World War II: Corregidor Island

Have you been following The Pacific? Its a 10 part mini-series from HBO. The Philippines, although not featured in The Pacific, also fought against the Japanese in Corregidor. Corregidor aka as Fort Mills or the Gibraltar of the East.

Corregidor, officially named Fort Mills, was the largest of four fortified islands protecting the mouth of Manila Bay from attack and was fortified prior to World War I with powerful coastal artillery. – Wikipedia

For my son’s birthday last March 28, instead of giving him a birthday party (like we’ve been doing for the past 10 years) we went to Corregidor instead to learn together more about our history. Corregidor is one of the well preserved World war II site. I’ve never been to Corregidor before. When I was young,  they used to tell tales of ghosts of American and Japanese soldiers haunting the island and I’ve been scared to visit the place. My grandfather was a USAFFE war veteran and though I was scared of his stories, I’ve always been curious about what it was like during that time. Now that I’m older, I felt I was ready to face my fear of the island and my grandfather/Lolo’s war stories. Being on the island made me feel more connected to him somehow…and it made me feel proud that Gramps was a fighter.

This was the tranvia that carried us around the island

The tranvia in Fort Mills a long time ago

The topside/mile long barracks. The upper middle part you can see the old movie house, and the upper right side you can see the bachelor officer's barracks

Middleside Barracks

Big guns

They give you some time to walk around the place..up ahead is the old movie house

The movie house before it was bombed

There are a lot of tunnels dug up by the Japanese

American soldiers buried the dead Japanese with one of their arm sticking out (for the wild animals to feed on)

Malinta Tunnel

One of the laterals inside the Malinta Tunnel

The laterals were filled with wounded American and Japanese Soldiers before

I have a lot of photos on the island, but it would be best if you could visit the island yourself. The old photos I have here are not mine, the credit goes to it’s a wonderful site. And you could also visit Steve and Marcia Kwiecinski’s blog, a couple who lives on Corregidor.

If you are interested in visiting Corregidor, you can go to for their tour rates. We only got the day tour, but if you are interested in getting the most of your visit on the “Rock”, try staying overnight…just remember to bring enough water (if you have a sensitive stomach) or you can bring food, or your own snacks. It’s really worth it!

Also, a Massacre in Corregidor on March 18, 1968 was the reason for the Moro insurgencies in the Southern part of the Philippines. This is known as the Jabidah Massacre. Not many Filipinos are aware of this, but this happened on Corregidor too…there is now a marker on the island where the massacre took place.


2 thoughts on “World War II: Corregidor Island

  1. I went the first time in 1986. There was a nice man and his dog that lived near the dock. We hired bonka boats to get there. The dock was still blown up with holes in it. The mans dog took us around the entire island. When we were ready to go to the next site the dog would get up and guide us…we would follow him and he stayed with us all day. The island was so nice then. There was not one other human on the island back them. It truly was like time standing still. There was no interest at all in the island back then…not one other human being all day. We had to use gas lanterns and flash lights to go into the tunnels. I loved it back then. Still it’s nice to see others seeing the island. This is the most bombed place on earth…60 tons of bombs per square foot I believe. I am happy I saw it in a natual form. I came back in about 1989 and they had built a resort on bottom side. They were working in the tunnels and patched up the dock. There were trikes and jeeps on the island…I was sad.
    Pete, Charleston SC

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