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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Of Bombs,Big Guns and Lost Gold: The CORREGIDOR ISLAND WALKING TOUR

Until now,the only option you have if you want to go to Corregidor Island is to avail of the tour package of Sun Cruises as they are the one who manage the Island.Meaning,they also have the only cruise line which has daily trips to the island.And the only tour they offer is the tram tour.It's nice to know therefore that starting February,people will have another option---a WALKING TOUR OF CORREGIDOR offered by Old Manila Walks.

As the name implies,it entails a walk around the Island on a tour like no other.For those who have been to Corregidor,this is what I call "looking at the historic place in another angle".As a first-timer,I was very lucky to have been invited to join the first ever media tour.After it,I could say that I have a concrete background on the colorful and turbulent history of this once American defense fortress off Manila Bay.

Thanks to the witty and fun narration of Ivan Man Dy of Old Manila walks,I hardly noticed being exhausted by the walk.What took place was an enlightening tour of this historic island.

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Of Bombs,Big Guns and Lost Gold
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FACTS ABOUT CORREGIDOR:


Corregidor is a fortified island in Manila Bay under the jurisdiction of Cavite City."The Rock"  , it divides the entrance to Manila Bay into the North and South Channel making it a good defence for invading Japanese Warships during World War II.


It is a tadpole-shaped island of about 6.5 km  long and 2.0 km wide with a total land area of about 900 hectares (2,200 acres). The highest elevation is at 589 ft on the Topside.The island is divided into four sections:

Topside
Middleside
Bottomside
Tailside


WAY TO THE ISLAND:
Approximate Sea Travel via Sun Cruises: 2 hours 

 Sun_Cruises to Corregidor
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At the port,


SET OFF POINT of the WALKING TOUR:
Old Spanish Lighthouse

We started out at the Spanish Square.A fitting start to the Walking Tour as it is where the oldest structure in the Island is located ----the Spanish Lighthouse.
Spanish lighthouse Corregidor
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From there we walked down to an area where many of the American Soldiers quarters are located.This is what Ivan refers to as the "Mount Olympus" of Corregidor where quarters of Military Officers of the American forces were.Take note,non-ranking soldiers have quarter down the hill.It's interesting to note that there are separate quarters for Officers who are married and those who are single.We were also pointed to ruined structures with their chimneys still prominent.
 
The Americans tried to simulate every possible lifestyle they had in mainland US during that time.Makes sense,why would houses in a tropical island have chimneys anyway?Between the military officers quarters is the cinema where soldiers could watch movies.The movie culture of Americans is indeed a thing that fascinates me.

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We were also pointed to the mast of a Spanish Naval ship sank by the Yankees druing the Spanish-American War for which the Spanish defeat meant the end of more than 300 years of colonization of the Philippines and therefore marking the entry of the new colonizer---America.As if a trophy,they got one of the mast of the ship and used it as a flagpole.

Beyond the Cinema is the famous Mile Long Baracks.Seeing it up close and personal fascinated me.The monotonous building damaged by the bombings of World War II is a thing to marvel at.

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After the group pic at the Mile Long Baracks came the long walk down the hill.The destination,one of the most famous among the Artillery Batteries There are many of these Batteries scattered in the island.They were the main line of defence against the invading battleships of Japan.I thought those large guns (or shall I say canyons) were meant to stop raiding Japanese warplanes during the war.It was only during the tour when I learned that they were meant for warships and not planes.According to our guide,they were never intended to take down warplanes.

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 Battery Way

When they were made,the Americans never thought Japan would attack using war planes.While at Battery Way,I tried to imagine the time when Corregidor was battered by bombings left and right and how the American soldiers operated these giant guns.Must be crazy!I heard one gun requires at least 16 people to operate.

Our walk also took us to the Main Hospital in Corregidor during that time.A creepy place.While walking around the hospital,some of our colleagues mentioned that they feel spirits lurking around.I always feel lucky not having any third eye.Must be pretty scary indeed.This is where many soldiers died during the war of course.
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The HOSPITAL BUILDING also hold stories of recent history.During the Marcos years,a lot of people from Mindanao were taken and quartered here.They were supposed to be part of the plot to infiltrate Sabah and eventually gain it back from the Malaysians but the plot was infiltrated and failed.A lot of inside scoops on this Walking Tour.
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Past the hospital,we walked to the PX GOODS Building.More scoops on Mickey Mouse Money and the National Treasury of the Philippine Government (of lost golds) during World War II among other things.Ivan's narration takes you to World War II Philippines.Discover more on the walking tour dubbed
Of Bombs, Big Guns and Lost Gold.


PX SHOP

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PACIFIC WAR MEMORIAL

We ended the Walking Tour at the Pacific War memorial with more scoops from Ivan Man Dy after which, we went to Corregidor Inn for lunch.Lunch on the tour is non-inclusive.

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How much is the tour?

P1,750.00/head
INCLUSIVE OF:
>>Guided tour,
>>Ferry Transfers
>>and Island Entrance Fee.

Buffet Lunch at Corregidor Inn is OPTIONAL(not inclusive) and maybe availed prior at P450.00/head. Plated lunch options available too.

Lunch at Corregidor Inn

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MALINTA CHANNEL (optional)


Since the tour ends at around 12noon, you have time to eat lunch and have the option to do side tour (personal exploration ) of the island.There are a few activities you can try like kayaking or zip line among other things.In our case, we went to MALINTA CHANNEL which is for a separate fee of 125php per pax.

We explored the dark laterals of MALINTA CHANNEL instead of doing the usual Light and Sound Tour.It was another creepy and informative experience which deserves a separate blog entry soon.
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inside Malinta Channel

I feel very lucky to have tried the Walking Tour of Corregidor by Old Manila Walks.For a first timer in the island, the experience has given me a very deep understanding of this historic place. Going around on foot gave ma a different perspective of the place .It's more than the usual go-around-the island-via-bus.More than just looking around,it gave me the chance to feel connected to the island and walk the paths walked by the American freedom fighters of that time.First time in CORREGIDOR? This is the perfect introduction for you.For those who have been here,this is your chance to see Corregidor in another light.

'Of Bombs, Big Guns and Lost Gold: WWII Tales Declassified ' is the 6th installment in the Old Manila Walks historical tour series. This is a collaboration between Corregidor's main logistical and tour provider, Sun Cruises and Old Manila Walks- the city's leading historical/cultural tour outfit. Unlike the bus tour which takes you on a general overview of the whole island, this historical hike is essentially concentrated on the war memorial zone (aka the historic core) of the island and uses this setting as a backdrop in the discussion of the WWII theme of the walk.

This tour provides for a broader,more chronological, contextual, insightful and perhaps even critical understanding of WWII in the country through the use of creative visuals backed by a multi-disciplpinary approach to historical interpretation (e.g. combining military as well as social,cultural and architectural history).  

It's an exercise for both the body and for the mind.
Read FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE TOUR.
here: Old Manila Walks now offers a WALKING TOUR of CORREGIDOR.


________________________
Should you have more queries
 please email fun@oldmanilawalks.com for details.
www.oldmanilawalks.com

6 comments:

  1. nice naman nito. medyo nakakapangilabot ng slight yung mga ruins from the past.

    gusto ko din matry to kaso chineck ko yung link, mostly group of 6. mukang bawal ang solomode na tulad ko. hehehhe

    ReplyDelete
  2. dame scary stories about that ahh
    buti umaga kayo nag punta haha

    ReplyDelete
  3. Corregidor is in every Filipino's bucketlist, considering it's stuff portrayed in all history books. i'd do the walking tour if i ever find myself in Manila with a lot of time to spare :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. nice doin the walking tour with you and some of the best out there (oggie, marky, eric and the rests).

    next time overnight naman :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. napaka historic ng lugar....nice...real nice!

    :))

    ReplyDelete
  6. correction: It's not the only option. there are several bancas from Bataan that can go to the island too. It would only take you around 30 minutes or less. Then you pay for the tour once you get to Corregidor.

    ReplyDelete

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