Old Cotabato Provincial Capitol: Seat of the United Cotabato

Old Cotabato Provincial Capitol

Cotabato City was a bustling urban area, teeming with life and people from different places, speaking different languages. Moro, Kristyano and Lumad cultures mix and intermingle, creating a seemingly distinct culture in the heart of Mindanao. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, a white-washed edifice watches over the city like a sentinel. According to Simeon Millan’s book, 1952 Cotabato Guidebook, it was the “acropolis” that governed not just Cotabato City, but once the largest province in the country. It is the old Cotabato Provincial Capitol—half a century ago.

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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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Faro de Punta Malabrigo: Perched between Man and Elements

Faro de Punta Malabrigo

It was very unexpected that I’ll be going to the town of Lobó in Batangas province with my dad for his routine trip for his work. It was my first time there, and it was the Barangay Elections Day all throughout the country. However, that old Spanish lighthouse is the ultimate destination that I like to go — Malabrigo Lighthouse or Faro de Punta Malabrigo. Since I haven’t been to Cape Bojeador lighthouse in Ilocos or even Malabrigo’s sister in Calatagan, Batangas, this was my opportunity to see that lonely sentinel perched on a hill overlooking Verde Island Passage. After convincing my dad, I’m off to Malabrigo!

Situated some seven kilometers away southeast of Lobó’s town proper, Malabrigo is a barangay that seemingly being edged by the mountains to the sea. Yes, it reminds me of Cebú or even Barangay Ilijan in Batangas City. The faro is situated on top of the hill. A steep climb for vehicles and for the tricycles that serve town proper-Malabrigo route. If you’re commuting, better disembark at the Malabrigo Resort gate and ascend towards the lighthouse on top of the hill. Malabrigo is one isolated community in Batangas-seemingly defying the notion that the province is easily accessible from the great metropolis of Manila!

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