Friday, March 22, 2019

March 22, 2019,        Manila,      Corregidor Excursion,       70/183

We did not visit much of the city as our focus was on the Island of Corredidor.  Modern building and heavy traffic do define Manila.  To reduce traffic issues, vehicles with a 0 or 1 as the last number cannot be used on Monday, etc..  Trains have separate coaches for men and women, as the women were being assaulted too frequently.  President Duterte dislikes smoking so he has basically outlawed it in the country!  I like that.  He has also doubled teacher and police salaries in an effort to retain educated people for the Philippines.

Fortification of Corregidor Island began shortly after the USA took possession of the Philippines in 1898 and continues until the 30s.  Almost 700 concrete buildings were erected, as well as 23 gun batteries which contained up to 8 long range artillery pieces.  These guns were designed and manufactured in the USA in the late 1890s, which I find rather interesting.  Unfortunately the technology was obsoleted a few years after installation by the invention of the airplane.  The elaborate engineering marvels called hiding counter-weighted guns were vulnerable to air attack. Ironically, cement for the concrete, hurricane proof structures was purchased from Japan.

The huge Malinta tunnel complex was part of the development and this system was the focus of both the Japanese attack in 1942 and again when the Americans returned in 1945!

After a horrific 5 month bombardment and Japanese assault, General Wainwright accepted an unconditional surrender on May 7, 1942.  The Malinta tunnels had served them well. 
11,000 men and women then began an even more horrific struggle to survive under the oppressive Japanese.  Everyone will have heard of the forced Bataan march, war camps, selective killing of the weak, slave labour and starvation.  General MacArthur did not want to evacuate but Roosevelt ordered him to Australia, to command the Pacific theatre.
The Japanese general had been given 50 days to take the Philippines but it took 5 months.  As the campaign was delayed, a massive troop movement was diverted from an assault on Australia, so who knows what would have happened if Corregidor had fallen quickly.  It was the last stronghold in the Pacific to fall to the Japanese!

Corregidor was the second to Malta as the most bombed location on earth, with  not even a blade of green grass remaining after 5 months.

A Japanese citizen spied on Corregidor for 17 years, taking photos and detailing every part of the island.  He was a barber, "friend" to all!  With this knowledge, the Japanese were able to plan better and avoid exposing their wqarships to artillery.

My uncle Jim Brown was taken prisoner in Singapore and his health never recovered from the 3.5 year ordeal.

Our tour guide remains quite bitter, as he related examples of atrocities.  This is a tough example, as he showed us a picture of Japanese soldiers throwing a baby into the air and then catching it on a rifle bayonet.  Philippine girls were raped by the thousands, some till they died.  Many families tried to disguise their girls as old sick women.  In 1945,  Japan ordered that Manila be defended to the death by 18,000 troops, which happened, but they burned the city and killed over 100,000 women and children too.   The Japanese have never apologized for these acts.

In 1945, 5200 Japanese soldiers were trapped on Corregidor and used the Malinta Tunnels as a refuge.  American forces covered each of the 4 exits with heavy weaponry, killing 3200 troops as they tired to escape over a period of days.  The standoff came to an end when the Americans poured napalm and gasoline down the vent holes and the place was set on fire.  Official version is that the Japanese set the fuel on fire to commit suicide.  Either way, the result was satisfying to the victors!



Cruising into Manila Bay on our arrival, with our first view of serious air pollution for the cruise


Leaving for the 30 mile ride to Corregidor Island  after a 90 minute delay due to mechanical problems with the boat.


Armando, our excellent tour guide.  He  remains personally very upset with the Japanese!

Map of Corregidor

View of one of the entrances to Manila Bay from Corregidor




Another commanding view of the passages to Manila Bay




Remains of one the the 110 year old barracks





Gun repair building





12" gun





Philippine and American troops had separate barracks.



Long range gun.  The liners were good for 350 rounds, then had to be changed in the repair shop on the Island.  


Spare 55 ton barrel for the long range gun.  How the heck would they exchange the liner and move this weight?



Hiding gun which used a counter balance system, installed around 1912. They were obsolete when planes were invented in 1914.

12 inch by 500 pound shell



Interesting remnants of a bomb impact crater, showing the concrete floor blasted away.


Memorial to the War dead





Small mountain which contains the Malinta Tunnel


One of the 4 main entrances to the Malinta tunnel system.


Active tunnel entrance


View as we enter the tunnel.  It is 840' long with numerous branches which houses barracks, hospital, munitions, dining area, administration offices



Hospital display

Surrender of Corregidor, May 7, 1942





Damaged by explosion and fire used to kill the Japanese





Memorial to Japanese soldiers.  Very controversial!  One American veteran to the site spent hours using his knife to scratch off words that glorifies them!  No one attempted to stop him!  Japanese guns in background (Delivered from Japan for display only) were manufactured in Hiroshima.


A monument to the Pacific War.  This statue was erected by an anonymous individual from Yokohama is dedicated to the memories of the war dead on both sides!

Statue of General MacArthur declaring that he shall return


Japanese defensive tunnels 

Japanese fox hole


Return to Manila 

End of another fascinating day!

1 comment:

  1. this is an amazing blog! thanks for all your photos and insights

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