The Crown of Valor and Glory: Corregidor’s Topside

Mile-High Barracks Corregidor

Last Christmas, I had an opportunity of visiting one of the bastions of Philippine history, Corregidor Island. As with my previous posts, from the beginning and towards the middle side area, this island has a lot of stories to tell, about valor of our forefathers who fought endlessly to defend our freedom from the invaders. Yet the highlight of that tour last December hasn’t been reached yet. As we reached high above the Manila Bay, the view of the nerve center of then-one of Asia’s best military camps, this island has still a lot to tell…from its head and all towards under its belly.

This is my tribute to the men and women who sacrificed their lives for the greater glory of freedom and for peace to prevail once more in this part of the globe. Today is April 9, Araw ng Kagitingan in the Philippines.

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La Conquista de Corregidor: The Guns and Christmas 1941


All right, all right…you may be wondering why the introduction for this article was with Felipe De Leon’s Christmas Carol “Payapang Daigdig?” Nope, its not that I’m forcing it to fit on Christmas (or this article was meant to be posted on Christmas eve). The song was made out of bombardment of Manila in 1945, when the maestro woke up one morning with such devastation that engulfed the whole city-world’s second most destroyed. We also have to remember that it was during Christmas of 1941 that the Philippines was invaded by the Japanese imperial troops and bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. These stories of melancholic Christmas intertwined with Corregidor’s embattled past. As we head on for our tour, one December morning, I can feel the sirens and the cool breeze…however with more tension.

Battery Way

Our first stop was the Middleside area of Corregidor. Its a plateau between Topside and the coastline. It is here were you can find the second longest military barracks in the world at that time, the MiddleSide Barracks, which houses several Filipino and American troops at that time. Near it was a reservoir disguised as a tennis court. A few meters away from it, is the ruined building of the YMCA. The area is a camping ground for most excursionists and scouts.

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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.

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Walking at Steamy Manila Noon


Manila: Past and Rough

Its been a while since I last walked the old Manila. Somehow, I have this fascination over urban exploration, despite that I prefer living in the suburbs or even at the provinces. I am provoked for some adventure without going far or bleeding my wallet to death. Good thing though, my friend Gibb from Cebú was here. The tour wasn’t planned nor choreographed. We just like to see Manila in its real heartbeat. So off we walked from San Agustin Church in Intramuros to Quiapo Church which is in-of course Quiapo!

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Plaza Mexico: A Little Forgotten Spot in Intramuros

The 400 Years of Maritime Expedition Monument of Mexico and Philippines

While most of the people focused on the landing of Galeón Andalucia in Manila last week, my friend Gibb and I stumbled on this area that seemed to have been forgotten by time (and perhaps some maintenance too) itself. Called as Plaza Mexico, this place-the banks of Pasig River in Intramuros Manila-has been the original port of call of the fabled galleons of the past. Indeed, the 270 years of galleon trade that became one of the Spanish Empire’s economic machinery and an event that triggered globalization into a whole new level.

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