Corregidor Island: One Off the Bucketlist

Corregidor Ruins

Dearest Mayrose,

Visiting Isla ng Corregidor (Corregidor Island)—there’s nothing like scratching one off from our bucketlist to say that we’re on the right track with this couples thing. This one day adventure marks our first ever out of town trip, and I couldn’t be happier that it soon became one of the fond memories we will talk about when we’re old and wrinkly.

Before the senior moments kick in, recalling the events now will help prevent future arguments that sprouted from memory gaps. Besides, I would like that our future kids to know more about us before they were born.  

Getting to the Island

Among the different day trips we were deciding on, the Corregidor’s historical relevance and natural beauty were the tie-breakers. Even if going to the island means traveling by ferry for an hour, there’s nothing that popping a Bonamine tablet couldn’t handle to deal with our sea sickness.

Booking the trip was relatively easy for there was only one tourist operator to choose from, so there was no need to browse and look for other deals. Sun Cruises Philippines has a friendly one-stop-shop website where visitors can browse through tour packages, book ferry rides to Corregidor, see or ask for information, and more.

Sun Cruises had the Photographer’s Package, priced at Php 1,600 at the time, and we and the rest of our gang of adventurers went for that one because it was conveniently priced and it gave us the freedom to 

Maybe next time we could try the other packages: Corregidor Historical Walking Tour  (P1,800/person), the Corregidor Adventure (P2,149/person), or perhaps stay overnight at the Corregidor Inn or the Corregidor Hostel. I’m putting the price for the packages so we’ll know how much they changed, if ever.

I booked our package via e-mail, which I got from the Sun Cruise contact page since you know how introverts like us do not like to call. Besides, their reservation office at the CCP Office was a bit far for me to go to. Sun Cruises replied quickly with a list of requirements (my contact details) and modes of payment (credit card, bank deposit, etc). I paid ours through the bank, though I could have done it also at SM Cinema Branches, but there isn’t one in Makati.

On the day of the trip, we woke up extra early to make it to the 7AM check-in time at the Espalanade Seaside Terminal (see map below) at the CCP complex in Manila City.  Despite that I didn’t sleep well the night before, I was in high spirits knowing we’re reaching a new milestone in our relationship.

Courtesy of Sun Cruises

I even took a stolen shot to commemorate the moment while you were busy coordinating with the rest of the people from our group regarding their whereabouts:

stolen shot

By 8AM, we all boarded the ferry, and thankfully, the Bonamine we took earlier already took effect. In a little bit of more than an hour after our departure, we woke up from the sea’s lullaby motion as the ferry docked at the Corregidor’s port. There were shuttles waiting and ready to take visitors at different points of the island, depending on the tour package that they selected. We had to ask a tour guide there to know which one we needed to get on.

Shuttle Groupie

The Photographer Package

Corregidor Street SignOur shuttle dropped us off in the middle of (can’t remember the name, senior moment kicking in already?). It was a good midpoint location where many of the main sights were just within walking distance. A tour guide told us to be at the lighthouse by 11AM where a shuttle would take us to the La Playa restaurant where our lunch buffet would be. According to the time I had on my wristwatch, we had about two hours to explore and take pictures.

With the remnants of what withstood the battle that took place back in the 1940s was all over the place, there was hardly a drought of picture-worthy spots to be taken. The camwhore in all of us was easily awaken, which was great because we were there to take photos, even if we were each other’s model.

Corregidor Flame

Corregidor Machine Guns

Corregidor

There are museums that contain pictures and relics that retell the rise and fall of the Corregidor island. History buffs could easily have a great time reading and learning from the different excerpts and clippings regarding what happened to the Corregidor island.

One of the best spots we found was the lighthouse, where we could share the same view that the soldiers who protected the island while looking out for incoming enemy ships or aircraft. Visitors can go to the top of the lighthouse as they pleased. Even with the light drizzle and mist, we still got to enjoy what we could see from the scenery.

Corregidor Lighthouse View

Apparently, we were too engrossed in exploring the place that we actually missed the shuttle that was supposed to bring us to the restaurant. Instead of panicking, we simply asked one of the nearby museum’s curator for help and he was more than glad to call in for another shuttle.

While waiting by the lighthouse, we browsed through the souvenir stores. Though we didn’t find anything that caught our fancy, it was good enough to kill the time. We eventually grew tired of it, realizing that we’re more content with the memories that we have.

Corregidor Under the TreeRight by the road to the entrance to the lighthouse area, you and I found a bench under a tree that I wouldn’t mind spending hours chatting about life’s aspirations or sharing goofball stories with you. Within minutes after resting our feet, the shuttle finally arrived and it took us to the feast that awaited us.

At La Playa Restaurant, we were surprised with the amount of people who were inside. Since the table areas were limited (good for 40 perhaps?), the shuttles tried their best to come in waves to avoid congesting the restaurant. Those who finished eating were suggested to move along. We were lucky enough to find a table for our group to sit in by the time we got there.

With all the walking that we did, it was no surprise that our tummies were ready to gorge mad quantities of food, even if the buffet had nothing that was truly memorable. We had soup, salad, main dishes, rice, and fruits for dessert. Returning for seconds, or even thirds, were welcomed all the same. I only wished that the resto had more windows to show the awesome views that the island has.

Maybe we were fast eaters, but we ended up with plenty of time before the ferry was to take us to Manila. Luckily, one of the tour guides was kind enough to adopt us and take us around the island. We hopped on another shuttle, and while going along the coastline, she directed our attention to the dismantled cannons that the soldiers used to fend off attackers, the biggest beehive on the island, and the sea entry point to the Malinta Tunnel.

The shuttle stopped by a function hall along the beach, and the guide gave us all some chill time. We saw cabins where overnighters can probably stay and relax, though I was unsure if they are available for use since the area still looks underdeveloped.

Corregidor Beach

Some parts of the beach itself looks only good from afar, because up close, the accumulation of Manila trash washing up on the shore was hard to miss. There were plastic bags, debris, wrappers, and slippers–that anyone could easily find an opposite pair within a stone throw away. I wish I could unsee all the garbage to preserve the almighty image I had of the island, but oh wells, such are the reality of things.

When we thought the guide had abandoned us, she finally came back in a shuttle to take us to the port. The ferry ride en route to Manila was even bumpier than the one we had coming in, but we slept through it all the same.

Finally landing in Manila, we couldn’t help feel like calling in the day, even if it was just a little bit past 3PM. Nevertheless, all in all, it was nothing short of fulfilling and enjoyed it all with you by my side. I look forward to scratching more on our bucket lists when we’re together again.

Corregidor Holding Hands

You can follow Mayrose through her Twitter and Instagram accounts, but not in real-life because that’s too creepy.

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