17
Nov 14

Philippines 2014: 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 ₱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 up: Manila Chinese Cemetery.

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


02
Nov 14

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

Date: May 10th 2014

Being really hot during the day, I decided to step out only at around 2pm.

Cheese flavour KFC rice meal

I began my outing by having a KFC lunch. The outlet I sat at had cheddar cheese coated KFC. It was bleh! It’s basically the same artificial coating you find on cheese balls crisps but now on KFC. The meal cost ₱99.

Ladies train MRT Manila

I then went to Ayala to withdraw some money from Citibank branch there

After withdrawing some money, I walked around the area (very posh, mind you). Lots of malls and office buildings.

Asian Institute of Management Manila

Asian Institute of Management — it’s one of the top-ranked B-schools in Asia

Comic Sale Central Greenbelt mall Manila

I entered Greenbelt 5 mall, which is just one of many malls under the Greenbelt name in the area

Greenbelt mall Makati Manila

This is Greenbelt 3, the posh mall with all the really high-end brands

Naruto t-shirts Robinsons Manila

I spent some time at the SM department store picking up some t-shirts for my younger brother. SM has official merchandise from popular anime like Naruto, One Piece and other cartoons. Pretty cheap too, t-shirts can be found ranging from ₱99 all the way up to ₱399.

After that, I went to Carriedo (LRT station) where SM has a clearance mall

SM Clearance mall Carriedo Manila

I had seen this building from taking the LRT, figured I would check it out

I found some great bargains inside. Besides a bunch of in-store brands by SM, they had a few name brands and foreign brands in short supply (maybe export rejects). None the less, I found H&M cargo shorts for ₱400. Definitely export-reject-worthy Rip Curl swimming shorts for ₱200. And then some bermuda shorts for like ₱100 each. Not everything was cheap, but then again, coming from India, I wasn’t planning on buying many clothes from Philippines anyway.

One thing I found funny was just how many sales persons are there to sell you socks. Like, super-aggressive when it comes to shoving socks in your face. Think perfume sales people offering a spray to get you talking to them — but a lot more of them selling packs of socks! High margin socks I presume? :D

Carriedo street market Manila

Outside, Carriedo is home to a rather large street market

Continue reading “Philippines 2014: Bargain shopping in Manila; Paseo de Santa Rosa & Solenad” »


14
Oct 14

Philippines 2014: Japanese tunnel; leaving Davao for Manila

Date: May 7, 2014

Today was my last day in Davao. I checked out early from Green Windows Dormitel because instead of heading straight to the airport, I instead decided to carry all my bags, take a taxi and visit the Japanese World War II tunnel in Davao.

The tunnel is now situated inside a resort that goes by the name of D’Japanese Tunnel Family Resort. Like every attraction in Davao, it’s a bit of a drive away from the city.

Davao island highway Philippines

As the taxi kept on riding for around half an hour, I wondered if I would be late for my flight as the Japanese Tunnel is not in the same direction as the airport.

Once I reached D’Japanese Tunnel Family Resort, the entrance to the tunnel was pretty much visible from the gate. It’s basically a resort built around the tunnel. I went to the resort’s eception desk and bought the entry ticket for the Japanese tunnel. It costs ₱50 for adults, ₱20 for children.

D' Japanese tunnel entrance Davao

This is the entrance, the reception was to the right.

Entering Japanese war tunnel Davao

There is a guide that comes along with you

Japanese tunnel Davao Philippines

This tunnel was built in 1942, during World War II, when the Japanese had captured Davao and used the island in its fight to capture the remaining Pacific islands.

Japanese world war tunnel Davao

It’s 300 metres long

Jail cell Japanese tunnel Davao

The tunnel was used by Japanese soldiers during the war as an underground base. This is a mini-shrine, a prayer area of sorts

Soldier statues Japanese tunnel Davao Philippines

And this is how a Japanese soldier used to look like in those days

Prison cell Japanese tunnel Davao

A mini-prison cell. This is where they would sometimes keep prisoners of war. Yeah, it wasn’t meant to be comfortable.

Japanese World War 2 tunnel Davao Philippines

We proceeded further, and it got cooler

Continue reading “Philippines 2014: Japanese tunnel; leaving Davao for Manila” »

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