A Fun-Filled, Family Day in Corregidor

After breakfast at La Playa Restaurant, we all weighed the activity options available for us on the island and they had quite a few – ziplining, ATV (All-Terrain Vehicles), swimming (beach or swimming pool), hiking and sea kayaking.  We opted to try the first two. A ride at the ROCKet Zipline, a first for everyone except me (I’ve tried it twice before in previous visits to the island) would set us back PhP100 each. The zipline system actually originated in Europe and and was used to cross mountain ranges.

Jandy and I donning our gear

Jandy and I donning our gear

We proceeded to the zipline’s jump-off point, 40-ft. high, amphitheater-like ravine just outside the Corregidor Inn. I took first crack at it, donning a seat harness which was strapped around the waist and thighs, then was clipped into a double-pulley system with a backup line. Once suited up, I walked to the edge where I stood on a raised platform then was unceremoniously shoved down  the 655-ft. long free-fall cable line.

Ready, get set  ........

Ready, get set ……..

Go .........!!!!!!!

Go ………!!!!!!!

Propelled by gravity, I literally flew through the air, so to speak, as I sped past nearby trees, spreading my arms wide and turning around to face the sea, as I was cheered on by my family.  Near the end, 2 brakes slow down your travel as I approached the 16-ft. high receiving platform at South Beach where a guide assisted me in getting off the zip-line system.

Grace

Grace

Marve

Marve

Cheska

Cheska

Then it was Grace’s turn to try out this  25-second adrenaline rush which traversed just about half of the narrowest point of the island.   She was followed by Marve, Cheska and, lastly, Jandy. Truly a nice, first-time experience for all of them.  I wished it were a longer ride but this was not possible, as I would end up in the sea.

Marve, Kyle and Cheska on their ATVs

Marve, Kyle and Cheska on their ATVs

And they're off .....!!!!!

And they’re off …..!!!!!

It just so happened that the receiving platform at South Beach was conveniently located beside the parking area for the ATVs.  There were 10 4-wheeled, off-road ATVs for us to rent (at PhP500/hr. or PhP300 for 30 mins.).  We picked out two ATVs and Cheska and Marve took first crack at it.  But first, they had to don helmets, knee guards and elbow guards plus listen to our guide as he instructed us on how to use it.

Grace

Grace

Marve

Marve

Soon, both were off to the man-made, winding and bumpy dirt track especially blazed through the grassy field for that purpose.  Grace took over from Cheska followed by Jandy while  I took over from Marve.  It all fun, especially for Jandy who rode the longest.  It was my second time to ride an ATV, but I was still wary driving it over rocks, thinking I would topple over.

Jandy

Jandy

Cheska

Cheska

We soon had our fill after nearly an hour and we were already hungry, so we hied off back to La Playa Restaurant where we had a very late lunch.

Sun Cruises, Inc. (SCI) – Reservation Office: CCP Terminal A, CCP Complex, Roxas Blvd., Manila.  Tel: (632) 831-8140 and (632) 834-6857 to 58.  Fax: (632) 834-1523.  E-mail: suncruises@magsaysay.com.ph.

Sun Cruises, Inc. (SCI) – Sales Office: 21/F,  Times Plaza Bldg., Ermita, Manila.  Tel: (632) 527-5555 local 4511 and 4512.  Fax: (632) 527-5555 local 4513.  E-mail: sales@suncruises.com.ph.

Japanese Garden of Peace Park (Corregidor Island)

The 2.2-hectare Japanese Garden of Peace Park is a Shinto shrine and garden built as a memorial to the Japanese soldiers who served and died on the island during World War II.  The garden was the site of the only cemetery, built by the Americans, in Asia where Japanese soldiers, who perished during World War II, were accorded proper burial rites as a sign of respect for the dead.

Caballo Island - the view that led to the discovery of the cemetery

Caballo Island – the view that led to the discovery of the cemetery

Its location was lost among the rubble of war until a photo of the cemetery was found, possibly by a GI, and bought in a garage sale in the U.S.. The clue that led them to the exact spot, in spite of the overgrown forest, was the view of Caballo Island in the distance.

Japanese Garden of Peace

Japanese Garden of Peace

Their remains were later unearthed, cremated and sent back to Japan for their own burial rites.  As such, this garden is on the Japanese tourist route but is rarely visited by Americans.  In fact, the Americans and Japanese have different sets of tours and are never joined together in large groups.

Pavilion and souvenir shops

Pavilion and souvenir shops

The park includes a praying area for Japanese war veterans and the families and relatives of Japanese soldiers who served or were killed in Corregidor during World War II.  A small pavilion houses mounted photographs (including the discovered cemetery photo) and memorabilia.dedicated to the crew of the Japanese super battleship Musashi which sank on October 24, 1944 during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

Jibo-Kannon stone Buddha and its reflecting pool

The Jibo-Kannon stone Buddha and its reflecting pool

This garden also features a towering, 10-ft. high Jibo-Kannon stone Buddha, showing a Japanese woman holding her baby while two toddlers tug at her skirt.  Beside it is a reflecting pool.  The stone Buddha is said to be a fertility idol and quite a few couples visit the island just to touch the statue in hopes of bearing a child.

The Jibo-Kannon stone Buddha

The Jibo-Kannon stone Buddha

Tribute to the Brave Heroes

Tribute to the Brave Heroes

On the edge of the hill are a battery of Japanese anti-aircraft guns facing out to sea. Nearby is a cliff where Japanese defenders committed suicide.  Around are other Japanese soldier memorial shrines and various markers with Japanese inscriptions, including one dedicated to Vice-Adm. Tetuo Akiyama.

Japanese Anti-Aircraft Guns

Japanese Anti-Aircraft Guns

Japanese suicide cliff

Japanese suicide cliff

Also within the garden is a souvenir shop with items such as old Japanese and American currencies, some old photographs, printed t-shirts, key chains, beverages and snacks. The construction of this garden was made possible through funds generated by a Japan-based private group.

Tetuo Akiyama Marker

Tetuo Akiyama Marker

Various markers with Japanese inscriptions

Various markers with Japanese inscriptions

Sun Cruises, Inc. (SCI) – Reservation Office: CCP Terminal A, CCP Complex, Roxas Blvd., Manila.  Tel: (632) 831-8140 and (632) 834-6857 to 58.  Fax: (632) 834-1523.  E-mail: suncruises@magsaysay.com.ph.

Sun Cruises, Inc. (SCI) – Sales Office: 21/F,  Times Plaza Bldg., Ermita, Manila.  Tel: (632) 527-5555 local 4511 and 4512.  Fax: (632) 527-5555 local 4513.  E-mail: sales@suncruises.com.ph.

Filipino Heroes Memorial (Corregidor Island)

Our Corregidor Island tour included visits to the Japanese Garden of Peace and the Filipino Heroes Memorial, both a first for me as well as the rest of my family.

Filipino Heroes Memorial

Filipino Heroes Memorial

Our first stop was the Filipino Heroes Memorial, one of the most recent additions to Corregidor.  This is a 6,000-sq. m. complex at Tailside designed by Arch. Francisco Mañosa and inaugurated on August 28, 1992 by Pres. Fidel V. Ramos.  It consists of 14 murals, chronologically encircling the park, done by sculptor Manuel Casal.  It depicts famous as well as obscure heroes who revolted and battled heroically through the centuries; from the Battle of Mactan (1521) to the People Power Revolt at EDSA (1986).

The Battle of Mactan

The Battle of Mactan

EDSA Revolution

EDSA Revolution

Other murals depicted include Datu Sirongan and Sultan Kudarat in Mindanao (16th to 17th century),  the Bankao’s Apostasy in Leyte (1621), Sumuroy Rebellion (1645-50), the Dagohoy Revolt (1744), the Palaris Revolt in Pangasinan (1782), Diego and Gabriela Silang in the Ilocos (1763), the Hermano Pule Revolt (1840-41), the Philippine Revolution (1896), the Filipino-American War of 1899, World War II and the Guerilla Movement.

Dagohoy Revolt

Dagohoy Revolt

Hermano Pule Revolt

Hermano Pule Revolt

Filipino-American War

Filipino-American War

World War II

World War II

A statue of a Filipino guerrilla was also sculpted by Manuel Casal. A piece of trivia we gathered from our tour guide was that, during the Japanese Occupation, Filipinos guerillas and spies disguised themselves as farmers. To distinguish the farmer from the guerilla, the Japanese employed the palm test: True farmers have hard, calloused palms, guerillas didn’t. There is a room dedicated to photos of prominent Filipinos who died for freedom and liberty.

Statue of the Filipino Guerilla

Statue of the Filipino Guerilla

Beside the Filipino Heroes Memorial is a small park dedicated to President Sergio Osmena, the second president of the Philippine Commonwealth. Erected in this park is the statue of Osmena which was inaugurated on May 23, 1998 through the efforts of the Corregidor Foundation and the Cebu Newspaper Workers’ Foundation with the assistance of the late Sen. Marcelo B. Fernan.

Statue of Pres. Sergio Osmena

Statue of Pres. Sergio Osmena

Sun Cruises, Inc. (SCI) – Reservation Office: CCP Terminal A, CCP Complex, Roxas Blvd., Manila.  Tel: (632) 831-8140 and (632) 834-6857 to 58.  Fax: (632) 834-1523.  E-mail: suncruises@magsaysay.com.ph.

Sun Cruises, Inc. (SCI) – Sales Office: 21/F,  Times Plaza Bldg., Ermita, Manila.  Tel: (632) 527-5555 local 4511 and 4512.  Fax: (632) 527-5555 local 4513.  E-mail: sales@suncruises.com.ph.

Pacific War Memorial Museum (Corregidor Island)

Our Corregidor Island tour included a 30-min. stopover at the Pacific War Memorial and, since I’ve been here before, decided to spend a much longer time to explore its small, bunker-like, modest and airconditioned marble museum, located behind the Cine Corregidor ruins.  This museum is the repository of relics and memorabilia related to the history of Corregidor, all found after the war.

Pacific War Memorial Museum

Pacific War Memorial Museum

At the entrance is a guard dressed in a Commonwealth Period-style uniform similar to the Philippine Scout.  An old tattered US flag with only 45 (Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii weren’t even states yet) stars welcomed me at the entrance.

The museum interior with mural in background

The museum interior with mural in background

A 45-star American flag

A 45-star American flag

The museum had a lot of glass cases displaying valuable items, with descriptive information, such as  a lot of interesting black-and-white wartime photos of some battles at Corregidor; actual military uniforms of U.S. and Japanese soldiers, all worn by mannequins which highlight their height difference;  a ship’s signal-flag, and medals of war.

30 caliber, water-cooled machine gun

30 caliber, water-cooled machine gun

A 191 mm. mortar

A 191 mm. mortar

An anti-tank weapon

An anti-tank weapon

Weapons from World War II and used by both sides included rifles, mortars, bombs, machine guns (30 caliber, air-cooled or water-cooled machine guns, 50 caliber, water-cooled anti-aircraft machine gun, etc.), a 55 mm. anti-tank gun, mortars (60 mm. mortar, 191 mm. mortar, etc.), cannons, an army trench knife found on Denver Hill in 1992 (with the engraving U.S. 1918), a 1917 model (type CRM-51027) field telephone of the US Army Signal Corps; etc..

War photos

War photos

Not that related to World War II but nevertheless important is a book entitled “Souvenir of the 8th Army Corps Philippine Expedition” and a hand-embroidered tapestry, both donated to the museum by Douglas Bello of Los Angeles, California, USA.  He inherited these materials from his great-uncle who was part of Adm. George Dewey’s fleet during the Battle of Manila Bay.

Souvenir of the 8th Army Corps Philippine Expedition

Souvenir of the 8th Army Corps Philippine Expedition

Also on display are scaled models of World War II aircraft (B-24 Liberator, B-25 Mitchell, B-26 Marauder, P-38 Lighting, P-51 Mustang, etc.), and ships and Philippine Commonwealth Era and Japanese Occupation currency as well as U.S. and Asian coins.  A large mosaic covering a whole wall depicts Corregidor and the battles that were fought there, a map of the Pacific campaign and a diagram of the Allied Offensive that eventually retook the Philippines and won the war .

Model of B-24 Liberator

Model of B-24 Liberator

Model of B-25 Mitchell

Model of B-25 Mitchell

I spent more than a few moments pondering the personal items on display which really drew me into the experience of a soldier during war, making it a shared experience.  They include identification cards; belt buckles, badges, diaries; dog tags of both American and Filipino soldiers, displayed side-by-side; and random items carried by soldiers into battle (chocolate bars, food tins, morphine ampules, etc.), Japanese scissors found in Corregidor by Lt. Dick Williams; a period Coca-Cola bottle; music discs (the size of a plate); and a rice canteen used by the Japanese during the war.

Gen. George M. Jones dress uniform

Gen. George M. Jones dress uniform

There’s also a pair of combat boots and dress uniform (as brigadier-general) belonging to then Col. George M. Jones, commander of the 503rd Regimental Combat Team that retook Corregidor from the Japanese on February 16, 1945.  Letters written by soldiers document the struggle to hold Corregidor.  There’s also a letter written by Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright to U.S. Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt acknowledging Corregidor’s surrender.

Display of cutlery and china

Display of cutlery and china

The museum also has a documentary film projection room and a souvenir shop.

Sun Cruises, Inc. (SCI) – Reservation Office: CCP Terminal A, CCP Complex, Roxas Blvd., Manila.  Tel: (632) 831-8140 and (632) 834-6857 to 58.  Fax: (632) 834-1523.  E-mail: suncruises@magsaysay.com.ph.

Sun Cruises, Inc. (SCI) – Sales Office: 21/F,  Times Plaza Bldg., Ermita, Manila.  Tel: (632) 527-5555 local 4511 and 4512.  Fax: (632) 527-5555 local 4513.  E-mail: sales@suncruises.com.ph.

A Family Trip to Corregidor

For the fifth time around I was again traveling back to historic Corregidor Island but, this time, I was traveling with my loved ones – my wife Grace, my son Jandy, my daughter Cheska, my 1 year old grandson Kyle and Cheska’s fiancée Marve. With an overnight stay at Corregidor Inn included in our package, it was going to be a true family outing.

My family at Battery Way

My family at Battery Way

Exploring Battery Hearn

Exploring Battery Hearn

This was to be Grace and Jandy’s second visit to Corregidor and the first for the rest. It being a long weekend, the 150-pax, airconditioned MV Sun Cruiser II was fully booked, with chance passengers waiting on the sidelines. We left the Sun Cruises Terminal a little past 8 AM and, after a 26-km. journey, arrived on the island in a little over an hour.

Author at ruins of Middleside Barracks

Author at ruins of Middleside Barracks

Our tranvia (pre-war-styled street cars) tour bus No. 5 awaited us upon our arrival at North Dock. Our guided tour again consisted of short stopovers at Battery Way (four 12” mortars capable of firing in any direction), Battery Hearns (a 12” seacoast gun), ruins of Middleside and “Mile Long” Barracks, the Spanish Lighthouse (where Grace, Marve, Cheska and Jandy climbed to the top), the famous flagpole and the Pacific War Memorial (with its museum and steel wing-shaped “Eternal Flame” sculpture).

Cheska and Marve at Malinta Tunnel

Cheska and Marve at Malinta Tunnel

Kyle and Grace at South Beach

Kyle and Grace at South Beach

Marve, Cheska and Jandy availed of the optional, 30-min., vividly-staged  light and sound show called the “Malinta Experience” (PhP200/pax), a re-enactment of dramatic World War II events.  As they started the show from the east entrance, while Grace, Kyle and I were driven to South Beach where Kyle frolicked on the gray sand.  Back in our bus, we met up with the others at the tunnel’s west entrance.  This culminated our island tour.

Author at the Pacific War Memorial

Author at the Pacific War Memorial

Jandy at the Memorial altar

Jandy at the Memorial altar

Cheska, Kyle, Marve and Jandy at the Eternal Flame

Cheska, Kyle, Marve and Jandy at the Eternal Flame

Finally, we were driven to the 31-room Corregidor Inn where a filling buffet lunch awaited us at La Playa Restaurant.  We were allowed to check into our suite by 2 PM and, as I climbed the stairs, I noticed framed copied of 2 of my Business Mirror articles (“Adventure Island” and “Adventour Challenge: Corregidor’s Amazing Race”) hung by the stair landing.  Quite flattering to say the least.  I hope to add a third with this visit.

Check out “Hotel and Inn Review: Corregidor Inn

Adventure Island

Adventure Island

Adventour Challenge: Corregidor's Amazing Grace

Adventour Challenge: Corregidor’s Amazing Grace

The first time I stayed overnight at the inn, I checked in at an airconditioned standard twin room with bath (one of 30) but, this time around, we all stayed at the inn’s lone but more opulent and roomy airconditioned  suite located at the end of the hall, equally furnished with exquisite rattan furniture.  It too didn’t have cable TV but we didn’t mind as it allowed for more family bonding time.

The 31-room Corregidor Inn - the best in the island

The 31-room Corregidor Inn – the best in the island

The opulent suite

The opulent suite

Family bonding time at La Playa Restaurant

Family bonding time at La Playa Restaurant

Corregidor Inn: Signal Hill, Brgy. San Jose, Corregidor Island, Cavite.  Mobile number: (0917) 527-6350. E-mail: corregidor_inn@suncruises.com.ph.  Website: www.corregidorphilippines.com/corr_inn.html.

Sun Cruises, Inc. (SCI) – Reservation Office: CCP Terminal A, CCP Complex, Roxas Blvd., Manila.  Tel: (632) 831-8140 and (632) 834-6857 to 58.  Fax: (632) 834-1523.  E-mail: suncruises@magsaysay.com.ph.

Sun Cruises, Inc. (SCI) – Sales Office: 21/F,  Times Plaza Bldg., Ermita, Manila.  Tel: (632) 527-5555 local 4511 and 4512.  Fax: (632) 527-5555 local 4513.  E-mail: sales@suncruises.com.ph.