Topside barracks Corregidor island panorama

Philippines: Corregidor Island tour

Date: May 12th 2014

I got up early and took a taxi to the Cultural Center of Philippines building. Today I was going to go to Corregidor island, used by US forces as a defense base and a key island in the Philippine battles against the Japanese in World War II.

Cultural Center of Philippines building Manila
This is the CCP building, close to Manila Bay
CCP complex road Manila
I got down behind the CCP building and walked towards the right
Sun cruise terminal Manila Philippines
Eventually you come across signs pointing to the Sun Cruises office. Although the ferry leaves at 8am, you are asked to ‘check in’ by 7am or so.

If you want to do a tour of Corregidor island, you really don’t have much choice besides going via Sun Cruises. They have a monopoly over the ferry service to Corregidor island and tours conducted there. I paid β‚±2200 (Rs.3000/$48/€38) for the day tour. I couldn’t find anything less from any other tour provider. You can get the fact sheet about the island here.

Sun Cruise cyclists Correigidor ferry
Sun Cruises offer cycle tours to Corregidor island too
Manila city from sea
We left the dock
Inside Sun Cruise ferry Correigidor tour
I took this photo before departure, but it was pretty full by the time we left
Cycles ferry view Manila city
The view of Manila skyline from sea
Corregidor island Bataan Philippines
30 minutes later, I could see Corregidor island in the distance

During WW2, Corregidor island was seized by Japanese forces and used it to house American and Filipino POWs.

Corregidor island docks Philippines
Corregidor island is now a preserved tourist attraction
Tranvia Correigidor island Philippines
For a tour around the island, we would be going in one of these train-like carriages, called a tranvia.
Corregidor island tranvia tour Philippines
Once we were assigned into groups, we boarded our respective tranvias
Corregidor island tour guide Philippines
She was our tour guide. Turns out, she’s part of the family that manages the trust looking after Corregidor island.
Corregidor island road seaside Philippines
As pretty as the views were, it was scorching hot!
Corregidor island uphill ride Philippines
Throughout the island journey, you go uphill and downhill quite a few times
Corregidor island beach Bataan view Philippines
Corregidor island has a few private beaches
Bataan island Philippines
Bataan in the distance
Manuel Quezon Memorial Park Corregidor island
Our first stop on the tour was at the Manuel Quezon Memorial Park. Manuel Quezon was the first Filipino president of the Philippines. (Philippines was a US colony)
Filipino war memorial Corregidor island Philippines
The Filipino Heroes Memorial is also situated here
Wall sculptures Corregidor island battles
They have murals honouring the sacrifice of Filipino soldiers throughout many battles
Quezon War Memorial Park Corregidor island Philippines
There’s a mini-museum housed inside the structure the flag pole rests on
Manuel Quezon museum Corregidor island
It housed some paintings, a collection of photos and other memorabilia
Manuel Quezon old photos Corregidor island
Many photos of Manuel Quezon and his family
Corregidor island soldier statue Philippines flag
I was back out again
Manuel Quezon Memorial Park Corregidor island Philippines
After 30 minutes, we were asked to return to our tranvia
Japanese memorabilia Corregidor island
Next stop on the tour was at the Japanese Peace Garden
Philippine peso during Japanese occupation
This was the currency used in Philippines during Japanese occupation
Shrine Japapnese Corregidor island Philippines
The Japanese Peace Garden has a shrine, and veterans and their families visit often to pay their tributes
Japanese Garden of Peace Corregidor island
I don’t know what this was
Cannon guns Corregidor island Philippines
Battle cannons
Sea islands near Corregidor island Philippines
Imagine warships heading this way
Walkway Japanese peace garden Corregidor island
I couldn’t roam around much
Japanese goddess garden of peace Corregidor island
We headed back to our tranvias
Back of Malinta tunnel Corregidor island
From there we were driven to Malinta tunnel
Malinta tunnel map Corregidor island
Malinta tunnel was the last stronghold of the joint Philippine and American military prior to the Japanese takeover
Tourists Malinta tunnel Corregidor island
We went in
Malinta tunnel statues Corregidor island
They have set up bronze statues depicting what life was like for soldiers and other staff stationed inside this tunnel
Offices Malinta tunnel Corregidor island
Offices
Fort Mills hospital Malinta tunnel Corregidor
The tunnel hospital
Hospital depiction statues Malinta tunnel
I can’t imagine what it must have been like to treat wounded soldiers in these conditions
Store room Malinta tunnel Corregidor island
A store room
Soldier Corregidor island Makinta tunnel
That guy is real. He was dressed in garb similar to what the soldiers stationed inside the tunnel used to wear.
Malinta tunnel gates Corregidor island
We cam out the other end. The tunnel is 254 metres long
Malinta tunnel history Corregidor island
Some facts about Malinta tunnel
Malinta tunnel Corregidor island Philippines
And that was that

From Malinta Tunnel, we moved down to the bottomside shore.

General MacArthur statue Corregidor island
General MacArthur’s statue with his supposed famous words promising to return from exile
Corregidor island Lorcha dock pier
The waters were tempting
Lorcha dock panorama Corregidor island
A panorama
Bottomside beach Corregidor island
Unfortunately we couldn’t lounge on these sands
Corregidor inn uphill
Because after leaving bottomside, we made our way uphill to go grab lunch
Corregidor inn hotel Philippines
We were going to be eating at the only hotel on the island, Corregidor Inn (http://www.corregidorphilippines.com/corr_inn.html)
Corregidor hotel rooms Philippines
Corregidor Inn even offers dormitory type accommodation
Corregidor hotel pine juice welcome drink
Loved this screwpine juice
Buffet lunch Corregidor Inn
It was a buffet lunch at the La Playa restaurant. On offer was: Chopsuey vegetables, fried chicken, roasted porkloin, seafood paella, spaghetti carbonara, salad, snacks and simple desserts.

You know what, usually on such day tour packages, the food most often sucks. But this was not the case here. It was pretty good! The buffet options weren’t vast but whatever was on offer was really well done. Sure I was hungry, but I can vouch for the taste.

Middleside barracks demolished Corregidor Philippines
After a satisfying lunch, we resumed our tour under the scorching sun.
Middleside barracks Corregidor island
These were the Middleside Barracks, quarters built in 1915 for the soldiers and staff stationed at Corregidor island… until it was bombed and demolished in 1941 by the Japanese
Middleside barracks American Corregidor island
Some parts of of the concrete buildings still stand

Every stop on the tour lasted 15 to 30 minutes.

Old large tree Corregidor island
From the Middleside Barracks to Battery Way
Battery way army Corregidor island
Battery Way is collection of 12-inch mortars
Inside battery way Corregidor island
Storage for artillery I guess
Battery Way guns Corregidor island
Big cannons… but we would see bigger ones
Battery way cannon Corregidor island
These mortars have been repainted

The tranvia then took us from Battery Way to a higher point facing the open seas.

Big cannon American army Corregidor Philippines
This is the biggest mortar cannon on Corregidor island
Massive mortar cannon Corregidor island
Needless to say this mortar had a very long firing range
Bullet marks shrapnel mortar Corregidor
Japanese warships would bomb this area; guessing these are shrapnel marks
Corregidor island tailend edge
From there we moved up to a viewpoint. From up here one gets to see the tailside of Corregidor. Corregidor island is shaped like a sperm or a tadpole.
Tailside Corregidor island Philippines
And that in the distance, beyond the island, is actually Manila
Malinta tunnel from above
Malinta tunnel from up here
Freedom torch monument Corregidor-island
Not too far from the viewpoint is the Pacific War Memorial. This is the Freedom Torch monument.
Pacific war memorial Corregidor island
The Pacific War Memorial was built by the Americans in 1968
Pacific War Memorial soldiers Corregidor island
It honours the American and Filipino soldiers and generals who fought the battles here
Pacific War Memorial dome Corregidor island
I walked towards the dome

Rotunda Pacific war memorial Corregidor

Pacific War memorial museum
There’s even a small museum inside the memorial
Carabao Corregidor island museum
They had some photos of what life was like on Corregidor island during World War 2. This is a carabao (water buffalo) that was used to carry supplies around.
Guns WW2 Corregidor island museum
Guns used in World War 2 battles
Pacific ocean World War map
The map depicting the Pacific battles
Mortars bombs grounds topside barracks
Back out of the museum, I walked towards the Topside Barracks
Topside barracks Corregidor island panorama
Not only was this the biggest barracks on Corregidor island, but at the time of completion, this was world’s longest barracks, stretching 463 metres long.
Destroyed topside barracks Corregidor island
The topside barracks, like everything else on the island, were destroyed in 1941 when the Japanese bombed the island
Open grounds Corregidor island
This is an open ground across from the Topside Barracks
Cine Corregidor theater Philippines
This was the only movie theatre on Corregidor island
Corregidor army theater Philippines
It’s hard to stand here and not imagine what was on screen regaling an audience in those days
Corregidor island lighthouse
The final stop on our island tour was at the Corregidor lighthouse
Corregidor lighthouse world cities distance Philippines
Distances to major world cities from Corregidor island
Corregidor lighthouse communications tower
I climbed to the top of the lighthouse. A modern day communications tower next door.
Bataan island from Corregidor
Bataan from up here

I went back down, hopped into my tranvia and we were driven back to our boats. The Corregidor island tour was over. We landed back in Manila just past 4pm and I soon got a jeepney going towards Vito Cruz station.

The Corregidor island tour is one of the more pricier tours I’ve down in South East Asia, and to be honest, it wasn’t the greatest for the price. Then again, the island and its history isn’t the most pleasant one. The guide told us a lot about the atrocities that took place on Corregidor island — under the Americans, the Japanese and even under the Philippines government post independence — none of which I mentioned because I suggest you hear it from the guides themselves. So if you like a bit of history, a visit to Corregidor is worth it. If not, save your money if all you are looking for is fun and excitement.

When in Manila, you really don’t have much to do in terms of tourist activities. So I guess that’s what really motivated me to go for this tour. Here’s hoping my reader enjoyed it.

Next post(s) in this series:

Philippines 2014: Manila Chinese Cemetery

Philippines 2014: Pahiyas Festival in Lucban; Kamay Ni Hesus

Previous post(s) in this series:

Philippines 2014: Bargain shopping in Manila; Paseo de Santa Rosa & Solenad

Philippines 2014: Japanese tunnel; leaving Davao for Manila

Philippines 2014: Scuba diving for the first time, at Samal Island (Davao)

Philippines 2014: Philippine Eagle Center, Davao

Philippines 2014: Attractions at Eden Nature Park… and getting lost

Philippines 2014: Sky Cycle at Eden Nature Park, Davao

Philippines 2014: Leaving Cebu for Davao; Davao City sights

Philippines 2014: Tumalog Falls; Oslob church, Cuartel

Philippines 2014: Oslob – Swimming with whale sharks

Philippines 2014: Trek to Mount Pinatubo crater lake

Philippines 2014: The itinerary this time around; UP Diliman and Maginhawa

My Philippines journeys: 2011 series | 2013 series

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5 Comments

  • Gale

    18/11/2014

    I wonder why they didn’t tell you about the Jabiddah massacre that happened in Corregidor in 1968. <http://thepinoyweekly.com/?p=3766
    Oh well, maybe because it's highly political.

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Nope, they did tell us about it.

  • Gale

    18/11/2014

    Really?! What did they say?

  • Reginald Tagavilla

    29/02/2016

    Enjoyed reading your blog. Keep up!

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Thanks Reginald, keep reading! πŸ™‚

Comments are closed.