TEXT AND PHOTOS BY EUDEN VALDEZ
LOCATED off the coasts of Bataan and Cavite, right at the mouth of Manila Bay, the island of Corregidor served as the focal point of naval defenses of the Philippine and American forces against Japanese troops during World War II. After days of bloody battle, the former surrendered Corregidor to the latter in 1942, heralding Japan’s reign in the country.
With such remarkable history, many have come to Corregidor lured by tales of ghosts and haunting. After all, its storied ruins and defunct armory tell of turbulent battles; while its dark tunnels form shadows and reverberate with echoes.
But beyond the history that it bore witness to and the remnants of this gloried past, what is Corregidor’s charm to us today?
At any given morning upon the docking of the Sun Cruises ferry at Corregidor’s port, resort staff will welcome arriving guests with a glasses of cold tea. They are then ushered aboard a tranvia replica for the first leg of the tour around the island. The tourist guide begins with a smile and throughout, stays cheerful and informative. He also shows the best spots for photography.
All these are indications of the true charm of Corregidor.
Sun Cruises General Manager Janeth Borlagdan simply puts the answer, “It’s the feeling of going home, to your lola’s old house where you go back to basic and is still comfortable.”
Since 1988, Sun Cruises has been the sole transport and tour operator in Corregidor. It offers daily trips to Corregidor with M/V Sun Cruises II, and operates the only hotel in the island, the Corregidor Inn.
In an interview with Traveling Journo Ph in a recent media and bloggers familiarization tour, Borlagdan explained how an overnight stay in Corregidor can recharge the mind, body and soul because despite being a tourist destination, it remains to be “uncommercialized and innocent.”
Here are five ways how:
1. Experience the newly renovated Corregidor Inn
After two years of renovation, Sun Cruises has finally reopened the iconic Corregidor Inn in the island. Now, the 31 rooms are redesigned with fresh aesthetic and refurbished with modern furniture for a peaceful and comfortable sleep—no more ghost stories.
The Corregidor Inn also houses the La Playa Restaurant that serves flavors of home. It can also arrange a boodle fight for big groups of families, friends or officemates.
For budget conscious travelers or students on educational tour, they can fill up the dormitory-type hostel.
2. Relive history through a Light and Sound Show
The Malinta Tunnel is the lat stronghold of the joint Philippine and American military forces during World War II. Today, it is home to the Light and Sound Show conceptualized by the late National Artist Lamberto Avellana for Theater and Film.
In the presentation, the tunnel’s laterals serve as exhibit halls for sculptures and props that recreate important events during the Battle of Corregidor. Narration is coordinated with the lights and presentation as the war progresses from beginning until end.
President Manuel Quezon’s stay in Malinta Tunnel is presented proving that for months, it served as the seat of power of the Philippine government.
3. Go where your feet take you
With the guidance of professional tour guides in the island, of course. You’re lucky if your group gets Eduardo Guiron, one of the best among his peers. He has been in the Corregidor for two decades and is now the resident manager of Corregidor Inn.
Also highly recommended is the Night Lateral Tunnel Visit inside Malinta. This is also done inside Malinta but it explores the tunnel’s unexplored side, as well as the 1,000-bed hospital area. Wait for surprises during this tour that is done during nighttime.
Besides the tours of the American-made Malinta Tunnel, there are also tours of Japanese tunnels, as well as ruined establishments that are have now been eaten by the forest.
During daytime, best seen are what was left of the batteries installed in Corregidor (a total of 23 consisting of 56 coastal guns and mortars). The most popular ones include Batteries Way, Hearn and Smith.
4. Bask in sunny encounters
Surrounded by sea and with its elevation, Corregidor is the perfect viewing place for sunrise and sunset, especially at some of its high points.
Cap your first day at Battery Grubbs, the hill that overlooks Bataan and where the disappearing gun is perched.
The next morning, feel the cool breeze of the ocean while the soft rays of the rising sun touch your skin. Sunrise viewing is best done in the island’s tailside.
5. Cool down and take a dip
After the sunrise viewing and a buffet breakfast at La Playa Restaurant, there’s still time to cool down by taking a dip at Corregidor’s South Beach. This is one of the best open beaches perfect for swimming as it is located just below Corregidor Inn.
If you’re up for more adventure, then go try kayaking as well!
Indeed, Corregidor is more than meets the eye.
“There’s history, there’s adventure, there’s so many stories left untold, and there’s so many ways our staff will make you feel special,” Borlagdan concluded.
Explore Corregidor! For inquiries and bookings, contact (632) 834-6857 to 58, 0998-9683256 or 0998-9683056, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For updates, follow https://www.facebook.com/CorregidorPH, or visit www.corregidorphilippines.com.