Travel date: June 19-20, 2012
We always celebrate our sons’ birthdays by going to a new place the kids haven’t been before. So we get to travel as a family at least twice a year. For Galo’s 10th birthday, we decided to visit Corregidor Island off Manila Bay, a location rich with military historical meaning.
Climbing up the top of this Spanish lighthouse gives you a bird’s eyeview of the contours of the island and how formidable it looks with all the battery, canyons and military armory strewn all over this rock of an island. Going up is a bit slippery, so watch out! We visited this after a quick trek inside the Japanese tunnels early in the morning just before breakfast. You will appreciate the cool morning air while up on the topdeck.
The main means of transportation inside Corregidor Island is this tranvia/trambia. The design where all riders face the front and the opening on both sides offer quick entry and exit from the carriage and is very breezy during the ride. Each row can sit 5 persons comfortably and the guide stays in front beside the driver with a microphone for clearer reception of their tour spiels. During rains or even heavy downpours, the tranvia has a heavy plastic curtain on each side attached by sturdy clip studs and protects the riders well from the elements.
BATTERY / CANONS
Behind us is just one of the many battery used during the Japanese invasion. These gigantic canons are surprisingly in very good condition as if they will fire in a moments notice. And you’ll also pause to think how all these giants got on this island.
The Malinta Tunnel is the lifeline of the island during the war. During air bombings, soldiers take refuge in this tunnel and even housed the first president of our Commonwealth, Pres. Manuel L. Quezon. The tour offers a light and sound show for an additional fee which I suggest you should take as its very full of historical information through audio and visual presentation while walking inside the biggest artery of the tunnels. We opted for an overnight stay on the island which I also recommend. It gave us time to pause after the tour and appreciate the stillness of the surrondings, the scent of the trees after a heavy rain and to take on much needed rest after the fast-paced tour.
We signed up for the ghost hunting trip inside the Malinta Tunnel which gives a toally different perspective of history because you get to walk inside the big and small tunnels and kind of feel how it was back then during the war. We went to the tunnels around 6:00 pm just when the sun was setting and the dimming heavens gave it that eerie feel while walking towards the tunnel with flashlights in hand and spirits a bit spooked.
CORREGIDOR HOTEL AND RESORT
The only hotel on the island, this hotel resort has an old villa feel with its bed and breakfast feel and very warm sincere staff. The photo above shows the second floor hallway with the slightly creaky wooden floor boards that just provides the correct mood for the place. The hotel has about less a couple dozen rooms which makes it less crowded. The rooms show age and wear and tear. Buffet lunch is warm and filling and some ala carte menu is good enough, which I expect from a distant solitary hotel like this. The pool is surprisingly clean and the waters warm despite constant rains.
Being an island just 2 hours off Manila Bay, security is important. The docks and surrounding perimeter is dotted with soldiers keeping the island and tourists safe.
When travelling here, choose a bright sunny day with calm waters. Big waves will give you a dizzying 2-hour boat ride. Be prepared with motion sickness meds which you must take at least 30 minutes prior to stepping on the boat. Use good footwear for walking, bring sun protection as the rock island can get pretty hot at noon, a light jacket and scarf during the windy night and insect repellant. Umbrellas are available for use aboard the trambias.