Sunday, May 22, 2011

This is Corregidor

The last time I was in Corregidor was way back in the early 1990s. I was entering high school then, and we took some of our relatives from the US for a day tour. I could barely remember what transpired that day. Ever since, I've been curious about what Corregidor holds, especially after 20 years.




Getting to Corregidor is very easy. The tour is run by Sun Cruises, and you could easily book a trip in the Sun Cruises terminal beside the Harbor Garden Square. When we went, we collected our tickets here at 7AM, since the ferry leaves at 8AM. The tour costs P1,800 per person inclusive of lunch and transfers. We were then transported to the pier using a huge jeepney. The ferry took almost an hour and a half long. In the ferry, a quirky guide briefed us on what to expect and gave a bit of history on the island.


We arrived safe and in good weather. There were 4 trams waiting to be filled up with both local and foreign guests. One tram was devoted to a Japanese set, complete with a tour guide who spoke Japanese.


We were here for an ocular for an event we were doing in the island by the way, so we had to visit as many spots. This isn't the regular tour, so when you do go, don't expect to visit everything listed here.


Our first stop was the Battery Way. This bunker was probably the most interesting, since you could go inside the dark bunkers. I also remembered going here before, so this place stuck in my mind.


Since we were organizing an Amazing Race in Corregidor, we had to check out all the activities one could do. Sun Cruises actually has an Amazing Race tour, and so, they offered us the activities that were already part of this program. Near the Battery Way was the Duck Walk tunnel.


It was a long tunnel with a low ceiling, hence the name. The tunnel looked endless from the entrance, as you couldn't see any light. We were told it was around 40 ft long. And our guide gave us a scare as he mentioned that monitor lizards lived inside.


And the guide was right. there were 4 monitor lizards crawling on the wall. We had to brave them and run across the tunnel. It was a great challenge I thought. At the end, you had to go up a ladder to go back to ground level.


After the Duck Walk tunnel, we walked to the ruins of a hospital. It was s three-storey abandoned building. I imagined a lot of ghosts being here, and it looked really haunted, even during the day.


The next artillery battery we visited was Battery Grubbs. It had a nice view of the sea and of Bataan from above. This is a perfect place to take pictures.


We then moved on to the Parade Grounds which was a huge marching field, after passing by the Mile-Long Barracks. We then went up to the Pacific War memorial that again had a great view of the sea. But the highlight of this area for me was another tunnel, called the Japanese tunnel.


We descended underground after entering a hidden cave entrance. It was pitch black below, and the air was cold and eerie. The surface was also rocky, so we took extra care in exploring the tunnel.


When we went back up to ground level, we walked through a path that led us to the Spanish Lighthouse. This is my favorite place in the island. I felt I was transported to a different era. We took a rest for a while before stepping into the tram again that took us to the Corregidor Inn for lunch.


The lunch venue was also a treat, having sweeping views of the sea. It was on a high point of the island, so you could see the rest of the island from here. The lunch was very disappointing though, not worth the price we paid.


After lunch, we had to hurry to see the rest of the island. We visited the Filipino Heroes Memorial which had bas reliefs of the wars in Philippine history. It was a nice way to appreciate our history.


We also visited the Japanese Garden of Peace, which had a Japanese buddha statue that supposedly faced Japan. It was a memorial to the lives lost in the Japanese side. We were very tired from the tour, so we decided to call it a day. The ferry goes back at 2PM, and there wasn't any other trip back. We were brought back to the beach area, where we waited for our ferry.


I think that Corregidor Island is a great day tour especially for foreigners. Its historical value cannot be ignored and the stories about the island remain interesting. We actually didn't visit the island's top draw, the Malinta Tunnel, which had a lights and sounds show for an additional fee. I remember seeing that show when I was young, so I didn't bother experiencing it again.

So, if you've got nothing to do on a weekend, or have some balikbayan or foreign guests, head off to Corregidor. Having visited the island a second time was actually interesting, and I knew I had more to explore. So, to quote MacArthur, who spoke his most famous lines in the Lorca Dock, I shall return.

For tour bookings and more information, visit the Sun Cruises website.
CCP Terminal A. CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Manila, Philippines
Tel. Nos. (632) 831-8140,(632) 834-6857 to 58

1 comment:

  1. I visited Corregidor back when I was still in college. I remember the big guns and the eerily empty ruins of buildings. I wonder if they do night tours of the places. That would put a more edgy spin on an otherwise quiet day tour!

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