“Sleep, my sons, your duty done…for freedom’s light has come; sleep in the silent depths of the sea, or in your bed of hallowed sod, until you hear at dawn the low, clear reveille of God.”
Those were the words engraved in the Pacific War Memorial, erected in honor of the Filipino and American servicemen who engaged in the Pacific War. This monument is located in the highest geographic sector in the island of Corregidor. Corregidor is a tiny rocky island in the Philippines around 48 kilometers west of Manila, situated strategically at the mouth of the Manila Bay and belongs to the Province of Cavite. Corregidor became the headquarters of the Allied forces and conjointly the seat of the Philippine Commonwealth government.
Also referred as “The Rock”, this fortress is an island monument memorializing the courage, valor, and gallantry of its Filipino and American defenders who fearlessly stood their ground against the staggering battalion of invading Japanese legions in the Second World War.
To take a trip to the famous island, you can book a guided tour from a travel agency behind the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex along Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City. You can then board a ferry which takes you to the island for about one and a quarter hour. Arriving at the North Dock of Corregidor, you then hop in a small bus called tramvias that takes you around the different scenic views of this tadpole-shaped historical island.
This rocky landscape is divided into four major parts: the Topside, Middleside, Bottomside and the Tailside. The largest part is Topside, pointing towards the West Philippine Sea, which housed the fortified communications center of the island, the Army headquarters, the Cine Corregidor movie theater, officers’ quarters, an Officers’ places for leisure like a golf course, among many others, and majority of the artillery batteries that made up the strength of Corregidor.
Middle side, on the other hand, was the site of 2-story officers’ quarters, barracks for the enlisted men, a hospital, quarters for non-commissioned officers, a service club and two schoolhouses—one for the children of Filipino soldiers and the other for American children, among others. While the Bottomside which connects the tail and head of the island comprised the Barrio San José, and on the north is what was the Army Dock, with its three large piers; and, east of Bottomside, is the Malinta Tunnel with the Malinta Hill separating the Bottomside from the Tail End. The Tailside or sometimes called as the Tail End is the remaining section of the island where the different memorials, shrines and the island’s defunct runway are located. — Brian Dudley, Makati City, Manila, Philippines