During World War II, the islands of the Philippines were heavily bombed by Japanese forces, and Corregidor Island, the U.S. island fortress at the mouth of Manila Bay, became a strategic target. Then, on May 5, 1942, Japan launched a full-blown assault on the island’s U.S. and Philippine troops that fought side-by-side. Corregidor fell into the hands of the Japanese until 1945 when the United States recaptured the island fortress.
Today Corregidor Island is one of the Philippines' most important historic sites, and its silent ruins serve as memorial to remind us to never forget the atrocities of war and to remember the American, Filipino and Japanese soldiers who served and died here.
The main sites to visit on the island are the Filipino Heroes Monument, the Pacific War Memorial (which has its own museum) and the Japanese Garden of Peace, where a Goddess of Mercy statue watches over the soldiers who were buried in 1945. You can also head into underground hideout bunkers in the 276-yard (253-meter) Malinta Tunnel, where a light and sound show reenacts the events of 1942. Head up the Spanish Lighthouse for views out to Mt Mariveles and across the Bataan peninsula, or wander with the monkeys and lizards that today occupy the island among the concrete shells of barracks and bullet-marked gun batteries.
A one-hour ferry ride can be taken to Corregidor Island, 25 miles (40 km) southwest of Manila. Ferries leave from Hoverferry Terminal near the Cultural Center of the Philippines on Roxas Boulevard, and unless you stay overnight at the island’s only hotel, the Corregidor Inn, the island cannot be visited without a guide.