This fascinating offshore island fortress, 40 kilometers west of Manila, is a treasure trove of information for history buffs and is reached in one hour aboard a 150-seat ferry.
Here, a handful of Filipino and American patriots resisted the fury of a Japanese onslaught aimed at conquering the country during World War II in the Pacific Theatre. The Battle of Corregidor was the culmination of the Japanese conquest of the Philippines, and the island's network of tunnels and strong defenses proved difficult to conquer. It was only when the Japanese Army brought heavy artillery to the southern end of Bataan and proceeded to block Corregidor from any sources of food and fresh water that remaining American and Filipino forces had to surrender on May 6, 1942, with the island recaptured from the Japanese in February 1945.
An absorbing tour guides visitors through the features that made this island a formidable defense bastion: gigantic cannons across the island; a mile (0.6 kilometer) long barracks facility that housed thousands of fighting-fit soldiers; a Pacific War Memorial museum with war relics and photos; and a light and sound multivision presentation inside the darkened Malinta Tunnel where General Douglas MacArthur met with Philippine Commonwealth president Manuel L. Quezon, and from where they made their historic escape as Japanese forces invaded. The general had strongly pronounced the immortal words 'I shall return' just before making his top-secret rendezvous with a waiting submarine offshore.