Published: November 5th 2011August 21st 2010
Photo by : Janet
Being from the Leyte-Samar provinces, I am well aware of the annual Leyte Landing
celebration which commemorates the return of Gen. Douglas McArthur to the Philippines. Who isn’t familiar with the line “I Shall Return”? He is probably one of the most loved expat in our history books, and our fascination to the American culture may as well be associated to him. Whilst the Spanish brought the Roman Catholic faith, Americans on the other hand brought chocolates, McDonalds, Pepsi, pizza, the American English language, and our fascination to ‘state side’.
As it was a long weekend, we’ve decided to make a weekend trip to the Corregidor Island. I usually get seasick and the one hour ferry ride was the least of my favorite.
Back on its glorious days, Corregidor was a Military paradise with its own Golf Course, Tennis Courts, an Olympic Size swimming pool, a Supermarket, and a Cinema that features early previews, amongst others. The Filipino and American barracks were of different buildings. The cost of the infrastructure built in the island had been greater than the price the US paid to buy the island from Spain. The island was the second most bombed place during the Second
Photo by : Muy
World War when the Japanese was trying to take over. It sustained even greater damage when the Americans retrieved the island from the Japanese later on.
We were toured around the island on Tram buses which were made to look like the San Francisco Trams. I had goose bumps when our Tram started going up the hill on the way to the Malinta Tunnel
; the building ruins we passed by were reminders of a painful war. Inside the Malinta Tunnel was a light show which showcased the events during World War II and the evacuation of then President Manuel Quezon and Gen. Douglas McArthur. The tunnel served as Military Quarters, Hospital, function area, and gun storage. We toured the other parts of the tunnel later during the night where we experienced walking in total darkness, just like how the soldiers lived during the war when the island was being bombed by the Japanese. It was the place where wounded soldiers lie on hospital beds and on the ground waiting to be attended to or perhaps just waiting to die; it was the same tunnel where the Japanese soldiers killed themselves rather than submit to the Americans. The tunnel was
Photo by : Muy
supposed to be bombed proof but it sustained severe internal damage when the loosing Japanese decided to blow themselves up inside the tunnel rather than surrender to the Americans during the island retrieval offense.
Out at the Lanai after dinner and just a sudden brush of the cold evening breeze sent us running back inside the hotel screaming. Due to infamous Corregidor ghost stories, our minds were preconditioned to be petrified with such simple silliness. The rest of the night was spent playing cards.
Going back to the memories of war is pretty sad but somehow we were treated to a few good things, like the lovely Sunrise the next morning.
Now, the island serves as a military memorial to WWII.
It was a good time spent with friends but we all agree that the hotel food was seriously ridiculously pricey! We felt so deprived that when the ferry ducked at the Manila Bay the first thing we looked for was a sumptuous meal where we can eat all we want without thinking how much we will have to pay. Sun Cruises
provided our 2 days/1 night tour package around the island.
There are more photos below