As a soldier, I am quite interested in military history. Some of my role models are warriors who carved their name in our country's colorful history showing their exceptional gallantry in defending our land against foreign aggression. While searching for tales about heroism in combat, Corregidor always come into mind. It is located about 30 nautical miles southwest of Manila. It is approximately 2 miles from the coast of Alas-asin in Bataan. My first visit here was sometime in 2002.
Corregidor island is shaped like a tadpole. There are at least two versions about the origin of its name. Oral traditions tell us that the name is taken from Spanish term 'El Corregidor' (The Correctional), because the island used to be a correctional prison during the Spanish times.
The dock site of the Sun Set Cruises ferry that carries tourists towards this historical island-fortress, is located near the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Roxas Boulevard, Manila. You can either book your trip through its website or you can directly buy the ticket from this office.
Upon arrival, you will be given tags and tickets indicating your seat number in the sea craft and the number designation of the tour bus in the island. My travel companions are set to 'invade' the island like what the returning G.I.s did when they reclaimed the fortress from the Japanese. We were booked in the first trip which departs at 7:00am.
We were among the excited visitors that day. I also spotted some American soldiers and Asian visitors from Japan and Korea.
This is the view inside the sea craft. A crew member demonstrates the correct way to employ the life vest during emergencies. I paid attention on the excellent view outside.
This is the view of San Jose village where our boat docked. I can only imagine that the small hill in the middle was probably manned by snipers and Cal 50 HMG gunners, with interlocking fields of fire.
This place is dedicated to all Filipino heroes who fought against foreign invaders starting from the time of the Spanish colonial times.
You can see the heroism of our forefathers as depicted in the murals. I was reminded of the important event in 1899 which sparked the Filipino-American war.
I visited the Pacific War Memorial which was built by the US in tribute to the officers and men who perished during its campaign in the Pacific region.I reviewed my history lesson through the pictures which were put on display inside the museum.
This is the headquarters of the American Forces called Fort Mills. About 25 meters in front of this headquarters lies the flagpole that was taken from a Spanish ship which was captured during the Spanish-American war(call it a war memorabilia). The photo installed in its base shows the flag raising ceremony after the island was retaken by the US forces. Gen Mc Arthur attended the hoisting of the flag.
(Most of the photos are taken by Sgt Joey Baniatan of the Office of the Army Chief Public Affairs)