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From the Author

Let us pause for a while and take a peek at the fascinating wonders of nature, the majesty and the glory of God's creation and the spectacle of human engineering. Unfortunately, I cannot go to these places in as much as I want to so, I’m just taking this virtual expedition. I hope you can join me in this online adventure.

-Arnel S. Oroceo, the Author

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Corregidor Island

Corregidor Island is a famous destination here in the Philippines for both local and foreign tourists not only because of its peculiar beauty but for its rich historical past.

I have gone there before once as a child with my family aboard a navy ship but I could not vividly recall the particular sites we have visited in our brief stay there.

If you will look at it on a map, Corregidor is a tadpole shaped island at the mouth of Manila Bay. It is approximately 4 kilometers long, 1.5 kilometers at its widest and a total area of approximately 3 square miles.

Under Spanish colonization, Corregidor served as a fortress and an early warning outpost to warn Manila of intrusions by any hostile ship. It also served as a customs outpost and even a hard labor prison. In fact, its name Corregidor, has come from the Spanish word "corregir", which means “the corrector” pertaining to the effect of hard labor on prisoners. People also called Corregidor as "the rock" because of its rocky landscape and heavy fortifications.

Under the American colonization, the US Army used the island as a military station. They called it Fort Mills in honor of Brig. Gen. Samuel M. Mills. They built bomb-shelters, a hospital and trails around the island. They started the construction of the Malinta Tunnel in 1922 to protect the military installations in case of a war. There were 56 coastal guns, 13 anti-aircraft artillery batteries and 10 searchlights.

The island painted Philippine history with blood in 1941. Hours after Japanese planes bombed Pearl Harbor, the Japanese Imperial Forces invaded the Philippines.

Bataan and Corregidor Island witnessed the gallantry of the Filipino and American soldiers fighting the Japanese. After declaring Manila an open city, Gen. Douglas MacArthur went to Bataan to regroup his forces and make their last stand until 1942. Corregidor, meanwhile, served as the temporary refuge for the government of President Manuel L. Quezon and his family from December 24, 1941 to February 19, 1942 prior to the eventual exile of the Philippine Commonwealth government to the United States. After the fall of Bataan on April 9, 1942 to the Japanese Imperial Army, the forces keeping Corregidor laid down their arms after sustaining the battle for 27 dreadful days.

Today, Corregidor is not only a place to remember history but also a place for recreation. The best part of a visit to Corregidor is the audio-visual presentation at the Malinta Tunnel of the events that occurred during World War II, which features the recorded voices of the historical personalities, including the departure of President Quezon and Gen. Douglas McArthur on a submarine from Corregidor to Australia.

One can also avail of the island tour of Corregidor on a motorized boat or do some hiking on the hills and forest and discover some landmark ruins along the way.

Places of Interest in Corregidor:

● Malinta Tunnel
● Pacific War Memorial
● Filipino Heroes Memorial
● Spanish lighthouse
● Gun emplacements
● Eternal Flame of Freedom
● Aviary and Theme Park
● Filipino-American Friendship Park
● Barracks ruins

If you are interested to visit Corregidor Island in the near future, please click the link below for additional information particularly on how to get there.

(Data & Photos courtesy of: www.PhilSite.Net/corregidor.htm)

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