Corregidor: The Fortress of Freedom

Traveling was quite hectic at that time. It was not easy to jump from one tour to another especially if one had succeeding travels without getting any rest. I went around Manila monuments and in different churches in Laguna, and as much as I have wanted to travel, I admit wanting to take a few breaks before jumping to another tourist spot. However, going to Corregidor has changed my perspective. It cured my head ache and body pains with the surrounding fresh air and “greens” and “blues”, and taught me an interesting history that lie behind this famous island.

Corregidor is known as the island of fortress. Now considered as the National Shrine of the Philippines, it used to be the battle front where the soldiers attacked their enemies and the area where they defended themselves from them. The following are some of the interesting spots in the island, including the Malinta Tunnel Tour which is worth the extra tour price as it provides a detailed history of Manuel Quezon’s and Sergio Osmena Sr’s inauguration time and the World War II period.

1) The Barracks

  • Topside Mile-Long Barracks 

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A three story and hurricane proof building. Was also known as a lodging area for American officers and the Personnel listed in the Garrison that measures 1,520 feet long (making it the world’s longest military barracks, and thus the referral as Mile-Long Barracks despite being less than third a mile long). It was also where Gen. MacArthur’s headquarters was located.

  • Middleside Barracks

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Constructed in the middle sector of the island which explains its name. Made with two three story buildings where the Personnel of the 60th Coast Artillery Regiment and the 91st Philippine Scout Coast Artillery Regiment were lodged. Was briefly occupied by the 4th Marine Regiment during World War II.

2) The Batteries

  • Battery Way

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Was constructed between 1904 and 1914 at the cost of $112,969. Named in honor of Lieutenant Henry N. Way of 4th US Artillery (who died in service in the Philippines in 1900), it is armed with four 12-inch mortars and with firing elevation from 45 degrees to 70 degrees and has a rifled bore of 10 ft long. The battery was designed to penetrate the warships and against enemies on higher grounds in Bataan.

  • Battery Hearn 

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Was built between 1918 and 1921 at the cost of $148,105. Intended to defend the island against enemy naval threat in South China Sea, it was one of the last major additions to Corregidor’s defense system with 12-inch seacost west-range guns and a maximum range of 29,000 yards.

Other batteries within the island include Batteries Geary, Grubbs, Crockett, Wheeler, Ramsay, Morrison, James, Smith, Cheney, Monja, Kysor, Hamilton, Cushing, Sunset, Hanna, Keyes, Rockpoint, Wright, and Rose.

3) Pacific War Memorial

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Was founded  in honor of the Filipino and American servicemen who participated in the Pacific Warand was completed in 1968 as financed by the United States Congress. Its structure includes a rotunda with a circular altar that falls under the dome’s open center where the light falls on the altar during daytime.

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The altar symbolizes victory as inscribed by the following quote on its rim: “Sleep my sons, your duty done, for freedom’s light has come; sleep in the silent depths of the sea, or in your bed of hallowed sod, until you hear at dawn the low, clear reveille of God.”

4) Malinta Tunnel

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Was constructed between 1922 and 1932. Malinta Tunnel is located at the east of the Bottomside, and was designed to facilitate passage and create a bombproof shelter with huge quantities of ammunition, food and supplies, and an underground hospital with a 1,000 bed capacity. It also served as the seat of Philippine Commonwealth Government under President Manuel L. Quezon.

5) Other monuments

  • Spanish flagpole

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A monument reminding Corregidor of its victorious past. Captured from the Spanish warship by the American fleet of Admiral George Dewey at the Battle of Manila Bay on May 1, 1898, it was constructed at its present site by the Americans. Was used during WWII wherein the American flag was hoisted. On October 12, 1947 however, the American flag was later replaced by the Philippine flag, symbolizing the return of Corregidor to the Filipinos.

  • Spanish Lighthouse

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Was originally built by the Spaniards in 1836. Was led to a construction of another structure sixty one years later, yet was destroyed once again in WWII. The current lighthouse was built on the same site at 628 feet above sea level, allowing the visitors to have a breathtaking view of Corregidor, Manila Bay, South China Sea, and Bataan and Cavite’s neighboring provinces.

  • Eternal flame of freedom 

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A sculpture designed by Aristides Demetrios and is located near the Pacific War Memorial Dome. It symbolizes flame of freedom burning eternally, while commemorating the heroic struggle by the United States and Philippines to preserve freedom for future generations. It also stands as a reminder for all men to fight for the nation’s liberty.

Not forgetting to mention that I enjoyed my trip. I did not regret jumping to such trip despite my extreme exhaustion, allowing me to relax in nature landscapes and learn more of Philippine War History that has not been taught in schools. This trip is definitely a recommendation to high school and college field trips, as well as for cultured local and foreign tourists aiming to cultivate themselves while taking a getaway in the exhilarating nature.

As I aim to sum this trip in simple three words, let this be my quote.

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I SHALL RETURN! 

For more information about Corregidor Island

Corregidorisland.com

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