Corregidor

Corregidor

The island of Corregidor (Corrector), 48km southwest of Manila and often referred to as ‘The Rock,’ is a popular day trip from the capital. In the decades after WWII many of the visitors were history buffs and veterans, but now it’s mostly locals who venture out here to enjoy the scenic island and its sweeping views.

            Sights & Activities

There are, as you’d expect, numerous war monuments and ruins on the island. Significant sights include General MacArthur’s HQ, the mile-long barracks, various gun batteries and the Spanish lighthouse, which offers good views over Manila Bay. Also worthwhile is the Japanese Cemetery, which is understated and formal.

Admission to all of the above is included in the packages run by Sun Cruises, Corregidor’s main tour operator. Tours are conducted on open-sided buses modelled on the electric trolleys used by the Americans. Otherwise there are walking tours (P1800 not including lunch), though you won’t cover as much ground.

If you opt to take the ferry but not join the Sun Cruises tour, you can sign up for a more engaging, personalised tour with Old Manila Walks.

Completed in 1932 after 10 years of construction, the Malinta Tunnel ( GOOGLE MAP ) complex is built into the side of a hill and was used by the Americans as a bombproof bunker, for ammunition storage, and also as a hospital. The tunnel spans 250m, with numerous laterals branching off, one of which was used as General MacArthur’s HQ.

The American-built Pacific War Memorial ( GOOGLE MAP ), at the island’s highest point (210m), is a shrine to the thousands from both sides who died in the conflict. There’s a symbolic metal flame and an open-topped dome that catches the sun on 6 May, the day on which the island fell. Also here is a small museum with photos, medals, gas masks, samurai swords and Japanese pistols.

 TRIP PLANNER

Most places around Manila can be visited as a day trip, but considering the time spent getting in and out of the city, it’s better to allow a minimum of two days.

One day If time is short, start early. Good day trips include Corregidor, the canoe trip at Pagsanjan, and Tagaytay.

Two days Possibilities include Tagaytay with a detour to Taal village, scuba diving at Anilao, hiking at Mt Banahaw and climbing Mt Pinatubo.

Three days plus Combine some of the above trips, or head to the burgeoning activity centre at Subic Bay and the Bataan Peninsula.

            Sleeping & Eating

Corregidor InnINN$$

( GOOGLE MAP ; %0917 527 6350; www.corregidorphilippines.com; s/d incl breakfast P1500/2000; as)

This attractive hotel has timber floors, fine coastal views, rattan furniture and capiz windows, as well as a pool and restaurant. It was closed for renovation at the time of writing but expected to reopen in October 2017. Book through Sun Cruises.

            Getting There & Away

Sun Cruises ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; %02-831 8140; www.corregidorphilippines.com; Esplanade Seaside Terminal, Seaside Blvd, Pasay; ferry only weekday/weekend P1400/1500, excursion incl lunch & tram tour weekday/weekend P2550/2750, walking tours P1800; h6.30am-4.15pm) has the market cornered for trips to Corregidor. Ferries depart daily at 7.30am from the Esplanade Seaside Terminal just north of the Mall of Asia; you should return to Manila by 4.15pm, unless you stay overnight. The price includes lunch and a comprehensive tour of the island.

The only other way to get to Corregidor is to charter a bangka (wooden outrigger boat) from Cabcaben (P3500, 30 minutes) on the Bataan Peninsula – ask at Cabcaben Beach for Villa Carmen Resort. The boat captain will wait for the return trip, but you’ll need to organise your own transport and tours on the island.

 FABULOUS FARMS

Two very different ‘farms’ are worth seeking out in the rural back blocks out of Manila.

Hidden away a 1½-hour drive north of Quezon City, the volunteer-run GK Enchanted Farm ( GOOGLE MAP ; %0916 225 3363, 02-533 2217; www.gk1world.com; Angat, Bulacan; day tours incl lunch P695-995) is attempting to alleviate poverty by fostering young local entrepreneurs in impoverished communities. It’s possible to visit on a day tour or spend the night. On a day tour you’ll see a range of demonstrations and observe what it’s doing in terms of permaculture, ecodesign etc.

Accommodation (dorm beds P800, double rooms P2500 to P3500) is in comfortable lodgings and there is an infinity pool you can laze around. Or you can stay nearby at the pleasant Oasis Boutique Hotel ( GOOGLE MAP ; %0956 130 5238; GK Enchanted Farm, Angat, Bulacan; s/d incl breakfast P2500/3500).

Near Lipa City, a two-hour drive south of Manila, Farm at San Benito ( GOOGLE MAP ; %02-884 8074, 0918 884 8078; www.thefarm.com.ph; Barangay Tipakan; r US$200-1800; aiWs) is a peaceful wellness and detoxification centre enveloped in jungle. Besides a bevy of detox and spa treatments, the resort has a mouthwatering vegan restaurant, tropical hardwood and bamboo suites and luxurious villas.

Originally posted 2021-05-05 21:57:01.