Sunday, July 3, 2011

Touring The Historic Island of Corregidor


Back in college, I missed my chance in going to Corregidor since the trip requires a big amount of money and at that time, I had none, so I settled for the cheaper field trip alternative at Cavite at that time. This time, I learned about Sun Cruises tour on the historic island and I was more than excited to go and see what I missed a few years back.


Initially, I planned to stay overnight at the island because of an invite of a friend but when I was inviting others, it seems that they can't go with the initial plan, so I weighed on the details of the tour and decided to do a day trip since this will allow more of my high school friends to come.


It was a Saturday morning and we need to be at the port before 8 because the ferry might leave us if we are late. The terminal is located at Terminal A, CCP Bay Cruise Terminal, CCP Complex and we took a cab from Buendia Taft to go there.

Sun Cruises' Ticketing Office
 We arrived at Sun Cruises ticketing office to get our boarding pass for the tour which we reserved and paid ahead of time. Our day tour cost P2099 for the ferry to and from the island, guided tour and buffet lunch. They also offer an over night stay at the island plus tour around it. After we got our tickets, we boarded the shuttle that will bring us to the port where the Sun Cruises terminal is. It was about a 5-10 minute ride on a van that smelled like gasoline. I really didn't like the smell and I was holding my breath and praying that we reach our destination quickly so I can get a hold of fresh air outside. It was a grueling 10 minute ride and it was one of the things I hated on the trip.

Sun Cruises Ferry to Corregidor
 We were one of the first few people to arrive at the ferry. Our badges were scanned and the crew assisted us upon boarding. We were assigned of our seats. We waited for the other guests to fill the empty seats before going to the island. I was slowly feeling sea sick especially when the ferry started moving and I instantly froze on my seat and felt all the motions of the sea. It was quite a bumpy ride and I slept most of the time. My friends went up to see the view outside but since I was so sea sick, I just stayed. :(

Crew Demonstrating proper use of life vest
Me, being sea sick :(
Riding the ferry is like riding a plane. The crew demo how the life vests are to be worn and they give the same welcome address to the guests. After that, they played some clips on the TV in front and after a while, some music from the speakers were played. The ferry was big, about 200 passengers can board it. There are seating at the bottom floor as well as the top. There are also a few seats at the viewing area. The crews are all over giving out sick bags and sea sickness first aid to the passengers. There is also a comfort room in the ship. It was nice even if you need to keep your balance as the ship is sailing. Thankfully, after about an hour, we reached our destination, Corregidor island. Finally, fresh air!

Port at Corregidor, overlooking Bataan's Mountains
 Before we get out of the ferry, we were instructed which bus number to take since some of them are reserved for other tourists. We went to bus number 6 at the back part since it was the only seat that could accommodate the three of us in one row. We were thankful enough since Mang Pol was the guide and he is the best guide in Corregidor for us!

Mang Pol, explaining some historic events
Our Mini Bus with Mang Pol as our guide
 Corregidor is a tadpole shaped island (see map on top of this post) located at Bataan. It was famous in Philippine history since it was once a base of the Filipino and American soldiers during World War II. Most of the remains of war are still there and you can see them as you go around the island. The structures are restored and preserve since most of them are crumbling down. The big weapons that they have are still standing there where they left it. There are some marks on the structures that indicates that bombs, bullets, etc. had hit it and you can really feel the war that has occurred there on each of the locations you can go to in this island. For me, as I first step foot on the place and saw the lush forest that we passed through, I felt the sadness of the place. I can feel the lonely souls that gave up their lives and watered the soils of this island with their blood. It was a sad place and you can really feel that a lot of tragic things have happened here.

this is where the soldiers stayed

It is now all in ruins

But they are trying their best to preserve it
 As we ride our mini bus to tour around, we passed by old buildings which once were the soldier's barracks. It was crumbling down and the foundations and pillars are the only thing that was left. After some more tour, we reached the Batteries. There are 23 batteries in total and we will just visit a few. The first one we visited is the Battery Way. It has a lot of the large weapon that is used to defend the island from the enemies. It was pretty much the same on the other batteries, which is by the way, named after the leaders at the time of the war. 

Battery Way, one of the 23 batteries in Corregidor

Artillery at Battery Way

Thiese are used to protect the island of the enemies

We also passed by some scenery and Mang Pol explained to us all the islands and places surrounding the island that we see. He pointed out Bataan, Caballo island, La Mongha island and more. He told us the history of each loactions we stopped on. It was nice to have him since we learned a lot from him.

Pretty scenery of the islands around
 We went to a light house at the highest point in the island, we climbed it and it was another pretty view there. Soon we went to some monument and some museum. There were so much to see and we are enjoying ourselves there. Here is a visual tour of our first half of the tour:

Corregidor Inn from afar

Some Ruins during the war

Another massive weapon in one of the batteries

spare parts of the big weapons

Battery Grubbs entrance

weapons from Battery Grubbs

Another weapon from Battery Grubbs

Ruins of the barracks the soldiers used

Flagpole standing tall

There is a speech from Mc Arthur about this but it was too long

The Spanish lighthouse where you can climb up

found below the lighthouse, distances from various places in the world

viwe up the lighthouse, Bataan area (?)

A monument from the war

The caption found under it

Another monument that reminds me of St. Therese Chapel in UPLB

The light will hit the altar exactly on a certain date. the date when we attained freedom form the war. May (something)

The caption on the center altar

Pacific War Memorial Museum entrance

Inside the museum. A replica of McArthur's beret

Inside the museum: a large world map showing details of the war

some items from the war

Monument showing Filipino and Americans helping each other during the war

Artillery at the parade grounds

Corregidor Inn! Time for lunch
After a while, it was time for lunch and so, we headed to Corregidor Inn where they serve our buffet lunch which came with the package. The food was yummy and they serve salad, soup, main dish and dessert. It is up to you how much you will get. Since we were so hungry that time, we got almost all the dishes they served for us to taste. It was a filling lunch and we were all satisfied from it.

Free Refreshments, watermelon cooler, this was good

dishes on the buffet: Buttered Vegetables, Palla Rice, Chicken Adobi, Prok Estofado

Create your own salad: cucumber, tomato, corn, turnip in ranch dressing

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Dessert: Biko with cheese (sticky rice cake)

The dining area at Corregidor Inn
 The second part of the tour started after we were all filled and re-energized. This time, we were headed to some of the places in honor of the Japanese soldiers who died there. We also passed to some of the monuments for the Filipino people. Our last part of the tour was the Light and Sound Shoe at the Malinta Tunnel. this part was not part of the package and so, we bough tickets for P150 to enter and see the show in the tunnel.

Statue of Mc Arthur

Islands around Corregidor

Fertility Statue at Japanese Memorial Site

Artillery at the Japanese Memorial

A park dedicated to the Philippines
Monument to the Angels of war, the nurses
 Built in 1935, the tunnel was home to the people during the war. It has a lot of "rooms" at the side of the main tunnel. This serves as their sleeping, dining, infirmary, entertainment, office area during the war. They hid here to be safe from the enemies. Today, this tunnel was preserved and was made into a light and sound show which tells the story of the war to the people. After several diorama and short clips, the end part of the tunnel shows how it really looked like during the time of the war. You will really think how people managed to lived there since the place is really dark and humid. It was a scary place to be in.

Malinta Tunnel where the light and sound show takes place


Map of the tynnel

Entranc of the show (other side)

One of the exits of the tunnel

Inside the tunnel, the show begins

Scenes you will see inside

They re-created everything from how it looked like during the war time

This used to be their hospital back then

And areas where they hang out and talk

They also showed what the Japanese did that time

They also showed some clips from the war period

At the end of the tour, the Philippine flag is raised

This is how the tunnel looked like now

The foundations are all down

here is a much more clear picture on how it looked like before
 After the tour, our bus went back to the port where we all started the tour. It was the end of the tour and we all thanked Mang Pol for sharing with us his knowledge. I really recommend you take him as a guide if ever you want to tour Corregidor. I give him two thumbs up!

The ride back to Manila was better compared to our ride that mroning. We were all tired and so we slept almost immediately. We woke up when we docked Manila and we all went back to the ticketing office riding the gasoline smelling shuttle. 

Our tour was done but the knowledge and experience we had will stay on forever. I wanted to share everything I learned but I am so lazy to type here. I will just leave you guys with the images I took on the trip and recommend you to go to Corregidor to experience first hand what we had. Now, I appreciate more our history (especially the efforts of my HIST1 prof back in college) since I learned a lot about our country this day. I hope you too have the same learning I had.

******

For Corregidor Island Tours contact:
CCP Terminal A. CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Manila, Philippines
Tel. Nos. (632) 831-8140,(632) 834-6857 to 58
Fax No. (632) 834-1523
E-mail: suncruises@magsaysay.com.ph

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