The ruins and the ruined.
Corregidor Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
I've been so excited to finally join this trip. Not only because Corregidor was a tourist attraction I so longed to visit but also because I was going out of town with virtual strangers. With a budget of Php 3000 for the tour, I didn't have to think twice. The difference between a one time meet up for me versus a weekend out of town is that most would have their best foot forward for the former and you get to know the people on a more intimate level on the latter.
This is exactly what happened to us on the Corregidor trip. Everyone was on a getting-to-know-you basis.
Energy was extremely high on the first day from the time we met up at Starbucks to the ferry ride.
Docking in Corregidor we boarded the cute replicas of the trams from the war, bus no. 5, with the highly amusing and fluent Carlos as our guide, who I totally fell in love with (metaphorically!) We were on a hectic itinerary from the time we set foot till the day ended. Non stop touring of the Mile long barracks that would sometimes make the hairs on my back stand, seeing all the damage brought about by the tons of bombing the island endured.
The Sounds and Lights show costing Php 150 was a great eye opener. Not that exciting to be honest but nonetheless interesting if you're a history freak. The bronze statues and voice overs trying desperately to give you a closer insight on the events of the war. With our famous broadcaster, Frankie Evangelista doing the voice of our former President Manuel L. Quezon, I'd say it wasn't so bad. I always get amazed when old age pictures are still preserved enough to get shot for a slideshow, though the quality was definitely not good, at least that was realistic.
Tons of batteries were viewed all around the island, all of which were repainted to preserve it I guess. I loved the part that Carlos threw the joke on a huge littered gun that lost its base, sharing that they've been trying to dispose of it for years to tourists as a souvenir but was obviously not very appealing. This he said could be creatively used by the women as pendants which got not a few guffaws and comments from our very wholesome group :p
We saw the disappearing guns which based on the explanation got its name from the direction of the bullets shot from it which my tired brain unfortunately could not digest at that time.
I liked the experience of going up the 56 steps of the lighthouse with my blood vessels on the verge of popping and me hyperventilating from my childhood fear of heights. The size of the steps are not so friendly though so better be careful lest you see yourself joining the Corregidor spirits in the future.
The effort of trying to get pictures and looking alive in the others was hilarious! A trait I love about Filipinos! As an example we decided to have our pictures taken at the lighthouse deck which was a narrow one-way metal floored path, how adventurous can you get!
We got our long anticipated rest for about 2 hours in the afternoon. Enjoying our time bonding while swimming at the beach and playing volleyball. What's really nice about the island is that it's so deserted so you can be as crazy and natural as you want to be without getting public attention.
I took the overnight tour with 14 other Travel Buddies so I could partake of the sunset and sunrise tours (ideally!). The sunset tour involved going around another battery and the old hospital tour (which was the creepiest of all!) which supossedly had a cross design for its head. I didn't have the uncanny ability to see spirits but this place definitely gave me the creeps! Seeing all the graffitti again with the dates marking them, yikes, I could almost imagine myself in the actual scene! Feeling compassionate yet scared of what the soldiers endured during this era.
We then had to wait for the sun to set at a high part of the island. With the group's comedians keeping us entertained we were able to patiently wait for the majestic sun to set, a sight to really look forward to.
The buffet lunch we had did not last us long, though excited to wolf down our dinner, we still had to take the 1 hour tour around the tunnels.
We went through the same entrance in the lights and sounds show but went through the sub-lateral tunnels in greater detail. Armed with our Japanese soldier and hard hats (which I got allergies from as I think the Japanese smell was too fresh and realistic!) and our flashlights, a group of over 40 started exploring.
We got to experience the view of the huge limestones, bombed to create the tunnels, and concrete floors that had secret hideouts underneath. We had to be careful what with the all the huge steelbars protruding left and right and the rocky path as an after effect again of the heavy bombing.
The regional accent of our tour guide this time was highly amusing (right Andy?!) but made his dry jokes fall on deaf ears most of the time (at least for me!)
Finally we got dinner close to 9pm and then decided to enjoy the karaoke.
As expected, only one of us, our courageous Dennie was able to bear getting up for the sunrise tour, as I heard she got to experience the Japanese tunnels and trekking up to the highest point of Corregidor to see the sunrise, that must have been definitely something.
Breakfast was just spent on reminiscing the embarassing moments of the evening and deciding on our next course of action. The Travbuddy's used up the rest of the morning taking another dip at the beach, chatting, reading stuff or getting sentimental MTV shots.
The boat trip back was more endurable for me, I no longer needed ammonia, I had the company of Foyan, Josh, Andi and Laineey. Separation anxiety was evident, upon bidding farewell to the island almost everyone still had a really late lunch together at Tokyo Cafe at Mall of Asia. After which some still continued on to watch the Dark Knight.
Every trip for me is memorable. You may or may not see the same people again but keeping in touch with them across the globe on at least one event would definitely last you a lifetime.