Corregidor Island, or formerly called Fort Mills, was used as a base for the allied American and Filipino soldiers in the climax of the Japanese campaign for the Republic of the Philippines during World War II. Just with that, you’d know that Corregidor is and island rich with history and is a place you should definitely visit, especially because of its close proximity to Metro Manila. Check out these 8 spots in Corregidor you should check out when you go:
A 3 story, hurricane proof, 1,520 feet long building. That’s the Mile-Long Barracks in Corregidor. Soldiers used to walk the stretch of the barracks from the top floor down which totals to a distance of 1 mile. Known as the world’s longest military barracks, this building used to be the base for enlisted American soldiers and personnel. It also served as the headquarters for General Douglas MacArthur who, we all learned from school is quoted saying “I shall return.” In which he did, unlike our exes. Despite now being in ruins, the barracks are still accessible for tourists to visit.
General Douglas MacArthur Statue
Speaking of General MacArthur, you definitely have to check out the life-size bronze statue made in his likeness. It can be found near where it is believed that the General departed Corregidor, Lorcha Dock. You can find his famous words engraved on the statue’s platform.
Pacific War Memorial
At the highest point of the island of 210m, you’ll find the Pacific War Memorial. Built by the Americans to serve as a shrine to the thousands of lives claimed from both sides of the conflict. The shrine consists of a symbolic metal flames along with a dome that was designed to catch the sun on the day the island fell. You can also find a small museum in the area that houses medals, photos, gas masks, Japanese pistols, and samurai swords used in the battle.
The Battery Hearn
When you’re at an army base, you’re bound to see some big guns. And this is exactly what the Battery Hearn is. The biggest gun on Corregidor Island is armed with 4 12-inch mortars on a platform that rotates 360 degrees. The giant gun can fire up to a range of 27 kilometers with a 454.5 kilogram shell. To put it simply, if the gun was fired in Manila, it could reach up to Bacoor, Cavite. The gun was named after the American Brigadier General, Clint C. Hearn and is one of the last major artilleries along with its twin, Battery Smith, that was built on Corregidor. If you want an Instagram photo hugging huge guns, the Battery Hearn has you covered.
First built during the colonization of the Spanish during the 1850s at the peak of Corregidor, it was used to guide mariners as since its construction. During World War II, the lighthouse was severely damaged when the Japanese bombarded Corregidor. It was demolished a hundred years after and then reconstructed with the bricks left from the aftermath of the Japanese attack. From the top of the lighthouse, you get a full 360-view of the island, the South China Sea, Manila Bay, and the surrounding provinces of Cavite and Bataan. On clear days, you also get to see the Metro Manila skyline.
Japanese Garden of Peace
On the tail side of the island, you’ll find another popular tourist spot, the Japanese Garden of Peace. Built for the purpose of honoring soldiers who died during the battle regardless of which side they’re from — whether they’re Japanese, American, or Filipino. The park hosts shrines and prayer areas, as well as a pavillion that is home to several photos and memorabilias. The garden also serves as a symbol of peace and friendship between Japan and the Philippines. You can also find a Buddha monument which is believed to be a fertility idol.
Filipino Heroes Memorial
Also located at the island’s tail end is the Filipino Heroes Memorial. Considered to be one of the newer installations in Corregidor, this landmark was built to honor the courage of the Filipino soldiers who stood up and fought for the country’s freedom. On one wing you’ll find a museum that houses old photographs of the late president Manuel L. Quezon, paintings by Lideo Mariano that portrayed World War II, and miniatures of Corregidor.
For an extra fee of 200PHP, you get to learn more about the battle in Corregidor through a lights and sounds show at the Malinta Tunnel. Spanning 24 feet wide and 835 feet long, it is believed that it took the Americans 10 years to complete the tunnel, which got it’s name from the several leeches they found when it was dug during 1922 with “Malinta” meaning “lot of leeches”. It was designed to hold huge quantities of supplies such as food and ammunition during the war, along with an underground hospital which boasts a capacity of up to 1,000 beds. Works scripted by acclaimed film director and National Artist Lamberto Avellana, and sculptures from National Artist Napoleon Abueva are also showcased during the tour.
Not only is the Philippines a country rich in hidden gems of nature, it also comes with a rich history and culture that is so diverse. Corregidor is only one of the many historical landmarks that you should check out. Corregidor is the perfect destination for those who want to get out of the metro for a while and educate themselves. Check out Sun Cruises Philippines for trip schedules from Metro Manila going to the island.