Location: Manila Bay
Coordinates: 14°23′8″N 120°34′23″E
Area - Length: 6.5 km (4.04 mi)
Area - Width: 2.0 km (1.24 mi)
Highest Elevation: 589 ft (179.5 m)
Blogger Note: Corregidor Island has played a significant role for both Spanish and American regime as it served as a part of the naval defense for invaders of the Philippines. It has its strategic location being near the entry point of Manila Bay. It is one of the historical icons most particularly during the World War I where it houses the American and Filipino soldiers against the Japanese forces. Click here for more information
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As a backgrounder, the name Corregidor was derived from the Spanish word corregir meaning to correct or check as this island served as a check point for vessels entering Manila Bay during the Spanish and American occupation. It earned the name Guardian of Manila because of its strategic location at the mouth of Manila Bay which was once an island under relentless siege.
Corregidor Island lies from the depths of the aquamarine sea which gently rises like a tranquil emerald haven. The distance from its Topside to Bottomside is approximately three kilometers long. Its width is approximately five kilometers at its widest point. It has an elevation of 628 feet above sea level at Topside, its highest point, and 50 feet above sea level at Bottomside, its lowest point. It has Mariveles, Bataan on its north and the province of Cavite on its south.
This island is now a sacred tribute to the heroes who took part in its dramatic past. It is a veteran’s historic isle of remembrance. An eternal witness to the valiant heroism and chilling horrors of war. Now, only the gentle lapping of waves fill the silence and lush greenery veils victories and devastating defeats march on in the shattered ruins and noble relics.
You will really be poetic enough when you set foot on this Philippine island fortress and witness its beauty and splendor. We arrived on its port at 10:38 A.M. and we were accommodated by the tourist buses and registration followed. The first point we visited was the General Douglas MacArthur Park which has a statue of the General at Lorcha Dock ruins at the Bottomside of the island where he boarded the PT boat on March 11, 1942 for Mindanao and then to Australia where he sent his famous message of “I SHALL RETURN”. Then our tourist guide, brought us to the Corregidor Bird Park where the famous talking “Megastar Bird” was there and anybody can hold it for picture taking purposes.
Thirdly, we proceed to the remains of soldiers’ and officers’ quarters like the Mile-Long Barracks and Middleside Barracks and numerous artillery batteries such as the: Hearn, Crockett, Hamilton, Geary, Ramsay, Stockade, Cushing, Wheeler, Monja, Cheney, Sunset, Hanna, Rock Point, Smith, Grubbs, Way, James and Morrison are found. Fourthly, we visited the Pacific War Memorial Shrine which was completed in 1968 to honor Filipino and American soldiers who participated in World War II. It also houses a modest museum which contains numerous war artifacts, a documentary film projection room and a souvenir shop. The Eternal Flame of Freedom sculpture is within the same complex at Topside.
We had also a chance to experience the delight of the breathtaking view of Manila Bay, the South China Sea and a bird’s eye-view of the island from atop the lighthouse located on Topside, 628 feet above sea level. The original lighthouse was built in 1836 by the Spaniards. A bigger one was erected in 1897 but was destroyed during World War II. Then, we proceed to the Filipino-American Friendship Park which is a 2,000 square meters fully landscaped park, located at Middleside, with 10-foot statues of Filipino and American soldiers depicting their enduring friendship in times of war and in peace.
The next point was the Japanese Garden of Peace Park which is a 2.2 hectares area at Tailside where a 10-foot Jibo-Kannon stone buddha, Shinto Shrine, various Japanese soldier memorial shrines and anti-aircraft (AA) guns relics are erected. This is also a praying area for Japanese War Veterans and their relatives. And the most of all was the Malinta Tunnel experience. This tunnel was completed in 1922 and has a main tunnel at 835 feet long and 24 feet wide with 24 laterals branching out from it. Originally an arsenal and an underground hospital, its unique location beneath the Malinta Hill made it an ideal bomb-proof headquarters for embattled Filipinos and Americans and served as the seat of the Philippine Government under Pres. Manuel L. Quezon. Part of this was experiencing the thrills vividly-staged Light and Sound Show. It was scripted by National Artist and outstanding Filipino film director Lamberto Avellana, a show which reenacts the World War II’s dramatic events.
The last site we visited was the Corregidor Hotel at the Beach Resort Complex which houses a 31-room comfortable accomodations. We left the island through the North Dock Port boarding again the M/V Tennesse Walker at 1:45 P.M. where a sumptuous lunch was served for us. Though, we were still tired, most of us did not take a rest during the Manila Bay cruise as we enjoyed the Karaoke, watching TV and endless pictorials and most of all meeting new friends. We arrived in Manila Hotel at 5:18 P.M.