Beyond History: A Travel Guide to Corregidor Island

Thursday, June 02, 2016 Justin Vawter 1 Comments


If you are a history buff, Corregidor Island will always be part of your travel buck list. The history that bounds the island is worth learning. During my visit, I realized that not everything is written on history books. Some of them you learn while traveling.


Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island

Located 48 kilometers from Manila, the most convenient way of going to the island is via a ferry boat (Sun Cruises) which takes around an hour of travel time. Although Corregidor is very near, it's not really that cheap. One day tour which includes a round trip ferry boat transfer, guide and buffet lunch costs already around Php 2,350.00 on weekdays and Php 2,549.00 on weekends. For budget travelers, this is a lot. It's almost equivalent to a 3D2N stay at Baguio City. But upon leaving the island, I realized how much everything was worth it. The amount of knowledge you get plus the amazing view and don't forget the creepy stories is just priceless.

En Route to The Rock


Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island

Corregidor Island is also called as "The Rock" because of its rocky formation, It has a tadpole shape (more like a sperm cell to be honest haha!) and it's divided into four parts: the top, middle, bottom and tail. To get to the island, we boarded the Sun Cruises ferry boat which was my first ever ferry ride. After arriving at the island, we immediately boarded the coaches which resembles the old train coaches of the island. It was one of the first to have a full working railway system.

Contrary to what everyone knows, Corregidor is part of Cavite not Bataan. All my life I was thinking that it was part of Bataan but we were corrected.

Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island


Behind the History


Although we've tackled Corregidor, I didn't really pay attention to its importance. All I just know is that it's a popular place to go ghost hunting especially that a lot of Japanese died in the island. During the tour, I've learned a lot and realized the great role Corregidor played in our battle for independence. According to our guide, the guides are divided into two: the regular and the Japanese. Apparently, they do another guide to Japanese visitors. They have in-house guides that can speak Nihongo fluently. The reason behind this is that, well, there are two sides to every story. (I actually find it nice that there are a lot of Japanese tourists there. Their passion for history and culture is just impeccable.) 

Corregidor, being strategically located at the entrance of Manila Bay, served as the the headquarters of the Allied forces and also the seat of the Philippine Commonwealth government. 

The Dark Side of the Tunnel


Corregidor Island

The battle in Corregidor was very tragic, way more tragic than what I expected especially the death scenes at the Malinta Tunnel. The tunnel took 10 years to finish (1922-1932). It was built to serve as a bomb proof shelter. It was named "Malinta" (literally translates to: many leeches; linta = leech) because it was filled with leeches during the time it was being dug and constructed.

Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island


The tunnel has a great planning. Its complex design has helped the tunnel survive up to this very day. The main tunnel splits into laterals which again splits into multiple laterals and so on and so forth. This makes the tunnel hard to conquer. It served as their storage facility and later housed a 1,000-bed hospital. Our guide recounts the incidents that happened within the tunnel which were both gruesome and unimaginable.

When the re-taking of the island happened on February 1945, the American troops successfully secured both ends of the tunnel trapping the Japanese soldiers inside. With firearms, tanks and flamethrowers at the end of the tunnel, you can just imagine the terrible situation and what happened next. The Japanese soldiers were trapped for 8 days until they all committed suicide by bombing themselves. This act shows the respect and loyalty they have for their government and leader: an act of no surrender. In order to make sure no one goes out alive, Americans set the entire tunnel on fire.

Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island


Listening to the stories of our guide was already hair-raising but going inside the tunnel was another story. I'm a fan of ghost stories and I love watching horror movies. I didn't really feel anything weird inside the tunnel but you can really feel the cold and eerie atmosphere. The silence was a bit deafening and you can instantly imagine soldiers running around. Inside, life-sized statues are placed depicting scenes of the war.


A Tour of the Island



Since my visit was not really a trip but more of a travel assignment, I had limited time because I need to do my task first. Also, our time was divided so we could cover the Guerilla Race event but here's a quick guide to the island.

Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island

Filipino War Memorial



The Filipino War Memorial feature murals depicting stories of the great battle. It was designed by Francisco MaƱosa, one of the best Filipino architects. There's also a museum which showcase paintings depicting scenes from the battle.

Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island



Battery Way and Barracks




This is one place you wouldn't want to miss. The ruins tell a story. It's both fascinating and creepy at the same time.

Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island


The Hotel



The usual tour comes with a buffet lunch at the hotel where you can also stay overnight.

Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island


How to Go Here



The easiest and most convenient way to go to Corregidor Island is by booking via Sun Cruises. They're the only recognized tour operator and also the only hotel in the island. There are no permanent resident in the island except for caretakers and workers.

To go to the ferry terminal, just ride a bus going to SM Mall of Asia and drop off at the complex. The terminal is just a walking distance from the mall complex.

Fees and Rates



Here are the current fees and rates of Sun Cruises:

A. Day Tour Package: Daily

Inclusions: Roundtrip ferry transfers; shrine and entrance fees; guided island tour and buffet lunch

Day Tour Weekday Adult Rate - Php2,350.00/person
Day Tour Weekend* Adult Rate - Php2,549.00/person
Day Tour Child Rate (3-11 yo) - Php1,500.00/person
*Weekend rate applies to Saturday, Sunday and Holiday trips

B. Overnight Room Rate (On top of the day tour package)

Single with Breakfast - Php1,500.00
Twin/ Double with Breakfast for two - Php2,000.00
Extra Person with Breakfast - Php750.00

C. Corregidor Historical Walking Tour

Inclusions: Roundtrip ferry transfers; shrine and entrance fees; guided walking tour - Php1,800.00/person

D. Corregidor Adventure

Inclusions: Roundtrip ferry transfers; shrine and entrance fees; packed lunch; Corregidor Adventure (Race) - Php2,149.00/person

E. Corregidor Ferry Transfers

Inclusions: Roundtrip ferry transfers; shrine and entrance fees;
Ferry Transfers Weekday Rate - Php1,400.00/person
Ferry Transfers Weekend* Rate - Php1,500.00/person
*Weekend rate applies to Saturday, Sunday and Holiday trips

Optional Activities:

Lights and Sound Show at Malinta Tunnel - Php100.00/person*
The Rocket (Zipline) - Php100.00/person
Outdoor Activities (Sunset and Sunrise viewing, Tunnel Lateral Tour) - Php250.00/person
Kayaking - Php500.00/hr.
ATVs (All-terrain vehicle) - Php500.00/hr.


0700  Check-in time & Boarding time
0800  ETD Manila
0915  ETA Corregidor (Guided tour with Lunch)
1430  ETD Corregidor
1545  ETA Manila

Note: Check-in counter opens 1 hour before scheduled time of departure and strictly close 30 minutes before departure. Passengers who arrive after the cut-off time will not be allowed to go on board.

You may book online at www.corregidorphilippines.com.

Special thanks to Supremo (read my Full Review here) for bringing me here. Action cam photos shot using #Supremo1.

Cheers~!

- Justin -

1 comment:

  1. I wanted to thank you for this great read. I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.

    ReplyDelete