Corregidor is a rocky, tadpole-shaped, three mile-long and 1 ½ miles at its widest point, island strategically located at the entrance of Manila Bay facing the China Sea and flanked by the provinces of Bataan and Cavite. It’s name came from the Spanish word “coregir” meaning to correct, since the island was a checkpoint for vessels entering Manila Bay during the Spanish and American occupations before it was heavily fortified to serve as first line of defense against the invaders of the capital city of Manila. Other writers affectionately call the place “The Rock” in reference to the Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay in the United States as the island was allegedly used as a penitentiary and corrections institution, a claim which I strongly believe to be true judging from the experience of my grandfather who was herded in this island for his “forced labor” tour of duty for playing an active role in the 1924 Colorum Uprising in Bucas Grande Island, Surigao del Norte, Philippines. For historical and sentimental reasons, the island has become the most visited place in the country especially among the battlefield tours enthusiasts.
Corregidor Island Map by junylapott
The island is divided into three parts: “Topside” or the “Head” in reference to the tad pole, “Middleside” or the “Body” and “Bottomside” or the “Tail.” There were a total of seven (7) tranvias, colorful early American-era couches, servicing us visitors on board the Sun Cruiser II Ferry. Tranvia No. 1, where we boarded as well as Tranvia No.7, choose the “tail-to-head” route in touring the island. After dropping by the Lorcha Dock and Mc Arthur statue, we proceeded to our next stopover: The Filipino Heroes Memorial.
Along the way, our guide told us to glance at our left to see one of the 80 Japanese-made caves strategically located around the island being used as hiding area of their suicide boats named “Shin’yō,” which literally means “Sea Quake,” as part of the Japanese Special Attacks Unit Program against the Allied Forces during the 1941-1945 Pacific War.
Truly, I felt very much inspired when my feet touched the grounds of the Filipino Heroes Memorial as I had seen the breath taking view of an elevated concrete platform housing the Filipino heroes’ memorabilia including the accounts of their struggles for freedom with the triumvirate bronze statues of President Manuel L. Quezon (President, Philippine Commonwealth and 2nd President of the Philippines, In Office from November 15, 1935 – August 1, 1944); President Sergio S. Osmena (4th President of the Philippines, In Office from August 1, 1944 – May 28, 1946) and; an unnamed Filipina on the foreground as if guarding the memorial from intruders…
A closer look at the three bronze statues is really inspiring … the inscription at the pedestal of the two presidents revealed that they were once, and are still, the symbols of Filipino men’s struggle against foreign dominion. The words inscribed beneath the woman’s statue are equally exalting …”In Honor Of The FILIPINO WOMAN Who Was Involved In The Many Events In Our History And As A Symbol Of Peace And Inspiration To Our Gallant Men In Their Fight For The Preservation Of Our Honor And Freedom.”
Touring at the Filipino Heroes Memorial, I felt nostalgic with the sight of a granite tablet cemented on the wall in between plastered Mactan stones with the following inscription: “Dedicated to the Filipino who knows how to die for love of freedom and liberty.”
Murals carved in bronze depicting the various struggles of the Filipino people in defense of freedom were adorned in four concrete walls. From the Battle of Mactan in 1521 . . . to the Datu Sirongan And Sultan Kudarat Revolts In Mindanao in the 16th and 17th Century. . .