Corregidor Trip, Philippines - LONG WEEKEND!
- Posted June 10, 2008 by Dosflame Viewed 2894 times
Together with my friend, we went to experience Corregidor Island near Manila, Philippines. It is a former military base and played a large part in World War II. It is now a tourist destination particularly targeted to Japanese (Actually, there are Japanese speaking tour guides.).
To get there, you can rent a boat from Bataan that costs 1500 Philippine Pesos. If you don't want the hassle of land transportation, you can go to a little expensive route via a ferry boat (Sun Cruises) that voyages from CCP Complex in Pasay City. It costs 1990 pesos per person for a package day tour around the island. But if you are a little adventurous, you can ask the people at Sun Cruises (they are nice) that you just wanted to pay the fare and not the day tour. It will cost you 500 pesos for a one way ticket which is subject to availability.
Corregidor is a nice place, very quiet and feels like it is not part of the Philippines as tricycles and jeepneys are absent. We camped in the grounds in front of the South beach. Surprisingly, we are the only campers that time. This is a cheaper form of accommodation as you only need to pay 50 pesos per person, per night. Compare that to the Corregidor Inn, the most popular hotel in the island which charges 2500 pesos for a single occupancy room per night. If you want to camp, just pay at the Administration Office near the North Dock. I recommend camping as you can see the stars at night. The sky is clear and the air is refreshing. Just bring any insect repellent lotion and you'll be fine.
Food. Food is a little expensive here. A meal in the Refreshments (yes, it is an establishment near the church which is some sort of a restaurant) ranges from 130 pesos to 250 pesos but their extra rice just costs 15 pesos. A 500ml bottle of water costs 40 pesos in the Corregidor Cove Cafe and the Cooperative store. But if you will walk towards the North Dock, you can see a store that doubles as a mini grocery which you can buy a liter of water for only 40 pesos. They also serve food there, 100 pesos for a simple Lechon Kawali with Rice.
As for the attractions, since we didn't avail of the package tour, we went around the island by foot. I can say it much better than the Tramvia tour because you can breathe the fresh air, see the wild monkeys frolicking from tree to tree and at night, wander at the flickering lights of the fireflies. Just a caution, traveling by foot is not recommended to people who are not used to walking long distances. You can hire a smaller version of Tramvia (a modified jeepney that looks like the real thing.) for 1500 pesos a day (I'm not sure.)
Anyway, if you intend to go on foot, it is better to print a map (Printable map below) of the island prior to your trip or just buy at the Administration office or the souvenir shop near the Old Spanish Lighthouse. It costs only 30 pesos.
For those financially conscious, you can visit all the attractions in the island for FREE, you just can't enjoy the light and sound show in the Malinta Tunnel. Recommended places to visit are 1520 feet long Mile Long Barracks at the Topside, considered as the longest military barracks in the world although it is just a third of a mile long. “I shall return…” General MacArthur once held office here. (Just be careful when you go inside as rubbles seem to fall all the time, better wear a helmet, hehe.), the Middle Side Barracks at the Middleside, for me, looks longer than its counterpart in Topside. It is also more intact and more “regal.” Malinta Tunnel near the Bottomside is a fascinating attraction in the island. This 831 feet long, 24 feet wide and 18 feet high tunnel was constructed in 10 years by 1000 prisoners from the New Bilibid Prisons. During the war, it served as a hospital, office of Gen. MacArthur and the seat of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. Ironically, the tunnel was made from concrete brought from Japan. If you want to see a good sunset, try to go atop the Old Spanish Lighthouse in the Topside. It is the highest point in the island and provides breathtaking views of the surrounding provinces of Cavite and Bataan. You can also go to the Pacific War Memorial located beside the Cine Corregidor and the Old Spanish Lighthouse. Here, every May 6, at noon, an event called Solar Equinox can be seen here where the sun's ray aligns directly to the large marble “altar” underneath the big hole in the dome.
Swimming in the island is quite a good experience. The water is warm and crystal clear. The beach is a bit rocky and has black to grayish white sand. Here, you can collect the infamous blood-splotched rocks. Urban legend dictates that the red blots on the rocks are blood of the thousands who died there. Anyway, I do not believe that but who knows? It can be a good source of IRON. hehe.
There is TDMA signal here (or more popularly known as GSM), just be aware that sometimes, the signal fluctuates, depending in the location.
To sum everything up, I do not want to go back to Manila after experiencing the tranquility of life here where everything seems to stop and move very slowly. Haay, province life… I enjoyed this island more than the very noisy Boracay. Hehe. (Actually, there are no valid grounds for me to create a contrast with Boracay as it is a a real tourist destination, unlike Corregidor which is primarily geared for historical and educational tourism.)
That's all! If you are interested to go to this wonderful island, just ask me, ok?
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