La Conquista de Corregidor: Getting Ashore

MiddleSide Barracks of Corregidor

It was one of those unplanned trips again that ended up great—and as a history student, a place something to look forward to. It was my first time conquering “The Rock of the Orient.” It is the tadpole-shaped sentinel island that guards Manila Bay from invaders—and indeed it held steadfast in Philippine history. The English name, “Corrector’s Island.” En español, “La Isla de Corregidor.”

The Philippine Flag at North Docks

Thanks to Ivan Henares and Sun Cruises, I, together with bloggers Joel, Cedrick, James, Estan, Claire, Rob, Patricia, Ivan Mandy, and Sir Bobby Aquino of Magsaysay Shipping, we embarked on a 1 hour and 15 minute fast cruise towards the mouth of Manila Bay as the sun is just reaching its rays over the skyline of Manila.

Leaving Manila very early in the morning

I was excited. Obviously, it’s because it was my first time setting on foot in this historically sacred shrine. Ever since I was a kid, I keep on hearing stories about Corregidor. It is the island where the Filipinos and Americans fought to the death for freedom against the Japanese Imperial Forces during World War II. I saw those pictures of big guns, bombarded buildings, an egg-shaped shrine, a crimson steel monument and the seemingly endless ghost stories associated with it. Indeed, this little island has witnessed so much human drama as blood spilt on its hills and its coasts.

Sun Cruises Bridge

Disembarking at the North Docks

It was 7AM when we arrived at Corregidor. There was a half-marathon competition on-going. A lot of people at the north docks for the Corregidor Half-Marathon competition. While the runners are preparing, our tramvias (cable cars). These brought us to Corregidor Inn and Hotel, the only hotel in the island. From there, we ate our breakfast and relaxed as we prepare our journey through time of valor, agony and glory in Philippine history.

A short geographic lecture on Corregidor

Sunrise at Manila Bay from Corregidor

Corregidor Island is located some 25 nautical miles from Manila, the capital city of this republic. Situated in such strategic importance—at the mouth of Manila Bay, it holds as an impenetrable sentinel for ships entering and going out of Manila’s busy harbor. It is joined by four other islands namely Caballo, El Fraile and Monha. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology identified the island as a remnant of a caldera submerged at Manila Bay—and potentially active as well in the near future.

A Map of Corregidor

The island is about six kilometers long and 2.4 kilometers at its widest and has roughly 900 hectares of land, the island’s shape is like that of a tadpole (or to others, a sperm cell) characterized as hilly with plateaus at the western side.

One of the cannons at Corregidor

The island is divided into zones, usually for reference (like districts in cities): The Topside is the center of Corregidor’s attractions, with the ruins, a lighthouse, several offices, a memorial and most number of batteries is located. The Middleside is where several barracks, batteries and the hospital is located. The Bottomside is where the hotel, the port, the historic Malinta Tunnel, and the beaches are located; and The Tailside where several memorials were erected. (Now don’t get naughty from hereon!)\

For now, its time to relax and enjoy the cool amihan breeze of the north. Not everyday you’ll get to Corregidor.

To be continued…

Tramvia Corregidor -- To be continued

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