Thursday, May 05, 2011

Corregidor Island

Corregidor Island, locally called Isla ng Corregidor, is a lofty island located at the entrance of Manila Bay in southwestern part of Luzon Island in the Philippines. Due to this location, Corregidor was fortified (Fort Mills) with several coastal artillery and ammunition magazines to defend the entrance of Manila Bay and the City of Manila, from attacks by enemy warships in the event of war. Located 48 kilometres (30 mi) inland, Manila has been the largest city and the most important seaport in the Philippines for centuries—from the colonial rule of Spain, the United States, and Japan and after the establishment of the Republic of the Philippines in 1946.
Corregidor is the largest of the islands that form the harbor defense of Manila Bay together with El Fraile Island (Fort Drum),Caballo Island (Fort Hughes) and Carabao Island (Fort Frank), which were all fortified during the American occupation of the country. The island was also the site of a small military airfield, as part of the defense.
During World War II, Corregidor played an important role during the invasion and liberation of the Philippines from Japanese forces. Heavily bombarded in the latter part of the war, the ruins left on the island serves as a military memorial to several American, Filipino and Japanese soldiers who served or lost their lives on the island. Corregidor is one of the important historic and tourist site in the country.

Pacific War Memorial
Standing on the highest part of Corregidor's Topside is the Pacific War Memorial, which was built by the United States Government to honor the Filipino and American soldiers who participated in World War II. It was completed in 1968 at the cost of three million dollars. The major memorial structure is a rotunda with a circular altar directly under the dome's oculus through which light falls on the altar during daylight hours. Located behind the Memorial is the Eternal Flame of Freedom, a 40 feet (12 m) Corten steel structure commissioned to Aristides Demetrios symbolizing freedom

Malinta Tunnel
The Malinta Tunnel, which is the last stronghold of the joint Philippine and American military prior to the Japanese takeover during the last world war, is now home to an audio-visual presentation by National Artist Lamberto V. Avellana of the events that took place on the island, including the reluctant departure of General Douglas MacArthur and the evacuation of the Philippine president Manuel L. Quezon and his family to unoccupied areas of the Philippines and eventually in exile in the United States.

Filipino Heroes Memorial
One of the most recent additions to Corregidor is the Filipino Heroes Memorial located in the Tail . This 6,000-square meter complex has 14 murals depicting heroic battles fought by Filipinos from the 15th century up to the present day. It was designed by Francisco Mañosa, while the murals and a statue of a Filipino guerrilla were sculpted by Manuel Casas. The complex was inaugurated by President Fidel V. Ramos on August 28, 1992.
Every May 6th and exactly at noontime, sunlight falls on the center of the altar and a moment of silence is observed as this is the exact moment Corregidor and the Philippines fell into the hands of the Japanese.

Japanese Garden of Peace
This garden was build as memorial to the Japanese who served and died on the island during WWII. The park includes a praying area, shrines, markers and a small pavilion that houses photographs and memorabilias.

Corregidor lighthouse
The lighthouse on Topside is one of the oldest landmarks in Corregidor. A lighthouse was built by the Spaniards and lit for the first time in 1853. The lighting apparatus was improved in 1897 and the grounds further improved by the Americans. During WWII, the lighthouse was reduced to ruins during the siege of Corregidor. A rehabilitated lighthouse stands on the same spot where the first lighthouse once stood.

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