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Located at the entrance of Manila Bay and near the Bataan Peninsula, the heavily fortified island fortress of Corregidor was the one of last places to fall to the Japanese invading forces in 6 May 1942.

Today the fortress (also known as "The Rock") is a national shrine which celebrates the dogged resistance of the American and Filipino defenders against the massive attacks and continual bombardments by the Japanese.

Corregidor cannon image

This World War II gun was the largest defensive gun on the Island of Corregidor
during the 1942 battles.

You can see the desolate ruins of the "Mile-Long" Barracks and other military builidings, and view the huge cannons of Battery Hearn and Battery Way that defended the island. You can also walk through the Malinta Tunnel which served as the headquarters for General Douglas Macarthur from December 1941 until March 1942, and which also served as an arsenal and hospital.

On the highest point in the island you can visit the Pacific War Memorial. There is also a Filipino Heroes Memorial.

In February 1945, it was the turn of the Japanese to fight to the end. After a battle lasting eleven days, Corregidor was retaken by the Americans and less than 50 of the original 5,200 Japanese defenders were still alive. There is a small Japanese cemetery, a Japanese Peace Park, and a small Buddhist shrine to commemorate this part of the island's history.

Despite the concentration on the events of the Second World War, it is worthwhile remembering the earlier history of Corregidor. In earlier centuries Chinese and Moro (Muslim) pirates prowled the waters around the island, and the Dutch fought naval battles with the Spanish in the area. The Spanish fortified the island and built a lighthouse (which you can still visit) to guide incoming ships along the rocky coast.

Most visitors make a day trip to Corregidor from Manila by taking a 40 kilometer jetboat ride. Once there, many take a guided tour and see the light-and-sound show in the Malinta Tunnel.

Battery, Corregidor image

These World War II fortress cannons in the area of Corregidor known as The Battery

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Author: David Paul Wagner
(David Paul Wagner on Google+)

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