In this edition of 7-Questions, Ching of (http://www.chingtheviewfinder.com/) and I will take you to Corregidor, a tadpole-shaped island that’s geographically closer to Bataan but politically part of Cavite in Northern Philippines.
We’ll try our best to capture the Corregidor that we think we already knew from our history lessons, and the Corregidor that we actually experienced – an island that’s historically significant, harrowing at some point, but utterly unforgettable.
Why go to Corregidor?
[Ching] Why not? Who will not be curious to go to Corregidor when it is mentioned several times in the elementary, high school, and college Philippine History textbooks?
But, aside from the rich history of the place, go there because of the beautiful landscapes and old structures/war remains.
[Brennan] Because it’s unthinkable and even unforgiveable if you are a Filipino and you haven’t set foot yet in Corregidor. It is an island steeped with history and adventure. But the best part is that it’s just a short ferry ride away from Manila
How do you get there and around the island?
[Brennan] The quickest way is to board a Sun Cruises ferry, the terminal of which is located at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Complex in Manila. The trip takes a little bit over an hour.
Aside from the 2-way ferry transfers, the usual Corregidor tour packages also include tram rides that would take you around the various spots in the island.
[Ching] Yes, I agree, the Sun Cruises ferry is the quickest way to get to Corregidor Island. They have a website where one can easily book tickets online, they even offer tour and hotel packages. By the way, sometimes they offer promo rates so visit their website (http://www.corregidorphilippines.com/) from time to time to get the best deals.
Aside from tram rides, it is possible to walk around the island but expect to get soak with sweat. No kidding! Corregidor Inn is offering a Historical Walking Tour. But, I don’t recommend the walk tour if you will just be visiting the island for a day. You’ll surely miss a lot of attractions. By the way, another option is through bikes. One can bring bikes there. Here’s my suggestion: stay overnight there; on the first day avail the tram rides in order to be familiarized with the place fast, avail the night tour, avail the sunrise tour and tell the tour guide that you’ll walk back to the hotel (bring a map). Yeah, that’s what we did and we have no regrets.
What can you do at Corregidor?
[Ching] There are a lot of things that one can do there but here are my top 3 favorites:
- joining the night tour to visit the abandoned hospital where the Jabidah markings can be seen and the Night Lateral Tunnel Visit where the only lights that you’ll have are flashlights.
- Sunrise viewing and monkey-watching while strolling. Yeah, monkeys live freely there.
- taking a lot of photos with old building ruins, huge batteries, etc. while touring the attractions in the island.
[Brennan] Aside from what Ching already mentioned, you can also:
- ride the Rocket (a zipline) and an ATV if you want an adrenaline-fueled diversion
- visit the interesting “Bloodstone Beach” at the southern portion of the island and
- although I’ve not done this last time – see the neighboring islets namely, Fort Drum (or Carabao islet), El Fraille and La Monja, up close.
Where can you spend the night?
[Brennan] Book the night at the Corregidor Inn, a 31-bedroom hotel located at the ‘Middleside’ part of the island. It exudes a rustic charm although some would claim that the inn feels creepy at night. However, I never saw or experienced anything unusual during our stay there.
How about you Ching, did you have a paranormal experience there?
[Ching] Hahaha! I felt unease with the room that was first assigned to us. It was located at the lowest level and at far end. It is gloomy and has poor lighting. I immediately requested for a transfer, to the one nearer to the reception area where the atmosphere is much better. Good thing, someone just checked out. But, I don’t have a paranormal experience during my stay. But, I admit, I didn’t sleep well that night. I was so bothered with what I learned in Corregidor. I internalized the events that happened there, so much that it hit me so bad.
What food stops should you not miss?
[Ching] Oh! I enjoyed picking duhat fruit (Java Plum in English, lumboy in Cebuano) straight from the branches of the tree. There are a lot there during our stay.
[Brennan] La Playa is the only restaurant at Corregidor Inn. Aside from the lunch buffet that is usually included in daytrip packages, they also have local and foreign dishes that you can order ala carte. Prices are reasonable considering that they have to get all their produce from the mainland.
What pasalubong options would you recommend?
[Brennan] You can buy shirts, souvenirs, ref magnets at the lobby of the Corregidor Inn. But for me, the best souvenir, if one would consider it, is seeing the historic ruins (especially the various Batteries and the Jabidah graffiti at the abandoned hospital) up close. These made me miss and appreciate more my Philippine history lessons back in college.
[Ching] There are also souvenir items for sale in other attraction areas of the island such as in McArthur’s Café and Souvenir Shop and Dropzone Corregidor Souvenir Shop. You can check them out during your tour around the island.
If you can go back to Corregidor soon, what will you do differently?
[Ching] Our travel itinerary last time was okay. We enjoyed the tour package that we availed. But, if given a chance to go back there, I’ll definitely be bringing a bike to tour the island, hopefully with family or friends. It will be more of leisure trip next time, less history (so I can sleep better… hehehe).
How about you Brennan?
[Brennan] Ching, I’ll participate in a guided walking tour next time. It’s more intimate and I also imagine that the stops in the tour have already been curated from Corregidor’s rather long list of war ruins and monuments. The tram tour is often hurried and may even get tedious at times.
Music, according to Ching Lim, keeps her sane. And more importantly, it helps her survive long bus rides. But when she’s not on the road (with her expensive-looking headphones might I add), she oversees a government office in Surigao.
Catch more of Ching by following her travel blog at Ching the Viewfinder.
7-Questions is a travel guide but it has no illusions to be as comprehensive as a Lonely Planet book. But my blogger-friends and I try to make it interesting and informative enough to help future travelers get to know a place in just a few questions.