“What a beautiful little island this is....so much history, lovely hotel and such lovely people!”
CORREGIDOR: THE ISLAND FORTRESS
Situated 26 nautical miles west of Manila, Corregidor lies just off the southern tip of Bataan Peninsula. Dubbed as the ‘Rock’, the island is dominated by huge limestone formations. It is about 5.6 kms in length from end to end and approximately 2.4 kms in width at its widest point.
Corregidor is the largest of the five islands lying across the entrance to Manila Bay. These islands, including Grande Island in Subic Bay, were known as the ‘Harbour Defences of Manila and Subic Bay’.
During the Spanish era this tadpole-shaped island was a signal station where bonfires were lit to appraise Manila of home-coming galleons. Later on, the Spaniards built a lighthouse on the island. All ships entering or leaving the bay were required to stop at Corregidor to have their papers checked, hence the name Corregidor, which means ‘corrector’ in Spanish.
Fortifications had been established in Corregidor. The outlying smaller islands, namely El Fraile (friar), La Monja (nun), Caballo (horse) and Carabao (water buffalo), except for La Monja, were also fortified, along with Grande Island.
The big guns of Corregidor were used in support of Filipino and American defenders of Bataan until the island itself was invaded. The restless pounding by Japanese guns reduced its defences and compelled its surrender.
In January 22, 1945, Corregidor was once again caught in the fury of war as the Americans retook the island after a bloody battle. On October 12, 1947, in an impressive turnover ceremony, the America flag was lowered at Topside Flagstaff for the last time and the flag of the Republic of the Philippines was hosted in its stead. After over 300 years of Spanish, American and Japanese occupation, Corregidor once again belongs to the Filipino people.
BOTTOM SIDE (NORTH DOCK)
This pier is also known as the North Mine Wharf. It is facing Bataan and is approximately 15 metres long at each side, 4-6 metres draft. The North Dock is the major docking facility of the island.
GENERAL DOUGLAS MACARTHUR PARK
A larger than life-size bronze statue of the General erected at Lorcha Dock ruins where he boarded a PT boat for Mindanoa and then to Australia where he sent his famous message of ‘I SHALL RETURN’.
PRESIDENT MANUEL L. QUEZON PARK
A statue of President Quezon located at the north entrance area of the Malinta Tunnel’s 1000-bed hospital lateral to where he was inaugurated as the President of the Philippine Commonwealth for a second term at the height of the Japanese invasion in Corregidor.
Completed in 1922, Maltina Tunnel has a main tunnel 835 feet long and 24 feet wide with 24 laterals branching out from it. Originally an arsenal and underground hospital, its unique location beneath the Malinta Hill made it an ideal bomb-proof headquarters for embattled Filipinos and Americans. From December 29, 1941 to March 12 1942, it functioned as headquarters of Gen. Douglas MacArther. It also served as the seat of the Philippine Government under Pres. Manuel L. Quezon. Today, visitors can experience the thrills of Malinta Runnel vividly-staged Light and Sound Show called the ‘Malinta Experience’. Scripted by National Artist and film director Lamberto Avellana and sculptures made by National Artist Napoleon Abueva, the show is a re-enactment of World War II’s dramatic events.
This pier which is facing Cavite is approximately 128 metres in length, 6-8.50 metres draft. It is often used by larger vessels like Philippine Navy vessels.
THE FILIPINO WOMAN
A statue of a Filipino as a symbol of peace and inspiration of the Filipino soldiers.
FILIPINO HEROES MEMORIAL
A 6,000 square metres complex with 14 murals depicting heroic battles fought by Filipinos from 15th century up to the modern-day period. Designed by Arch. Francisco Manosa and murals and a statue of a Filipino guerrilla sculpture by Manuel Casal, the complex was inaugurated by Pres. Fidel V. Ramos on August 28, 1992.
JAPANESE GARDEN OF PEACE
A 2.2. hectares area where a ten-foot Jibo Kannon stone buddha, Shinto Shrine, various Japanese soldiers’ memorial shrine and anti-aircraft (AA) guns relics are erected. This is also a praying area for Japanese war veterans and their relatives.
FILIPINO-AMERICAN FRIENDSHIP PARK
A 2,000 square metres fully landscaped park with ten-foot statues of Filipino and American soldiers depicting their enduring friendship in times of war and in peace.
YOUTH FOR PEACE CAMPSITE
An open camping area designed for out-of-school youth, scouts and students.
A 3,000 square metres dome complex housing different species of local and foreign variety of birds. The aviary has propagation facilities for showcase in eco-tourism.
Composed of two three-storey buildings, the Middleside Barracks housed the 60th Coast Artillery Regiment (Anti-Aircraft) and the 91st Philippine Scout Coast Artillery Regiment. It was briefly occupied by the 4th Marine Regiment upon its arrival in Corregidor on December 1941.
Completed in 1913, Battery Way was armed with four 12-inch mortars which are capable of firing 360 degrees up to a distance of 14,610 yards in any direction at the rate of one round per minute, per mortar. This battery provided an effective means of countering the Japanese artillery in Bataan. Three of the serviceable mortars opened fire on April 28, 1942 and on May 2, 1942, two of these were hit. After more than 12 hours of continuous firing, the remaining mortar finally froze tight on May 6, 1942.
This 12-inch seacoast gun with a maximum range of 29,000 yards was capable of firing in all directions. It was one of the last major additions to Corregidor’s defence system, designed to frustrate naval threat from the China Sea. Battery Hearn had been in action firing towards Cavite from February 1942 and on April 8-9, 1942 towards Bataan. Captured nearly intact and later repaired by the Japanese, Battery Hearn was completely neutralized by American aerial bombardment in January-February, 1945.
MILE LONG BARRACKS
Once used as quarters by American officers, this three-deck, hurricane-proof concrete building is reputedly the world’s longest military barracks. Because of its great length of 1,520 feet, it is commonly known as the Mile Long Barracks. The headquarters of Gen. Douglas MacArthur was also located in this building.
PACIFIC WAR MEMORIAL
The Pacific War Memorial was built by the United States Government to honour the Filipino and American soldiers who participated in World War II. It was completed in 1968 at the cost of US$3 million. The memorial stands on the highest part of Corregidor on the west side of the island. Its dome has an opening at the top through which sunlight in the week of May 6 (the day Corregidor fell) shines into it to fit the circular altar exactly. The memorial also houses a modest museum which contains numerous photos and war artefacts, a documentary film projection room and a souvenir shop.
ETERNAL FLAME OF FREEDOM
Located within the Pacific War Memorial complex, this wing-shaped sculpture of steel designed by Aristides Demetrios symbolizes the Flame of Freedom.
The original lighthouse was built in 1836 by the Spaniards. A bigger one was erected in 1897, but was destroyed during World War II. Located 628 feet above sea level, one can have a breathtaking view of the island, Manila Bay and the South China Sea from the top of the lighthouse.
Captured by US Admiral George Dewey from the Spaniards after the Battle of Manila Bay, this flagpole, actually the mast of a Spanish warship, was put up in Corregidor. On October 12, 1947, the American flag was lowered for the last time and the Philippine flag was hoisted in its stead. After over 300 years, Corregidor once again belonged to the Filipino people.
With a maximum range of 14,610 yards, Battery Geary was capable of firing in any direction. The eight 12 inch mortars of this battery were considered the most effective anti-personnel weapons of Corregidor, together with Battery Way. A direct hit by Japanese artillery on its centre magazine totally destroyed Battery Geary on May 2, 1942.
One of the six ‘disappearing’ gun batteries that formed the interlocking field of fire, which totally encircled the island, Battery Crocket was armed with two 2-inch seacoast guns mounted on disappearing carriages behind a concrete parapet. The guns ranged to 17,000 yards and were capable of 170 degrees traverse with overlapping fields or a total 220 degrees coverage for the battery.
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