Saturday, October 24, 2009

Corregidor: A Correct (if Not Perfect!) Destination

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Corregidor comes from the Spanish word "corregir" meaning to correct. But while there are so many things to correct, that hopefully may change the course of history and avoid the outbreak of the Pacific War, I cannot think of any other room for improvements as regards the way the tour is organized by Sun Cruises. It is simply perfect from the ticketing, ferry transfers, bus guided tour and buffet lunch! It is for this reason that I took the Day Tour to Corregidor twice to date and still see myself bringing my other friends in this beautiful tadpole - shaped island in the future.

Last January 2008, my prince and I took the Corregidor Day Tour. It was my first time there since college days. Although the World War II took place more than 60 years ago, I could still hear the thunderous roar of the guns especially during the 30-minute light-and-sound show at the Malinta Tunnel.

Yesterday's visit of Corregidor with my mission mate Darin Humphreys and bumping into Church Office friends, President Amistad of the Church Educational System with his wife Laura and CES Director from Salt Lake City, Bro. Joseph Monsoon, reverberated the same thunderous roar of guns during this whole new adventure in the island.

Malinta Tunnel

The 30-minute light-and-sound show written and directed by National Artist Lamberto V. Avellana as his final tribute to Valor, Peace and International Understanding, chronicles the significance of the place as it served as center of American operations during World War II. Inside the tunnel, former President Manuel L. Quezon and Vice President Sergio Osmena (the school with his name sake is my alma mater!)took their oath on December 30, 1941 to begin their second term in office. The tunnel has several laterals which was converted into a hospital, arsenal and fuel reservoir where thousands of Filipinos, American and Japanese died.

Mile Long Barracks

This barracks is a 1,520 feet and served as quarters of some 2,000 U.S officials including General DOuglas Mac Arthur.

Pacific War Memorial

The Pacific War Memorial is the monument that you can see from a distance from the dome I was sitting on. Yea, this one is a no-no picture and I should correct it next time. I totally forgot that it is "bawal" to sit on the dome. I saw the sign after the picture was taken (ouchhh). The Pacific War Memorial located at the highest point of the island is the one of the only two memorials built by the US government to mark the war, the other is at Pearl Harbor.

Spanish Light House

In 1836 the lighthouse (which according to my friend Darin was so heavy) was built. It was replaced in 1897 and the remainder was used until the outbreak of Pacific War. This lighthouse was used to be a checkpoint, which alerts Manila of an approaching galleon. Atop the lighthouse (I am there with Sister Laura Amistad), we had a magnificent view of the Manila Bay, the South China Sea and the whole island.

Batteries (Battery Way, Battery Geary,Battery Hearns & Battery Crocket

The Americans built a total of 20 batteries and are distributed in different parts of the islands. Battery Way is armed with four 12-inch mortars that can fire in any direction, Battery Hearn's seacoast gun is the longest, Battery Geary has the most effective guns and Battery Crocket has two 12-inch gun that disappear behind a parapet.

Filipino Heroes Memorial
In this landmark you can see the 14 murals by sculptor Manuel Casal. The murals depict some of the country's historic battles from the Battle of Mactan in 1521 to the EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986.

With a funny guide Bobby Fulcher (also known as Bobby Fisher) who by the way was the same tour guide we had last year, I will always look forward to visiting Corregidor and to me the same is the most perfect destination for a hassle - free tour for an educational experience amidst the luscious green hills and pristine blue waters.

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