Saturday, April 4, 2009


Corrigedor Island

When I, (Jeff) was in high school we spent time on this island. One time was a week long camping trip in which we lived in tents, and roamed the island like natives.

It was a kid's dream come true. This island has a magical and tragic past, with literally miles of caves and tunnels, old cannons, and war relics.

Many things have changed since I last visited this island, some 25 years ago. The island now has a resort hotel, paved roads, and lots of "off limits" signs that were not there before. The things that remained the same were the ghosts of wars gone by. The bombed out buildings that give testimony to the violent motions of war.

General Douglas MacArthur moved to this small island at the mouth of Manila Bay as the Imperial forces of the Japanese Army advanced on the Philippines. MacArthur loved Manila and had lived there for many years, so he declared Manila an "Open City" so as to spare it from bombings. The Japanese proved to be merciless and unimaginably cruel in spite of MacArthur's efforts to spare the city.

It was from this island that MacArthur reluctantly left the Philippines under Executive Orders to do so. This was the site of one of the most famous 3 word speeches of all time, "I shall return."
MacArthur believed that whoever controlled the Philippines archipelago controlled Asia and Corrigedor was the key to the Philippines.
Maybe that is why it is the most bombed real estate in all of WWII.

Kori shot this picture through a steel door that was full of holes from 50 mil. bullets.

The Japanese took this island from the Americans. But when the Americans took it back the Japanese refused to surrender, so the American soldiers had to hunt them down in every cave, and inside of every of every building.

This impressive, three story building, was known as "One Mile Barracks." It was actually a 3rd of a mile long, but if you ran all three floors it was a full mile.

See the caves? Today, most of these caves, and tunnels are off limits, deemed to dangerous to enter.
25 years ago they were too dangerous NOT to enter. We explored tunnels and caves for days. We found bayonettes, helmets and mortor shells.
Thousands and thousands of silver coins were thrown in the water to hide them from the Japanese and only about 25% of them were found when the Americans retook the island. Storms would wash some up on the shore from time to time.
These particular caves were used by the Japanese to launch suicide attacks at night against US war ships.

Our boat from Manila's harbor to Corrigedor Island.

While we were waiting for our boat in Manila, we were provided amusement from about 100 aerobic participants.

Manila's harbor.

Jordan and Kori up on the lighthouse. The highest point on Corrigedor Island. We were hoping to see one of the many Australian monkeys, but did see one here. Jordan spotted one later.

Another bombed out US building, with the Bataan coast line in the back ground.

You may have heard of the Bataan Death March. It began here on Corrigedor, when the US Army surrendered, and the Japanese ferried them across to that coast.

The lighthouse.

Kori and Jordan tried to imagine how it must have been manning the anti aircraft guns with hundreds of Japanese war planes bearing down on them.

This signpost shows just how far, and in what direction, certain cities are from this point.

WWII doesn't seem so long ago when you look on these bombed out ruins.

Kori standing in the middle of one of the island's famous batteries that controlled the entrance to Manila Bay.

The gun standing at Jordan's left was the last gun firing before the surrender.

Brenda sitting in a trolley car made in Japan, listening to a tour guide speaking into a mic made in Japan, riding on roads that were made with concrete from Japan. Looks like Japan didn't TOTALLY lose the war, did they?

Kori in front of one of the barracks.

Manila's skyline.