This day was long – about 13+ hours of sight-seeing – but it was one of my favorites. We boarded a ferry early in the morning, and made our way to Corregidor Island, a small tadpole-shaped island at the mouth of Manila Bay. Our ride was rough, and although there was a doctor on board with lots of sea-sickness medications, many passengers lost their breakfast on the 90 minute ride. But not me! 🙂 I took some Dramamine, was happy to be there, and enjoyed every moment of the ride, chatting and making new friends.
Corregidor was used as a defence post for the entrance of the bay, fortified with several batteries, and coastal artillery and ammunitions magazines, to ward off attacks by enemy warships in the event of war. During World War II, Corregidor played an important role during the invasion and liberation of the Philippines from Japanese forces. Although heavily bombarded in the latter part of the war, it was briefly used as the temporary location for the Government of the Philippines. General Douglas MacArthur also used Corregidor as Allied headquarters until March 11, 1942. Today it is an unoccupied island of ruins, memorials, and a garden of peace.
It is densely lush, green and beautiful. And as we wound our way through the twisting, narrow roadways, our tour guide/bus driver reassured us several times that Filipinos are a forgiving and happy people, and they love the Americans and Japanese alike.
After our short, but sweet tour of the island, we boarded our boat again for a 45 minute ride to Bataan peninsula. There we climbed aboard touristy jeepneys (a cleaned-up version of the local transportation), and were driven through beautiful mountains, fields, and jungles to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar.
This little resort town is “a living museum,” with 27 architectural structures, dating back to the 18th to early 20th centuries, that were carefully and painstakingly reconstructed from different parts of the country and rebuilt exactly as they originally were. We were greeted with live music and singing, and although the weather was rainy, we meandered through the cobblestone streets of the picturesque town.
For lunch we enjoyed a large buffet of traditional dishes, and were entertained by local dancers. After a little more wandering the area, we got back on the bumpy jeepneys, and made our way to the boat. To everyone’s relief, our ride back to Manila was smooth and quick, and while it was too cloudy to see the setting sun, the city lights welcomed us back into the harbor.