Looking at World War II with Travbuddies
Corregidor Island Travel Blog› entry 37 of 42 › view all entries
Before leaving the meet up a couple of days ago we had all got very specific instructions to make sure we would get to Starbucks in time for the trip to Corregidor this morning. I had my doubts if everybody would make it in time after I saw the timeliness people showed at the meet up dinner - but hey let us give it all the benefit of the doubt.
Well I get down to Harbour Square a bit before we were supposed to meet - just walking past all the people outside doing some sort of outdoor exercises.
And of course not all have actually arrived at time but we are only missing a few - and the ferry will wait. Hmm I wonder if the ferry is actually waiting for us or if Josh just told us to get there 2 hours before departure because he expected people to be late - which would be a reasonable assumption.
We get onboard the boat - and one more amazing thing occurs - there is virtually no waives today the Manila Bay is completely flat - and still some of the Filipinos’ reach for the barf bags just in case.
Midway during the trip one of the older guides start to tell about the history of Corregidor Island. It play a very significant role during Spanish reign and later during World War II as the place where the allies made their last stand - and later the Japanese also made a last stand on the fortress island. The guide is not a big fan of Travbuddies because he finds them a bit loud when he is trying to give information to the passengers on the boat.
We get off at the pier and go in on some buses - we share a bus with another group and soon take up the front seat of the bus and we are off to the different sights on the island.
I guess his attitude is part of the reason Europeans may look at MacArthur with some mixed feeling. Given he was the man who more than anybody else pushed for the Victory Japan more than the Victory Europe strategy - even though Roosevelt and Churchill had decided the victory in Europe was the main target. Later he pushed for using nukes against the Chinese during the war in Korea.
The guide on our bus was not too happy at our first stop.
We continue our trip around the island to visit the different batteries used during the time as a fortress island. And we stop at a spot with a model of the island - and when you look at the island it got some resemblances of a sperm cell - not sure if it got any relation to anything.
Then just as the last stop before lunch we did a stop at the Malinta tunnel. The tour of this place was not included in the tour - but the price was 150 peso and the alternative was to stay outside in the bus in the mid day heath without doing anything.
There is a sound and light show inside the tunnel with some effect telling the story of the life on the island during the Japanese attacks in 1942. After the tunnel we are off to the lunch stop and it is a nice little buffet lunch.
After lunch we leave for the part of the island we did not get to see before lunch. We go to the high parts of the island and see the different big barracks used by the Americans before they we kick out. We see the giant topside barracks which today is a simple ruin. Then off to the monument for the war in the Pacific and the liberation of the Philippines. The central piece of this monument is a big building with a dome. The dome got a hole inside letting the sunlight reach the floor.
There are several plaques telling a bit about where the main battles took place and next to the monument is a museum - which attracted a lot of attention from many Travbuddies. I shall not be the judge about whether or not the fact that the museum had aircon had something to do with the interest in the exhibition.
After leaving the cool air in the museum we head for a lighthouse to get the view around the island from the top of it. And there is a great view around the island from the top. Of course we exceed the limited for how many people there is allowed to be up at the top viewing platform at the top.
The last stop on the tour is at one of the big batteries with giant guns. But these guns were put at their place before the introduction of the airplane. Hence they were well defended against attacks by ships - but had no protections against an aerial attack. Hence they could be easily attack during the war because of the use of airplanes.
After the last stop we go to the hotel and most people go of the bus to check in at the hotel - me I only went to Corregidor for the day because I wanted to go for a few last dives in the Philippines the next days. Hence I say goodbye to some newfound friends and go back to the ferry to go to the main land. When I hear they have planned to go swimming I think I may have made the right choice - after all the water around Corregidor is the same as the water in Manila Bay and that can’t in any way be good for your health to go swimming in that water.