April 19, 2009

Corregidor: The ruins

I am going to break the rules of CDP again today and in the next few days. Yesterday, my husband and I took a day trip to Corregidor Island in the province of Cavite. Corregidor is a tiny, tadpole-shaped island which sits at the entrance of Manila Bay. Because of its location, it has always been strategically important in the defense of Manila and it played a large role during the Pacific War, that part of WWII which took place in the Pacific Ocean especially against Japan during the reign of Emperor Hirohito. The Philippines was a Commonwealth under the United States at the time, and many American soldiers were killed alongside Filipino troops during the Battle of Corregidor, the last battle to keep the Japanese Imperial Army from getting access to Manila Bay. Everything on the island was destroyed or heavily damaged during the war and all the ruins are being maintained by the Corregidor Foundation. A regular U.S. army post on Corregidor Island was established in 1908 and named Fort Mills, in honor of Brigadier General Samuel Meyers Mills, Jr., Chief of Artillery of the U.S. Army from 1905 to 1906. This was the Headquarters and Chapel.

Fort Mills Post Headquarters and Chapel ruins in Corregidor Island

The Middleside barracks could accommodate 3,000 soldiers—1,000 on each of its three levels.

Middleside barracks ruins in Corregidor Island

Another view of the Middleside barracks from a completely collapsed end. When I said that the Corregidor Foundation maintains the ruins, I meant exactly that: they are trying to keep the ruins as they were at the end of the war. Notice the struts that are keeping the second-story wall in place. You can also glimpse the white beams in the third-story rooms that are holding the roof up.

Middleside barracks ruins showing supporting struts and frames in Corregidor Island

The Mile Long barracks could accommodate 5,000 soldiers. It was actually less than a third of a mile long, but it was still one of the longest in the world, hence the soldiers' nickname for this Topside barracks. This end was heavily bombarded by the Japanese because they had heard that General Douglas MacArthur, Allied commander in the Philippines, was using it as his headquarters. Yes, he was, but he wasn't in the barracks at the time of the bombardment.

Topside barracks, more popularly known as the Mile Long barracks, ruins in Corregidor Island

Like any other U.S. military base, Corregidor Island also had recreational and entertainment facilities for the troops stationed there. This was the local 'Y.' And I didn't notice them during the tour, but I'm seeing depressions in the field in this photo. I'm thinking that they must have been caused by artillery shells.

YMCA building ruins in Corregidor Island

And this was Cine Corregidor, a movie theater.

Cine Corregidor ruins in Corregidor Island

Another view of Cine Corregidor, this time from inside the building. I'm at the stage area looking towards the entrance. The theater obviously had an upper balcony. Can you imagine how grand it must have been before the war?

interior of Cine Corregidor ruins in Corregidor Island

There are many more interesting ruins in Corregidor, but the tour was running on a tight schedule and honestly, half a day is not nearly enough time to visit everything. To do so, you'll have to hire your own guide and vehicle, and stay on the island for at least two days. CORREGIDOR ISLAND SERIES #1 OF 7

23 comments:

Cezar and Léia said...

Hello Dear Hilda!
Many thanks for so interesting informations! This post is fantastic!
Very impressive the first picture ( Headquarters and Chapel ).In fact I liked all pictures there!
Glad to know you had a nice day !
Léia :-)

Corker2 said...

What a great Post, Hilda! I've learned something by reading what you have said about Corregidor. I never knew that this place of history had a Chapel, Headquarters, and such a large Barracks. All that I knew about the place was that there was a big fight there during WWII. It was very interesting for me to read all about this place.

While I was in Subic Bay for those short visits, this was one place that I had wanted to see, but just never got there. If you and your Husband get out again, I would love to see more.

Thanks for taking the time to share a time in History.

Les

Saretta said...

A fascinating trip back in time, Hilda! Thanks for all the info and photos!

Lois said...

Thank you for posting these pictures Hilda! I enjoyed them so much! My father served in the US Navy on a destroyer in the Pacific during WWII and he used to tell me all about his adventures. He even got to see and salute General McArthur outside of his headquarters in Japan after the war.

Jacob said...

Goodnight! This is great stuff, Hilda. Absolutely fascinating. I was a few years too young for WWII, but it was an important part of my growing up years and it's always been a "favorite" part of history for me; especially the Pacific Theater.

I have read so much about Corregidor, but I've never seen these pictures.

Thank you so much!

James said...

I remember reading about the Battle of Corregidor and I've probably seen acted out in movies. It's amazing to think about what went on in that place. Thanks for sharing your trip to this truly historic place. Absolutely great post!

Brad said...

Thank you for the tour. Ruins have always sparked my interest in what they played in our hirtory.

lunarossa said...

Really impressive, Hilda. It's great that they're doing everything to maintained this location for people to view. Your learn more history visting these places than from history books. All the best. Ciao. A.

Vogon Poet said...

Soon after reluctantly leaving Corrigidor, MacArthur said the famous 'I shall return'.
Thank you for these images, these ruins are really a piece of history.

marley said...

Hilda, I think this has to be one of my favourite posts of yours. It is so interesting and your collection of photos illustrate the post perfectly. I especially love the theatre photo. These ruins just help to remind us of sacrifices made for our freedoms.

Clueless in Boston said...

Great post and very informational. This reminds me a lot of a post that Jules of Papua New Guinea posted a year or so ago of the Australians on New Guinea.

Priyanka Khot said...

Awesome photographs Hilda...

A visit to ruins makes me feel that I am somehow a part of the history and events that might have unfolded there.

One of your best posts.

PAK said...

I read about Pacific War, but I never saw the objects and places on todays photos. Thank You!

Halcyon said...

Wow... this is all so interesting. I must admit, I wasn't always keen on history in school - but when you see it come alive that's something totally different! Thanks for sharing these photos and the stories.

That is the chicken said...

What a beautiful site...despite it's history. I love the decaying structures.

Juergen Kuehn said...

Thank you for this insightful series and it's history.

charlestondailyphoto said...

What a great tour of a fascinating place. The photos are wonderful. Thanks!

Tamera said...

I remember these ruins very well. I wonder what they must have looked like before. Wonderful pictures and great storytelling Hilda!

the donG said...

excellent shots hilda! galing mo talaga pagdating sa mga structures and ruins.

Frank said...

The ruins are amazing, Hilda. Thanks for noticing bikini-wearing pink gorilla babe. She is certainly a honey and could be easily transported to your delightful island. But let's hope it never happens. I'm watching your Manilla posts.

D said...

Wow! What excellent pics and and interesting history lesson! Great post.

Joe Narvaez said...

Wala po bang mumu? :)

Anton de Gracia said...

Hi,

I featured one of your photos from this article on my blog about the Filipino Culture and the Philippines. See my article here: http://www.thepinoywarrior.com/2011/10/scariest-places-in-philippines.html

Thanks!