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Corregidor reinvented as exciting tourist destination

September 20, 2019

For its strategic location at the entrance of Manila Bay, Corregidor Island was historically fortified with coastal artillery to defend the capital from attacks by enemy warships.

During the American colonial period, then called Fort Mills, Corregidor was the largest of the islands that formed the harbor defenses of Manila Bay — along with Fort Drum (El Fraile Island), Fort Hughes (Caballo Island) and Fort Frank Carabao Island).

Corregidor was the center of action during the invasion and liberation from the Japanese forces during World War 2. It became the refuge of then President Manuel Quezon and was the locus of go­vernment as well. It was heavily bombarded during the latter part of World War 2, and the ruins serve as a memorial to American, Filipino and Japanese soldiers who lost their lives on the battlefield.

For many years, with its images of old cannons, hero statues, and war remnants, Corregidor mostly became a stopover for school field trips, for students to know the significance of the island to the history of the Philippines by heart.

However, there’s more to this 358-kilometer island than just being a venue for historical immersion. In recent months, it has reinvented itself as an exciting tourist destination in its own right.

Whether one is a history buff, a beach lover, an adventure seeker, or even an art enthusiast, Corregidor’s endless possibilities definitely inspires the visitor to rediscover this beautiful island.

Here are five reasons why the Isle of Valor is worth of a visit.

A rich tapestry of history

Without a doubt, Corregidor Island is considered as among the most notable heritage sites filled with tremendous historical and cultural value.

As the site of two of the most heroic and crucial battles in World War 2, it continues to hold special significance to all Filipinos for everything that it symbolized.

A must-visit part of the island is Malinta Tunnel, the last stronghold of Philippine and American military forces versus invading Japanese soldiers during the war. In addition to captivating night lateral tours inside the 253-meter long tunnel, visitors can enjoy a light and sound show conceptualized by the late National Artist Lamberto Avellana.

Walk or bike around the island while enjoying the historical sites in Corregidor.
As the last stronghold of Philippine and American military forces versus invading Japanese soldiers in World War 2, the Malinta Tunnel continues to captivate tourists and students on field trips.
With at least three beaches in its expansive territory, it’s definitely summer all year round in Corregidor.
Corregidor is blessed with multifarious flora and fauna and fruit bearing trees, as well as monkeys, geckos and an array of birds that include white-collared kingfishers, zebra doves, Asian glossy starlings and Eurasian tree sparrows.

Other areas that should not be missed include the Mile-long Barracks, touted as the world’s longest military barracks; Japanese Memorial Garden, which serves as a praying ground for the relatives of deceased Japanese soldiers; and the Pacific War Memorial Museum, which has a museum and a dome-shaped shrine and park.

These great sights and captivating stories can be enjoyed through a four-hour tour on board the tranvia.

Activities for both body and mind

Those who want to explore the island at their own pace can opt to walk through history, literally by going from one historical spot to the next.

Apart from being able to stay longer at an area of choice, one can also take as many selfies with a historical site as your backdrop — and achieve the target number of steps as well.

Another option is to go biking around the island — pedalling across the glorious Mile-Long Barracks, whiz past Battery Hearn, or race to the South Beach in style. Not only is biking great for cardiovascular health, it can also afford views not otherwise seen while on a guided tour.

Those looking for more adrenaline rush can join the adventure hikes — there are easy to advance trails available depending on skills and stamina. Gear up to discover secret caves and tunnels and prepare to explore areas that the tranvias cannot reach, such as the Wheeler Tunnel and Battery Hanna. Feel the thrill of reaching the farthest tip of the Corregidor Island’s head and bask in the exquisite views of the Conchita Island and the Bataan Peninsula.

Summer all-year round

Corregidor Island is flanked by at least three beaches in its expansive territory. Its shores practically extend to burgeoning beach destinations such as Morong and Bagac, with its more closed-off borders affording the island’s visitors less constraints and more privacy. The best bet would be South Beach, which is a mere five-minute walk away from the docking bay.

Bring family and friends for a quick beach getaway and swim, go kayaking, ride a raft or organize a barbecue party in one of the cabanas nearby for an authentic summer experience on any day of the year.

Art and photography paradise

For a budding lensman or pro-level camera enthusiast, Corregidor Island provides that much-needed shift in subject matter. An alternative from the usual beaches and the stale shoebox-architecture sensibilities of the metro is to play with plenty of natural light to go around and some of the most breathtaking views the country has to offer. It is a true-blue photographer’s haven, with its diverse flora and fauna, early modern architecture, and unique wartime ephemera.

In addition, Corregidor Island also features sketching walks, wherein a group of illustrators go on a guided tour of scenic locales to draw.

A sanctuary

Beyond war and beyond history, Corregidor Island remains a slice of paradise as evidenced by its multifarious flora and fauna. The well-maintained former camp and base is teeming with fruit-bearing trees.

After a spell of rain, the roads are carpeted in yellow blooms. Monkeys and geckos are constants in the hilly borders. When the skies clear out, an array of birds dot the atmosphere, among them white-collared kingfishers, zebra doves, Asian glossy starlings, and Eurasian tree sparrows.

Spending just one whole day in the island may not be enough — those who want to stay longer can enjoy the idyllic Spanish-villa vibes of Corregidor Inn. The standard rooms offer more-than-standard accoutrements, a view of the island’s stunning greens, and a weekend experience like no other.

What’s more, one can enjoy a delectable breakfast spread or a refreshing kamias or mango shake while comfortably nestled away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

For a destination that is packed full of new sights, extraordinary adventures, and stimulating experiences, Corregidor Island is up for rediscovery now!

CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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