Tuesday, October 4, 2011

a day at corregidor island

One of my dreams was to visit the places that I only see in books and tv when I was a little school girl. I know that it is a big dream but I'm in no hurry and I'm already ecstatic to go to these places one at a time. I was able to visit one of the most famous landmarks in the Philippines - Corregidor.

I was able to score a good deal when I went to the PTAA travel fair in February. Sun Cruises offers Corregidor day trip with lunch buffet for $1999 and during the travel fair they're offering it for P1500/pax plus a free dinner cruise along Manila Bay which would cost P550/pax, it was a saving of almost P1000. We arrived at the Sun Cruises office in Harbor Square beside the CCP. There were shuttles that will bring you to the docking area near the floating restaurant. We left at exactly 8:15AM.

It’s good to know that there were a lot of Filipinos on board and a handful of foreigners as well. There were even a dozen of teenagers and later we found out that they’re on the Conquer Corregidor challenge and from what I have heard it’s like a team building ala-amazing race activity that groups may enjoy. Passengers were given designated seat number but you may go upstairs to the viewing deck. 30 minutes before reaching Corregidor one of the crews will be giving instructions regarding tramvia designations. I strongly suggest you take note of this, you don’t want to end up like Jayjay and me (I’ll tell you later hehe).

We arrived at Corregidor Island at 9:30AM I was surprised to know that Corregidor was actually part of Cavite and not Bataan. There were no human inhabitants in the island except for some caretakers and only Sun Cruises has exclusive tours in Corregidor and some of the employees stay at Corregidor Inn.
approaching corregidor island
tramvias and guides waiting for us
Just like what I’ve told you make sure to listen or to write down the tramvia assignements while you’re still in the boat. I think it was due to excitement (feeling naming katangahan talaga e hehe) when jayjay and I just jumped to one of the tramvias without looking at its number. We looked at each other when after 5 minutes no tourist guide was showing us the beauty and history of Corregidor. Then we stopped at an area where organizers holding plastic cups and timer and pole and other stuff were waiting. Jayjay and I looked at each other and laugh (“Ay ngangna! Maling tramvia!”). It was the tramvia for the Conquer Corregidor participants! I humbly approached the driver and told him about our situation, he asked us with a hint of sarcasm if we were not listening while the crew on the boat discusses the tramvia assignments, we just smiled innocently. He told us no problem and drove us back and when he saw one of the tramvias he told the tour guide regarding our situation and again we just smiled innocently hehe.

wrong tramvia
correct tramvia!
When the tour guide started telling stories (un ang hinahanap ko!) I felt like I was back in grade school. However there were a lot of things that he mentioned that were not even taught in school, experience is truly a great teacher! Jayjay grew up with his WWII veteran grandfather and he was now seeing in person the places, ammunitions and guns that his grandfather told them (though I think they still have some of these at their home hehe).

the mile-long barrack
storage for ammunitions
biggest and longest weapon

We passed by several ruins that used to be the barracks of the soldiers and stopped by several cannons, artillery batteries, big guns, memorials and the war museum each with its own unique historical story and I was impressed with our tour guide he was really good and very funny as well.

battery way
one of corregidor's "disappearing guns"
pacific war memorial
The tour was very organized, there will only be one group in one location at a time and each stop took 10 to 15 minutes so you will not worry about bumping into too many tourists and lose the chance of a good photo op hehe. There were also comfort rooms and souvenir shops at some of the stops.

the chapel
the monument of eternal flame
war museum
the lighthouse
You may climb up the lighthouse and get a good overlooking view of the island and neighboring provinces. You need to climb the steep staircase but it will be worth it on top. I did not stay too long on top, I was a little afraid of heights hehe.
souvenir shops
"I shall return"
We took our lunch at 12:00NN at the Corregidor Inn. It was a buffet lunch and we took a spot overlooking the island and nearby Bataan. The food was good, there were 3 entrees and a dessert area. We resumed the tour after an hour and went to one of the friendship parks where Japanese soldiers were buried and to a park built in honor Filipinas who also participated in the war (go pinays!).

lunch time!
The last stop was the Malinta Tunnel with a light and audio visual show inside. There’s a fee of P150 to enjoy the show. I’ve read and heard before that you may skip this one. Jayjay and I actually planned that we will skip this but what the heck we’re already here and we don’t know when we could have the free chance to be here again.

Inside you will stop at each side door opening and there were statues and voice over with lighting effects depicting what happened during the war era. It was cold inside and when the lights were off it can get a little scary knowing that so many people died there. The show was about 20-30 minutes and when we went out at the other side our tramvia was waiting for us. 

Overall the tour for me was worth the money and time. Not just for the sake of saying that you went to Corregidor but for the fact that we will not be enjoying the freedom that we Filipinos have if not for those soldiers and civilians who fought for the Philippines. Our country may have all the problems and challenges but that will not make me be ashamed of it. Change should start from each and every one of us. I am one true proud Filipino!

special thanks to jayjay - my forever travelmate (awww!)

Make sure to note the tramvia assignments, there were tramvias also with Japanese and Korea speaking tour guide.

There are photographers who will take your pictures and offer you to buy it for P100 each (just like in graduations) but you have the option to decline it. I bought ours it was a good picture.

Bring water and extra shirt, it can get so tiring hot.

You may check out http://www.corregidorphilippines.com/ for Corregidor tours


tanya said...

i love love love your blog and pictures mot!!! kinakareeer!!!!

Makati Apartments said...

Historical place in philippine !!Nice pictures .