I had last been to Corregidor Island two years ago on January 3, 2010 (previous blog post). This makes it my fourth trip to the island over the years. That said, I invite you to visit my previous post on Corregidor for more pictures and details. This post would just include additional insights and observations.
As I mentioned in my previous blog post on Corregidor, “Corregidor Island is one of those tourist destinations that most Manilenyos probably don’t think about as a destination. While not a fancy spot for beach activities or even wildlife watching, it is still an interesting place with lots of historical context. It is after all, probably the Philippines’ best known World War II memorial.” A lot of my friends have actually never been to Corregidor, despite how close it is, and how easy it is to get to.
View Corregidor Island in a larger map
In the two years since I last went to the Island, the system at Sun Cruises seemed to have changed a little bit… and for the better.
Last time, I remember paying for my ticket online. This year, since I wasn’t sure how many would be in the group with me, I decided to just get the tickets on site instead. There is a shorter line actually for those that don’t have reservations. One advantage I see for those that purchased their tickets online is with the ticket numbers you are assigned. More on this later on.
Anyway, the Ferry departs at 8am and the boarding supposedly begins at 7:30am. We got o the Sun Cruises office at 6:30am for the sole reason of managing the line. After we got our tickets we proceeded to the shuttle bus.
A new feature of their system is that now you are issued a sticker which you place on your person. The ticket has your name (which in my case is grossly misspelled and they made me an Arsonist) and they included a “number.”
The number has a perceived advantage. But in the end really doesn’t matter (depends on your point of view). But for the Sun Cruises folks… it allows for some “order.”
When you board the ferry, the number is simply your seat number. I recall the actual number, but I think if you are 180+ you are on the upper deck. Actually, those on the upper deck get to disembark first when you get to Corregidor as the dock at Corregidor is higher than the one at CCP. Again, at the end. It is no big deal.
The trip to the island takes around 45 minutes and is quite smooth, even for those with a tendency to get sea sick. One might attribute that to the design of the boat… but also remember that Manila Bay itself, by its design usually has calm waters within the bay (during a nice sunny day such as today).
With me on this trip are my Kaladkarins… Victor Tañedo, Mellie Valimento, and Eufer Pasion.
When you get to the dock at Corregidor Island, the first order of the day is get on one of the waiting tour busses waiting. On this day, there were 8 busses waiting, most of which are in English with 1 with a Japanese-speaking tour guide. Other than avoiding that one bus, making your way to any of the waiting buses is fine.
Tour then commences.
If you have visited the island before (such in my case), these eight buses are so timed so as not to congest any one location with too many people. Personally it really does not matter which one you take, unless you had a very light breakfast. The busses are timed for two specific vanues: 1) The Malinta Tunnel “Light and Sound Show” and 2) Lunch. At both venues, they time it so there are only two groups at any point in time. Quite efficient if you ask me. That said, the buses and guides alternate between venues. In our case, we had our lunch last… which was around 1pm.
The tour continues through the various ruins and historical sites.
An aspect I will note with this blog post are the presence of posted warnig signs throughout the tour. More on this later…
Sometimes, getting the best shot is when you veer away from the group and be a tad adventurous. Most of the people just stayed by the buses (you can see them on the left) giving them only one view of these ruins.
Even though this wasn’t my first trip to Corregidor, I always get a kick out of these big guns… well, in this case, mortars.
Tourists Behaving Badly
Now, back to those warning signs. Indulge me for a moment in a rant I will refer to as “Tourists Behaving Badly”.
When I visit some place. I try to behave and keep myself within a sphere of decency as expected for proper behavior in a particular place. Also, you should remember that as part of a tour group… you should respect the other people on the tour.
In this, case let us not the warning sign mentioned… clearly written “No climbing on the guns”. So we would expect educated tourists to behave right?
Almost immediately as soon as we got there, this group of Korean kids ran towards the big guns and…
That’s right. They climbed on the guns.
Not only do they violate the instruction. Naturally, this inconveniences the other tourists trying to take pictures of the big guns. (Incidentally, this group of Korean kids were annoying at every stop. Running around and climbing on everything).
Ok. Let us cut them some slack right. First, they are kids. And kids will climb on anything and violate what ever rules are written. Secondly, the sign was in English let us assume for a moment that they did not understand the sign (but of course we later found out that they spoke pretty decent English).
What about a group of mature Americans? Sigh.
I guess in the end, all we could do is behave as how we felt tourists should behave. Stand next to the object and take picture from a distance.
– Almost end of rant –
We moved on to another venue… reaching the famous Mile Long Barracks. These set of buildings are what are usually posted on posters and post cards of Corregidor.
(Back to rant)… if you look closely… I know its hard to see as its quite small… to the left of me you will see a sign which reads “Off Limits”. And if you look over to the right of me… above my hand you will see the group of Korean kids climb up to the second floor and posing for their mother… that woman in black.
Sigh again… tourists will be tourists I guess. (end of rant)
Moving along to the War Memorial…
Below is a fascinating Eternal Flame Sculpture.
From inside the memorial dome.
Cine Corregidor… later used a s Morgue during the height of the fighting…
From inside the movie house.
At the Spanish Lighthouse
From inside the lighthouse looking down at the square.
From the Spanish Lighthouse, we proceeded to our stop right before Lunch… Malinta Tunnel.
The Tunnel itself is quite fascinating and did play a significant role during war.
But since I’ve seen this before, I opted not to go in and pay the additional P150 to see the “Light and Sound Show.” And as stated from my previous blog post, I personally do not like the show. But as my friends were first timers. I insisted that they see it. While I don’t like the show, I do recommend that one does see it… and they judge for themselves.
So I spent the next 30 minutes waiting for my group… and take pictures without anyone else in them.. hehe.
Next was lunch… Lunch comprises a buffet at the Corregidor Inn. As far as inclusive-to-tour-buffets go, this was quite decent. The dessert was fantastic.
After lunch we went to the Japanese Memorial which has a really great Buddha statue at one end. Every time I go here, the sun is always nicely behind the statue allowing you take a picture with a halo glow.
Smaller Japanese Guns
Our last stop of the day is at a statue of Douglas MacArthur at Lorcha Dock where MacArthur departed the island from.
Beneath the statue of General McArthur are his immortal words “I shall return.” And as our guide pointed out, contrary to popular belief, these words were not uttered when he left Corregidor. These words were uttered at a press conference when he arrived in Australia.
As for me… I did return to Corregidor. I will probably return back here again in the future. Perhaps with another group of friends. Hmmm… maybe next time we’ll take our trail bikes here and go around the island on our own.
For my other post on Corregidor in January 2010: http://www.corregidorphilippines.com/index.html
For details on visiting the island, visit the Sun Cruises’ Corregidor Website at: http://www.corregidorphilippines.com/index.html