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Cavite Philippines Travel

Cavite: Seeing Corregidor in a Whole New Light

I must admit, I’ve been putting off visiting Corregidor for years now. I’ve been to places far-off Manila yet I haven’t been able to set foot on this island which is basically an hour away by ferry. Maybe I wasn’t too convinced seeing island ruins bombarded during the Second World War or even the somewhat high price tag for a destination so near. But my perception changed when I finally got to visit the island. I think the place wasn’t marketed enough as Corregidor Island was more intriguing than I thought it would be.

The Mile Long Barracks at sundown
The Mile Long Barracks at sundown

I must admit, I’ve been putting off visiting Corregidor for years now. I’ve been to places far-off Manila yet I haven’t been able to set foot on this island which is basically an hour away by ferry. Maybe I wasn’t too convinced seeing island ruins bombarded during the Second World War or even the somewhat high price tag for a destination so near. But my perception changed when I finally got to visit the island. I think the place wasn’t marketed enough as Corregidor Island was more intriguing than I thought it would be.

Tranvias are used for tours around the island
Tranvias are used for tours around the island

To the Rock
Squirming off like a tadpole from Manila Bay towards the mainland of Bataan, Sun Cruises from their Ferry Terminal near Harbor Square in Pasay is the easiest way to Corregidor. They usually leave at 8am in the morning boarding an airconditioned ferry which only takes an hour. The other route is via a large outrigger boats coming from Camaya coast Bataan, but of course you have to ride all the way there from Manila which is already 3 hours sans the boat ride.

A tourist blending into the pattern at Battery Way
A tourist blending into the pattern at Battery Way

The Day Tours
Upon stepping on the island, visitors are immediately whisked away to their Tranvia, a cable car type of transportation used prior to Japanese occupation. When I first came here, I joined a group doing their new Adventure Challenge, which is an amazing-race type of game where teams compete to search for clues and solve puzzles around the ruins. While the participants where running around, I was admiring the ruins.

The topside has the longest barracks in the world
The topside has the longest barracks in the world

Magnificent Ruins
As soon as our tranvia turned on a curve at the topside part of the island, my eyes were immediately transfixed when I saw the towering Mile Long Barracks. It looks splendid on how the ruins stand and how its length seems to disappear on the horizon. It’s the longest barracks in the world and I could just imagine the grandeur it once was. There was a time during the American rule that soldiers wanted to be assigned to the Philippines because of Corregidor. Imagine and island fortress that has almost everything, from the big heavy guns scattered on different batteries, huge living barracks, beaches and even a movie house. Soldiers living here would feel like staying on a high end resort.

The old ruins in Battery Way slowly being engulfed by vegetation
The old ruins in Battery Way slowly being engulfed by vegetation

Of course the Second World War changed all that and it became the most bombarded island in the country. It became a setting for stories of survival, valor and courage. Like all great kingdoms, Corregidor now is a remembrance of its glory days. Honestly, exploring the islands, looking at the ruins, doing short hikes to find the other batteries being engulfed by the forest reminds me of visiting historical ruins from other countries like the Champa Ruins of Vietnam or even Angkor Wat in Cambodia but in a smaller scale. It may not be thousands of years old or built to praise the Gods, but the ruins of Corregidor also have stories to tell in its own macabre way.

The Malinta Tunnel
The Malinta Tunnel

The Island by Night
While Corregidor has day tours which are very educational and entertaining, it was too short and visitors would just hie-off from one sight to another. It’s staying overnight when I really appreciated the island. It’s when long shadows stretch on the ruins and ghostly stories from the dark laterals of Malinta Tunnel speaks. Corregidor puts on a cloak of mystery as the sun sets.

Different Species of birds still linger on the island
Different Species of birds still linger on the island

Still close to nature
The beaches around the island are already polluted, not by the island’s fault but because of Manila and Bataan’s trash being drifted here. The flora and fauna is still rich. Stay still somewhere and you could see several species of birds flying around. We saw more than three eagles on the island. On the road keep alert for some monkeys and be careful hiking as there are still snakes on the dense part of the island.

The Twin Bed Room at Corregidor Inn
The Twin Bed Room at Corregidor Inn

The Photographic Possibilities
When I was exploring Corregidor for the first time, I already saw the numerous photographic possibilities it offered. Unfortunately a day tour was not sufficient since the mid-day sun would just give harsh lighting. With the help from Sun Cruises, Backpack Photography was able to design a different king of Photo Tour. Come join us on July 2-3, 2011 as we show you Corregidor in a whole new light. Check backpackphotography.net for details.

Stormy twilight at the North Dock
Stormy twilight at the North Dock
The Eternal Flame of Freedom
The Eternal Flame of Freedom
The South Dock
The South Dock

 

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