The cultural tour is deserving of the amount we spent. My Isla Corregidor experience signified a bonding time for me, my mom, and my best friends. I have loads of photos that can sum up my experience in Corregidor, and I hate to tire my readers with my tendencies of platitude, which can fill another entire page. I’ll get down with the highlights, I have never seen canyons, in enormous sizes scattered on the sides of the roads unmoved and partly buried as if they are just ordinary giant pieces of steel. But I have to say this. Although it seems mawkish, it makes the entire historical vibe authentic, and that deserves reverence.
Our ferry sailed for over an hour and 45 minutes from the seaside terminal to Corregidor island’s bay. We were welcomed by several Trams (that don’t run on tracks) with the other sightseers who were mostly Japanese and Americans with a few Koreans, and Europeans. Separating the tourists in batches, each Tram is numbered. We joined a group of friendly Americans on Tram number five. Half of the day we spent visiting the ruins of the remaining establishments in the area before we proceeded to the hotel for our lunch. Although I’m impressed how everybody was able to endure the temperature that day, the dehydration starved me. I cared less while pigging out on lunch eating two full bowls of baked spuds, five fish fillets, and a huge bowl of watermelons. The food was delicious, and it was also enjoyable watching foreigners eating local food especially rice because I don’t get to see that every day.
Perhaps, Corregidor was the most imperative coastal artillery in the Philippines back then because the moment I laid my eyes on the island, my subconsciousness seemed to have engulfed back in the time when the American forces gained control over the country’s arm forces, it was an island entirely for the military. During the deadly years of World War II, this volcanic caldera which formerly served as a harbor defense of the country. Against any intruders prowling stealthily in the southwestern seas of Luzon, Corregidor was notorious. I must say, it was of a good fluke that we were led by the best tour guide in Corregidor. Armando’s love and knowledge of the war dazzled me. From the old photos of children impaled in bayonets and the huge empty cartridges he carries with him from decades old large firearms. It was entertaining how he delivers jokes in between his narrative of the island’s ruling period before it declined upon the arrival of the Japanese military.
It was a little scary when the tram started sloping up and down the skyward roads, my thoughts were fidgeting with the wheels, our weight, and the freaking gravity! We passed through random tunnels which were a great distraction and some ruins of small buildings that are still standing proud. They are almost unnoticed because of how small they look now. There was even another one we saw on an islet, right across the island. The Malinta tunnel is an uncanny element of the island. You can feel right away the somewhat disturbing vibe as soon as you go in. I’m certain it isn’t for a fact that a tunnel is hollow because I’m not claustrophobic. Perhaps, the experience might actually have been seriously eerie if only the tourist guides and caretakers were not there. Nevertheless, it’s likely due of the tunnel’s horrid residual memory, moreover, heightened by the creepy side tunnels. The part that is most striking for me is the long stretch of lawn occupied by the ruins of a once a central infirmary.
Special thanks to the office of Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone (TIEZA), and for Sir Mark Lapid for making it possible for us to experience the tour.