CORREGIDOR: The Rock
Isle of Eternal Memory
Twenty six miles west of Manila, Corregidor is the largest of several small islands strung between Cavite province and the Bataan peninsula at the entrance to Manila Bay. It rises 628 feet above sea level with a land area of three and a half square miles.
During the Spanish era, Corregidor had a lighthouse and signal station. It also housed a small fishing village, called Barrio San Jose, complete with a Catholic Church and a one-room schoolhouse run by the clergy. Fortifications had also been established on Corregidor as well as its companion islands.
All ships entering or leaving the bay were required to stop at Corregidor to have their papers checked. Hence, the name Corregidor, which means "corrector" in Spanish.
When the Americans occupied the island during the Fil-American war, they built a convalescent hospital there to house wounded soldiers. Then in 1906, recognizing the strategic importance of Manila and Manila Bay, the U.S. launched an unprecedented full-scale program of fortification, which would replace the antiquated Spanish guns and make a legend of Corregidor.
By 1922, the island was ringed by 22 seacoast batteries armed with six 12-inch disappearing guns, two late model (at that time) 12-inch long range guns with an all-around range capability of 29,500 yards (nearly 17 miles or 27 km), twelve 12-inch mortars capable of all-around coverage of 8 miles or 13 km, two 10-inch and give 6-inch disappearing guns, nineteen 155-mm tractor drawn guns (the famous WW1 French GPF or Grande Puissance Filloux) which when emplaced on circular concrete "Panama" mounts also had all-around capability of just 600 yards short of 10 miles or 16 km, and ten 3-inch minefield guns. Added to these were twenty-four 3-inch anti-aircraft guns as well as 37-mm and 75-mm beach defense guns scattered along the shoreline. An electrically remote-controlled minefield stretching from the island to La Monja, thence to Chonchinos Point, Bataan, complete the very formidable picture.
Nature has divided Corregidor, named For Mills during the American occupation and now familiarly known as "The Rock," into five identifiable parts. The highest point of the island called Topside, is a flat track of land located on the island's "head" that points towards China. Topside tapers to a plateau called Middleside. From Middleside, the terrain slopes steeply downward to Bottomside, the lowest part of the island.
To the east of Bottomside, a hill rises to 390 feet. Called "Malinta," it severs Bottomside from the tail of the island. The fifth and remaining portion of Corregidor is its long, twisting "tail" pointing to the Bay. On the "tail" are several small ravines and narrow beaches.
Corregidor is now a national shrine. Corregidor War Memorial is on the west side of the island, with a museum of war relics, photographs and military papers. Around the island are military tunnels, ruins or massive barracks and rusting armament. (Text by the Department of Tourism).
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