, and about 26 miles from Manila - played an important role in the second world war. Used by the American forces as a base (together with 3 other islands on the bay), it was the last parcel of land to surrender to the Japanese invaders. It became the headquarters of Gen. Douglas MacArthur and the seat of the government of Philippine president Manuel L. Quezon during the war.

Due to the placement of a network of tunnels, fortifications - 23 batteries in all - and anti-ship guns, it delayed the conquest of the Philippines by Japan. After its fall, it was occupied by Japanese forces for 3 years, and was then recaptured by Allied forces in February 1945.

Today, Corregidor holds testament to the horrors of war with the presence of ruins and and the remnants of the pockmarked walls and guns of the 23 batteries in the island. 

The Malinta Tunnel- a bomb-proof network of bunkers and tunnels - also stood as a grim memory to what the Allied forces had endured during the war.

A memorial to the fallen - the Pacific War Memorial - was built on the island to honor those who died in WW2. The memorial has an altar that eulogizes those who have fallen during the war. 

Behind the Pacific War Memorial in the Topside area of Corregidor is the Eternal Flame of Freedom, a Corten steel sculpture sculpture created by Aristides Demetrios.  The 40-foot sculpture is a tribute to the men and women who have fallen defending freedom from the invaders.  It sits on a platform that gives a magnificent view of Manila Bay, and the coastlines of Bataan and Cavite.

How to get there: Suncruises offers a daytrip to the island, for PhP1990, via a 1.5-hr ferry ride. The boat leaves from the pier located beside the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex, just along Roxas Boulevard.

Package includes transport, entrance fees, and buffet lunch. An overnight stay in the island's only hotel would cost an additional PhP500.


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