The fortress island of Corregidor is one of the most historic and interesting tourist destinations in the country these days. Due to its strategic location (along the entrance to Manila Bay and just about three kilometers from the province of Bataan), Corregidor had served as a site where ships entering Manila would first stop by for inspection.
During the turbulent times in local military history, Corregidor Island had also stood as a crucial defense site. During World War II, the rocky island was at the frontline in the invasion and liberation of the country from Japanese forces. It was fortified to be the mini-United States during the American colonial period. Thus, Corregidor served as a temporary center of the Philippine Commonwealth Government during the war. It was the last American territory in the country to be given up during the Japanese occupation in 1942 when the island was heavily destroyed by a series of bombings—resulting in the ruins that we see up to this day.
Corregidor is a tadpole-shaped island with a total land area of around 900 hectares. Though it is physically close to Bataan, the island is under the jurisdiction of Cavite City.
Tech and Lifestyle Journal was invited by Power Mac Center to join its iPhone photography workshop and photo walk in Corregidor Island on February 29 and March 1—several days before the entire Luzon island was placed in a community quarantine amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The premier distributor of Apple products collaborated with Sun Cruises to make the tour worthwhile and tapped filmmaker and photographer JC Gellidon to facilitate the iPhone photography workshop.
The two-day tour was part of Power Mac Center’s Project Bayani campaign, which will culminate in the announcement of winners of an online photo contest for iPhone users in the Philippines. Some of the best photos that are #ShotOnIphone by the photowalk participants will also be exhibited in a gallery to be organized at The Podium. Meanwhile, here are some of the Shot On iPhone photos by the author.
This is the first sight that welcomes visitors to the island.
The main dock as viewed from a hill
The ferry and the bus–Corregidor is 2 hours of ferry ride from Esplanade Seaside Terminal in Pasay City. This dock is about 3 minutes away from Corregidor Inn.
South Dock view
One of the island’s docks facilitates a good view of Bataan.
The southern coast of Bataan is just a little more than 3 kilometers away.
The 31-room Corregidor Inn is the only hotel-restaurant on the island. The quaint accommodation is actually an old edifice comfortably sitting on top of a hill, situated right at the heart of the historic island.
Mindanao Garden of Peace
The Mindanao Garden of Peace is a historical landmark built in recognition of the suffering that some Muslim Filipinos went through during the supposed Jabidah massacre in the late 1960s (during the time of the late former President Ferdinand Marcos). Based on reports, the young military recruits were being trained for a planned covert operation to takeover Sabah, but were allegedly eliminated by government forces in Corregidor when the occupation plan was aborted.
Filipino Heroes’ Memorial
The Filipino Heroes’ Memorial was inaugurated in August 1992. The design was by Francisco Mañosa. The area has up to 14 murals that depict heroic battles fought by Filipino heroes from the Spanish era up to modern times.
The statue of Commonwealth of the Philippines President Manuel L. Quezon stands mightily at the front of the memorial. He was the country’s leader from 1935 to 1944 (until he succumbed to tuberculosis in the U.S.).
Japanese Garden of Peace
The Japanese Garden of Peace is a memorial developed by the Japanese Government to remember the Japanese soldiers who died on the island during the war.
The statue of the Japanese Goddess of Mercy was erected in 1994 to honor Filipino and Japanese soldiers who fought during World War II. It also symbolizes the friendship between the Philippines and Japan as well as the continuous hope for world peace.
A mortar is a military weapon typical in the early 20th century used to defend a harbor from any seaborne attack.
There are several of these mortars in over 20 batteries scattered throughout the island.
The Malinta Tunnel was built by the Americans to serve as a bomb-proof storage and bunker for personnel.
The underground tunnel stretches 831 feet from east to west beneath Malinta Hill.
Japanese soldiers reportedly committed suicide by detonating explosives within the Malinta Tunnel in February 1945, resulting in collapsed laterals.
Most of the laterals inside the tunnel serve as areas for visual presentations, depicting some historic events and characters from the wartime period.
A statue of President Manuel L. Quezon in one of the laterals
Military barracks and offices
Military facilities and offices were strategically connected by paved roads, which were reconstructed after the war.
Ruins of a barracks. The roofs served as catch basins for rainwater, which is redirected to a nearby dam, supplying potable water on the island.
Ruins of a military quarters near the old hospital
Topside Barracks near the moviehouse
Topside Barracks is also known as Mile-long Barracks, though it actually did not stretch as long as a mile.
Gen. MacArthur’s office is also near the movie house and a housing area for high-ranking officials.
The main entrance of what used to be a hospital for American soldiers
The hospital was constructed in 1903 in the shape of a cross, following the warfare rules of the Geneva Conventions. When the Japanese troops bombed it in December 1941, all patients were relocated to the 1,000-bed makeshift hospital inside Malinta tunnel.
The hospital was among the most damaged structures in Corregidor island during the war.
The Corregidor lighthouse was first lit in 1853. It was heavily damaged during the war but was reconstructed in the 1950s.
Because of its strategic location, Corregidor serves as a site of a radar station of the Philippine Ports Authority’s Vessel Traffic Monitoring System.
This interesting post in front of the Lighthouse indicates the directions of key global cities as well as their distance from the site.
Cine Corregidor was the only movie house in the island.
The old theater facilitated major film screenings and movie premieres. Among the most notable of those old Hollywood movies that were screened in the theater was ‘Gone with the Wind.’
The Pacific War Memorial
The $3 million (P150 million) Pacific War Memorial was built by the U.S. Government and completed in 1968.
The memorial honors American and Filipino soldiers who fought in World War II in the 1940s.
The Pacific War Memorial Museum showcases old photos, gas masks, medals, guns, swords, and other items that were recovered on the island after World War II.
San Jose Chapel
San Jose Chapel was the center of worship among villagers on the island during the pre-war times. It is a few minutes away from the back of Corregidor Inn.
Sunsets are magnificent when observed on the island’s highest point.
“I shall return.”
The monument of General Douglas MacArthur stands near one of the docks.
Simply breathtaking, isn’t it?