Manila, Philippines — Mention Corregidor and images of old canons, hero statues, and war remnants may come to mind. However, there’s more to this 358-kilometer historical island than just being a stopover for school field trips – in recent months, it has reinvented itself as an exciting tourist destination in its own right.
Whether you’re a history buff, a beach lover, an adventure seeker, or even an art enthusiast, Corregidor’s endless possibilities will definitely inspire you to rediscover this beautiful island. Here’s a peek into what the Isle of Valor has in store for you.
1. A rich tapestry of history
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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 II, 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 in World War II. 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. Other areas that you should definitely not miss 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.
For great sights and captivating stories, join the historical tram tour, a four-hour tour onboard the tranvia.
2. Non-stop action for both mind and body
If you want to explore the island at your own pace, you 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 your choosing, you can also take as many selfies as you want, with a historical site as your backdrop – and achieve your target number of steps as well.
Another option is to go biking around the island – gather your friends and arrange for group packages to get considerable discounts. Pedal across the glorious Mile-Long Barracks, whiz past Battery Hearn, or race your friends to South Beach in style. Not only is biking great for your cardiovascular health, it can also afford you views you would not otherwise see 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 your 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 as you reach the farthest tip of the Corregidor Island’s head and bask in the exquisite views of the Conchita Island and the Bataan Peninsula.
3. 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. Your best bet would be South Beach, which is a mere five-minute walk away from the docking bay.
Bring your family and friends for a quick beach get away and swim, go kayaking, or ride a raft to your hearts’ content. You can even barbecue in one of the cabanas nearby for an authentic summer experience on any day of the year.
4. Paradise for photography and art
Whether you’re a budding lensman or a pro-level camera fiend, Corregidor Island provides you that much-needed shift in subject matter. Forget the usual beaches and the stale shoebox-architecture sensibilities of the metro. 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.
5. An island sanctuary
Beyond war, 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 on 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, you 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.
If you are looking for a destination that is packed full of new sights, extraordinary adventures, and stimulating experiences, make sure to include Corregidor Island in your travel bucket list. Rediscover Corregidor Island now!