Relearning History at Corregidor

As a student, History was never my favorite subject. Mostly because it means having to memorize names, dates and places but also because it usually talks about war and bloodshed. As I grew up though, I slowly understood its importance. We would never have this freedom if not for the Filipino heroes who fought for it.

Thanks to Deal Grocer’s promo, the hubby and I had the chance to re-learn History and better understand it. Maybe we even learned more than we did in school thanks to the informative tour guides that we had when we went to Corregidor Island for an overnight stay at Corregidor Inn. And we definitely enjoyed our stay here.

Deal Grocer Package is inclusive of:

  • Overnight Stay for 2 in Corregidor Inn, round-trip ferry transfers for 2
  • Guided island tour and Night Lateral Tour for 2
  • Choice of one activity: Zipline, 30-minute use of ATV or Kayaking
  • Buffet lunch for 2 on Day 1 and plated breakfast for 2 on Day 2
  • All taxes and surcharges (including fuel surcharge)

We scheduled our trip for November 23 and 24 since most of the weekend schedules beforehand were already full. We were thankfully blessed with good weather that day. I got a text from Sun Cruises a couple of days before our trip to advise us to arrive from 6:30-7:30AM. We actually arrived earlier than that and we were the first ones at the dock. There’s an eatery near their office where we had breakfast since no breakfast will be served during our trip. As you register, you will be given stickers with your seat numbers at the ferry and the bus number of the tour you will be joining. We were told that they have around 10 buses available and I think each bus can accommodate around 35 people at a time.

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The buses are cute and are very touristy. I think each bus has a different route (or maybe two at the same route at most). They do this so that not everyone will be on the same spot at the same time. Otherwise, it will be a bit chaotic to organize people and of course, to take photos.

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I think you guys know by now that taking photos during a trip specially while on tour is not my forte. I actually don’t like taking much photos because I’d rather take everything in rather than be busy with cameras and gadgets. I found it annoying that almost everyone on the bus kept pointing their tablets, iphones and DSLR cameras at every direction that the tour guide points at and blocking my view. I mean, they would give us time to go down and take photos anyway, why can’t you people wait and take in what the tour guide is saying? Anyhoo, on with the tour…

Corregidor Island is one of the most historic places in the Philippines. It is “an island located at the entrance of Manila Bay in southwestern part of Luzon Island in the Philippines. Due to this location, Corregidor was fortified with several coastal artillery and ammunition magazines to defend the entrance of Manila Bay and the City of Manilafrom attacks by enemy warships in the event of war.” “During World War II, Corregidor played an important role during the invasion and liberation of the Philippines from Japanese forces. Heavily bombarded in the latter part of the war, the ruins left on the island serve as a military memorial to American, Filipino and Japanese soldiers who served or lost their lives on the island.” – From Wikipedia

Our first stop was the Ruins… I call it a “beautiful destruction”. You can still see bomb craters around the area and there are still marks of the train tracks that they used to use back in the day. Some of the walls even have the original paint.  I imagine it would be a really nice location for a photo shoot. We noticed some goats inside the ruins. “Goats” not “ghosts”. 😉 I think I even saw a stray cat at the upper floors.

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Next stop was “Battery Way”. Apparently, they call places where they store ammunition a “Battery”.

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We were taken to other locations where you can find mortars and big canons like these. The tour guide mentioned a lot of interesting facts about the sites but of course, I didn’t take notes. 😛

Bomb crater

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They then let us roam around the area where you can find murals, a big dome, a museum and the Mile-Long Barracks.

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We met back at the bus and then went to the light house. I can’t remember how many steps there were but the hubby and I both pulled our hamstrings because of it. We didn’t stay too long at the top. The hubby is afraid of heights so we went back down in just under 5 minutes.

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The last stop before lunch was the memorial for Mac Arthur and there’s a docking area right near it. There were a lot of trash at the dock and there were a LOT of slippers.

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Lunch was served at the Corregidor Inn. It’s the only inn available at Corregidor Island and I believe is managed by Sun Cruises. From what I remember, they also have a resort near the beach area where guests can stay. And if you want to go camping, you can bring your own tents and they can arrange a bonfire for you.

Our package includes a buffet lunch. The menu that day was cream of corn soup, salad, seafood paella, pancit guisado, chopsuey, pork estofado, fried fish, watermelons and biko. The welcome drink was Screw Pine Juice which tasted like buko pandan.

I forgot the name of the place where we were taken next, but it has murals and paintings depicting the war. The paintings are a bit morbid. They show how the Japanese raped the Filipino women (known as comfort women) at the time, how they killed innocent people including babies with their bayonets. I remember thinking how awkward it must feel to show these to Japanese tourists and explaining them. There was a group of Japanese tourists both Saturday and Sunday and I imagine that it’s a common crowd for them on weekends.

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Then, we went to the Japanese memorial garden that has been built for the Japanese soldiers who perished in the war. We were told that only a handful of bodies were retrieved. They were cremated and sent back to Japan. The tour guide also mentioned that there were a lot of protests against having this memorial garden.

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Last stop for the day tour was the Malinta Tunnel. It is “a tunnel complex built by the United States Army Corps of Engineers on the island of Corregidor in the Philippines.” – From Wikipedia

They have put up a lights and sound show for the tourists inside the Malinta Tunnel. It wasn’t included in our package and we had to pay 200php each. I would say that the show itself was not worth 200php but we were told that it goes to a foundation or group that facilitates Corregidor so it was for a good cause.

It was very dark inside the tunnel. They have put up speakers and the opening of some of the laterals were transformed by adding projectors and screens as well as statues to explain the history and what has transpired during WWII. It was quite entertaining but as usual, guests kept on poking their freaking gadgets in front to take photos and it was very distracting. Taking videos is not allowed but I saw a video available in Youtube when I Googled Malinta Tunnel.

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Day tour tourists will then be taken back to the dock to board the ferry back to Manila which leaves at 2:30PM. On the other hand, overnight guests are taken to Corregidor Inn to check-in.

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Checking in at the inn took a while. There were a lot of guests trying to get room keys and there was only one receptionist. While waiting for the receptionist to finish, the night activities’ tour guide, Kuya Edward, explained a bit of what we should expect for the night tour. He was very funny and entertaining and when he said that he’ll be leading the tour that night, I could tell that we were in for a fun activity. 🙂

Our room was pretty standard, a double bed, a vanity desk, T&B and air condition. The heater for the shower took a while to figure out and the water doesn’t even get hot enough for our taste but it was alright.

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After resting a bit, we decided to get some snacks (merienda) since I didn’t really get to eat a lot for lunch. The restaurant was still open but they were already cleaning up. There wasn’t a lot of choices in the menu as well. 😦 We found out later on that there were other places to eat aside from the La Playa restaurant of the Inn but it was too late for us by then.

I got myself a clubhouse sandwich while Jay ordered a chicken pesto sandwich. It was very so-so but I give extra points since they put really thick slices of cheese. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to take a photo. Sorry.

We had this for room service. Potato Garlic Chowder which was disappointing as I thought it was more of a garlic soup. I did not taste the potato at all. We also ordered for a Fresh Fruit Platter but we were only given slices of watermelon which was another disappointment. Upon check out, we learned that sent us ‘Sliced Fruit in Season’ instead.

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From here on, there wasn’t a lot of photos either. I took my camera with us but the tour was pretty fast-paced and it was dark so taking photos would have had to take time which we didn’t have. So let me bore you with my stories instead.

The night activity starts at 5PM and I could say that this was my favorite part of the tour. We met at the lobby and were led to another bus. There were three buses in total for the night tour. We were first taken to Battery Grubbs for sunset viewing but it was really cloudy that day and we didn’t get to see the sun set. 😦

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Next stop was the Hospital. This was so creepy. The hospital was shaped as a cross and it got bombed during the war. The whole place was pretty much in ruins. It was already dark at the time which gave it an extra creepy factor. Some of us went inside and it was really scary. The hubby and I didn’t get to have any flashlights and it was so hard to see inside. The stairs are of course pretty much in shambles so we couldn’t use the stairs all at once.

I guess during the war, there is an unwritten rule somewhere that says, you shouldn’t bomb a hospital. However, the Japanese dropped more than 16000 bombshells at the time and because of the wind, it was inevitable for the hospital to get hit whether they meant to do it or not. 😦

Last stop for the evening was the Malinta Tunnel. Yes, we went back to Malinta Tunnel but this time not for the show but to do some actual exploration inside the laterals. Kuya Edward told us a lot of stories about the Malinta Tunnel. When we got to the Quartermaster Area (which is where they stored the food), Kuya Edward asked us to close off ALL lights. He said that every time they took psychics (or ghost hunters) at that area, they were told that there were a lot of spirits or ghosts there. So we turned off all of the lights for about 30 seconds and observed silence to see if we would encounter anything supernatural. This was really creepy. We couldn’t see a thing and it was eerily quiet.

We did the same thing at the Thousand-Bed Hospital inside the tunnel. After the main hospital in the island was bombed, they used parts of the Malinta Tunnel as a hospital. We were divided into three groups and were asked to turn off all the lights again and then walk down a tunnel. They wanted us to experience what it was like for the soldiers, doctors and nurses at the time. During the war, as bombs were exploding around the island, there was no electricity, no lights inside. Walking down the tunnel was really hard but of course there were annoying guests who did not know how to follow instructions and kept turning on their lights every once in a while during the walk. Sigh…

Anyways, that pretty much ended our tour. Kuya Edward told us more stories about the war including Hiroo Onoda. He was a Japanese soldier that went into hiding during the war and stayed in hiding 29 years after the war. He only surrendered in 1974 and returned back to Japan as a somewhat celebrity.

There were morning activities the next day which is basically the sunrise viewing and another tour about a Japanese tunnel but because of all the tours we had, we were too tired and didn’t get to join the tour which starts at 5:15 AM. 😦

The package also included an activity. We had the choice of zip line, kayak and ATV (30 minutes). The hubby and I chose the ATV since it seems to be the easiest to do and we didn’t have any plans to go swimming. There were only four ATVs available and we were lucky that we didn’t have to wait too long since we got in line as soon as we finished breakfast. It was the first time I ever tried the ATV and it was really fun. I want to buy one for myself. XD

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We walked around the beach for a while and then the dock. The sun was really high that day and it was so hot…

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Our trip was really nice and fun. We got to look back and re-learn History, visit all these historical sites, go ghost hunting and even try the ATV. I would love to repeat this experience again with friends and family. 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Relearning History at Corregidor

  1. Pingback: Suggested Prenup Locations / Venues in the Philippines | randomlittlemusings

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