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Weekends Away: Corregidor Island

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Corregidor is a small, tadpole-shaped island that was fortified due to its strategic location at the entrance of Manila Bay in southwestern part of Luzon. It was one of the main defences from enemy attacks in the event of war.

The island’s name was derived from the Spanish word “corregir” which means to correct. Before serving its purpose as a fortress, it was allegedly used by the Spanish to stop ships entering Manila Bay and have their documents checked and corrected. Other sources claim that it was used as a penitentiary or correctional institution and was referred to as “El Corregidor.”

Also known as “the Rock,” it was a key bastion of the Allies during the war. Corregidor became the headquarters of the Allied Forces and the de facto seat of the Philippine Commonwealth Government.

There were 23 batteries installed on Corregidor, consisting of 56 coastal guns and mortars. In addition, Corregidor had 13 anti-aircraft artillery batteries with 76 guns (28 3-inch and 48 .50-caliber) and 10 60-inch Sperry searchlights. At the time, it was one of the most expensive artillery commissioned by the United States to protect their interests in the Pacific.

Corregidor is divided into three geographic sectors: Topside, Middleside and Bottomside.

Topside is the highest geographic sector in the island where the terrain elevation is above sea level which ranges from about 400 feet and higher. Located here are the war-ravaged ruins of the Mile Long Barracks and Cine Corregidor. You will also find here the Pacific War Memorial that was erected in honour of the Filipino and American servicemen who participated in the Pacific War; the Eternal Flame of Freedom, a large steel sculpture symbolising the Frame of Freedom that burns eternally and the old Spanish flagpole.

 

Mile Long Barracks

battery par

Middleside is located within the head of the island where the ground elevation approximately ranges between 100-400 feet above sea level and lies between the Bottomside and Topside sectors. You can also see war-ravaged buildings like the Middleside Barracks and the Army Hospital. Post-war structures like the Filipino-American Friendship Park and the Aviary and Theme Park are found here.
Bottomside is the sector that encompasses the lower part of the island. It is mostly a flat stretch of land where elevation measured above sea level is lower than 100 feet. Its notable landmarks and structures include the South and North Dock, Lorcha Dock, Gen. Douglas MacArthur Park, Administration Building, San Jose Chapel, Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial and Barrio San Jose.

The Tail End is the remaining portion of the island’s long and twisting tail. Tourist attractions located here are the Statue of the Filipino Woman, President Manuel Quezon Park, Filipino Heroes Memorial, President Sergio Osmena Park, Japanese Garden of Peace and Kindley Field.

Corregidor Island is the perfect destination for history buffs and descendants of Filipino and American war veterans. The younger generation will be reminded of the pain and destruction that a war can bring to mankind. It also shows a different facet of the Philippines a tourist destination.

Local and foreign tourists can visit the island through ferry services provided by Sun Cruises. They operate from the old Hoverferry terminal near CCP (Cultural Center of the Philippines) along Roxas Boulevard. The scheduled trip departs from Manila daily at 8 am and arrives in Corregidor a little over an hour. Tour packages include roundtrip ferry boat transfers, shrine and terminal fees, guided island tour and lunch. There is a tour package which allows visitors to stay overnight or an extended number of days at the Corregidor Hotel.

 

 

 

 
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