Corregidor Island...of fun...

Corregidor Travel Blog

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This morning Dennie, Yheleen and I were up at about 6am and getting ourselves ready to get a taxi to Star bucks in Central Plaza in Manila, as this was a close meeting point to the boat docking point at the harbor. We had to meet at 7am and after struggling to get up this morning, I got breakfast there and met up with the rest of the group at the same time. I wasn't the only one who must of struggled though as Jay and Laniee got breakfast there too. So I didn't feel too bad at all. Just before 7.30 am we made our way around the building to the Sun Cruises harbor, where our boat was waiting for us, and got our tickets and stickers before clambering onto the boat. The boat ride lasted about an hour, which was amusing most of the way as there were other groups on there that started by running and jumping about then after about 30 minutes they were all feeling sea sick and so were sitting quietly. by which time we were up and taking photos and having a laugh, which a guide didn't find funny as he told us of for being to noisy when he was trying to tell the boat the story of Corregidor Island. Which went something like this: courtesy of Wikipedia, lol...

Under the Spanish era, Corregidor served not only as a fortress of defense and a penal institution, but also as a signal outpost to warn Manila of the approach of hostile ships, and as a station for Customs inspection. Corregidor comes from the Spanish word corregir, meaning "to correct." One story states that, due to the Spanish system wherein all ships entering Manila Bay were required to stop and have their documents checked and corrected, the island was called Isla del Corregidor (literally, Island of Correction). Another version claims that the island was used a penitentiary or correctional institution by the Spanish and came to be called El Corregidor.

In 1902, the island was organized as an American military reservation. In 1903, a convalescent hospital was established by the US Army and In 1908, a Regular Army post was established on the island, designated as Fort Mills, in honor of Brigadier General Samuel M. Mills, Chief of Artillery of the US Army from 1905 to 1906. By early 1909, H Company of the 2nd Battalion of the Corps of Engineers was assigned to Corregidor and started on the construction of concrete emplacements, bomb-proof shelters, and trails at various parts of the island. This pioneer engineer company left Fort Mills on March 15, 1912.

The defense of Corregidor was the immediate responsibility of the Philippine Coast Artillery Command under Major General George F. Moore. Stationed on the island were the following regular units:

  • 60th Coast Artillery AA (US Regular Army)

  • 91st Coast Artillery (Philippine Scouts)

  • 59th Coast Artillery (US Regular Army)

  • 92nd Tractor Drawn Coast Artillery (Philippine Scouts)

  • Headquarters, Harbor Defenses of Manila and the Seaward Defense Command.

Before the outbreak of World War II, the island was reinforced by the 4th Marine Regiment (United States)4th Marine Regiment and by mobilized Philippine Army troops which were sent to reinforce the island's beach defenses.

The Army post on Corregidor was named Fort Mills, that on Caballo Island, Fort Hughes, on El Fraile, Fort Drum, and on Carabao Island, Fort Frank. According to the war plan, these forts were supposed to be able to make a six-month stand, after which aid would presumably come from the United States. The fortifications on Corregidor were designed solely to beat off a sea-borne attack. When American military planners realized that airplanes would one day render Fort Mills obsolete, the United States was restricted from improving the fortifications by the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922. After this, U.S. Army constructed the Malinta Tunnel, with its series of related laterals, to protect its military stores and vital installations in the event of war.

The island, which sheltered Fort Mills, was a prized piece of real estate. Its defense installations had cost the U.S. Government more than 150 million dollars. This amount did not include the expenditure for fortifying the neighboring islands of Caballo, Carabao, and El Fraile, on which were established forts Hughes, Frank, and Drum, respectively.

World War II

During the Battle of the Philippines (1941��"42), General Douglas MacArthur used Corregidor as Allied headquarters until March 11, 1942. Between December 24, 1941 and February 19, 1942, it was also the temporary location of the Government of the Commonwealth of the Philippines ��" on December 30, 1941, outside the Malinta Tunnel, President Manuel L. Quezon and Vice-President Sergio Osmeña were inaugurated for a second term. The Voice of Freedom, the radio station of the USAFFE (United States Army Forces in the Far East) broadcast from Corregidor, including the famous announcement of the fall of Bataan. Japanese troops forced a surrender of the remaining American and Filipino forces on Corregidor on May 6 after the Battle of Corregidor.

Battle of Corregidor,

The Battle for Corregidor was the culmination of the Japanese campaign for the conquest of the Philippines. The fall of Bataan in April 9, 1942 ended all organized opposition by the U.S. Army Forces ��" Far East (USAFFE) to the invading Japanese forces on Luzon in the northern Philippines. The island bastion of Corregidor, with its network of tunnels and formidable array of defensive armament, along with the fortifications across the entrance to Manila Bay, was the remaining obstacle to the 14th Japanese Imperial Army of Lieutenant General Masaharu Homma. The Japanese had to take Corregidor; as long as the island remained in American hands, they would be denied the use of the Manila Bay, the finest natural harbor in the Orient.

Return to Corregidor

The Battle for the Recapture of Corregidor, between 16 February and 26 February 1945, by American and Filipino liberation forces against the defending Japanese garrison on the island fortress used by the USAFFE, which was the last bastion to surrender to invading Japanese forces in 1942.''

After the War, many people, most of them veterans, visited the island because of its history. Today, Corregidor is a historic monument as well as a tourist destination. Many travel companies offer day tours on the island featuring military installations used during World War II. Most of the war-ravaged buildings have not been restored, but have instead been left in reverence to the Filipino and American soldiers who died there. Standing on the highest part of Corregidor's west side is the Pacific War Memorial, which was built by the United States Government to honor the Filipino and American soldiers who participated in World War II. It was completed in 1968 at the cost of three million dollars.

The Malinta Tunnel, which is the last stronghold of the joint Philippine and American military prior to the Japanese takeover during the last world war, is now home to an audio-visual presentation by National Artist Lamberto V. Avellana of the events that took place on the island, including the reluctant departure of General Douglas MacArthur and the evacuation of the Philippine president Manuel L. Quezon and his family to unoccupied areas of the Philippines and then to exile in the United States.

One of the most recent additions to Corregidor is the Filipino Heroes Memorial. This 6,000-square meter complex has 14 murals depicting heroic battles fought by Filipinos from the 15th century up to the present day. It was designed by Francisco Mañosa, while the murals and a statue of a Filipino guerrilla were sculpted by Manuel Casas. The complex was inaugurated by President Fidel V. Ramos on August 28, 1992.

Once every May 6 at exactly noon, the Solar equinox would light the center of the altar and visitors are required to have a moment of silence since this is the exact time Corregidor and the Philippines fell into the hands of the Japanese.

Well thats my intellectual bit done. We had to get that bit over and done with so we could carry on with the fun.

We all of course appreciated all the intelligent stuff, but once we landed the boat on Corregidor Island and saw the Trams waiting for us to drive us around the Island, all we wanted to do was start posing for all our photos and have some fun. The island only being 4 miles long and 1.5 miles at its widest point doesn't take long to get around at all, pretty much around the Island in 10 minutes, if not less, even on these trams! Our tour guide Carlos was very good in giving us our tour and even threw in some jokes, which were even simple enough for me to understand, and told us about all the various points we visited on the island. Including the mile long barracks, which technically are less than a mile long. Malinta Tunnels, which were built under 300ft of limestone, which made it one of the most protective shelters in the second world war. We also visited many of the batteries and the various war memorial sites,including the Pacific War Memorial and Filipino Heroes Memorial. Not to mention the islands Lighthouse, with a beam range of 33 miles (53 km). It was first built by the Spaniards in 1836 and was replaced with a better one in 1853. The second lighthouse was destroyed during the siege of Corregidor and the one that stands now is on the same spot where the second lighthouse stood before. Still extremely high but not ideal to hold everyone up there and take photos as we found out trying to get everyone into one picture at the top! This was all done in a day including getting a fabulous lunch in the Islands one lonely hotel. Where we would be staying the night after our ghostly adventure in the evening. After settling our stuff in the hotel we had some free time to do what we wanted before our sunset tour in the evening, where we were driven up to one of the batteries and could see the sun set in the distance and wonder around the batteries in the dark, which were scary enough, without Andi pretending to be a ghost or something worse, jumping out on us from behind walls and out of corners. Then we headed back to the Malinta Tunnels for our ghost hunt through the old tunnels , some collapsed, others destroyed. Wandering around in the dark was ok, and after feeling totally stupid putting on a Japanese style bowler hat I was quite grateful after knocking my head on the low tunnels several times. We wandered about the tunnels for an hour or so before coming across bones and secret tunnels leading out to the beach, learning more about how everyone lived below the ground, and how it felt to be stranded in the dark, like they would have been 60 years earlier. That was the scariest part when the guide asked us all to turn our flashlights of an stand in the dark quietly. Some at first found it funny giggling their nervousness, but after a couple of minutes it was deadly silent and pitch black. Even your eyes couldn't adjust as there was just nothing to adjust to. After exploring this side of the tunnels we headed over to the hospital laterals, where there was a thousand hospital beds, which was meant to be the part most haunted, and it was here that we were meant to see the ghosts. But we must have been at the wrong time or the ghosts on vacation or something as the scariest thing we had was Andi! After our night tour we stopped at the Recreational Center and cleared the place our of dinner and drinks before starting a long night on Karaoke. i finally decided to give it a go and was so nervous, but the machine gave me a 96, but maybe that was because it was designed to give everyone a good score, lol, as I was so scared I couldn't have done well at all. Not compared to some of the others, like Nina and Yheleen and Lainee who did so well and sounded great. After Jay decided to buy a bottle of whiskey the night became a bit hazardous, trying to avoid, puddles of sick whilst getting everyone up to the hotel. But we managed it, and climbed into bed in the early hours about 2,3am. It just meant we wasn't too excited about getting up for the sunrise tour at 5.20am. Lol.

nomaden says:
watching the sunrise isn't that nice at all. i wasn't awed by its beauty because all i could think of is how to warm my chilled bones and how to held my eyes wide open to see everything around me.. twas a long night really.. hehehe.. had so much fun and yea, can't forget the black velvet because it was my first time to come across it. :D
Posted on: Jan 13, 2009
andiboi says:
..."as the scariest thing we had was Andi!"
Posted on: Aug 15, 2008
yheleen says:
hahaha.. we missed sunrise because of that but iwas surely a great day and night full of fun.. hmm, i can still remember the 'black velvet'.. :)
Posted on: Aug 07, 2008
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