Batasan Hills Council and the Task Force on Youth Development (TFYD) looked back on Philippine history when they set foot at Corregidor – the most interesting island in the archipelago, located in the province of Cavite, on May 24, 2016 (Tuesday).
Corregidor’s unparalleled richness in World War II (WWII) antiquities was witnessed by the following delegation from the:
barangay council –
1) Captain John “Jojo” M. Abad
2) Kagawad Luisito “Tata” Z. Ludovica
3) Mrs. Linda A. Ludovica (Kgd. Tata’s wife)
4) Kgd. Edgar “Junjun” S. Macario
5) Kgd. Jhorwin D. Santos
6) Miss Charo Mangune (Kgd. Charlie O. Mangune’s daughter and representative)
7) Kgd. Ernesto “Ernie” S. Custodio
8) Kgd. Filomena “Luming” V. de Guzman
9) Kgd. Roberto “Bobby” B. Miras
10) Barangay Secretary Edwin P. Misolas
11) Bgy. Administrative Assistant Adonis O. Monahan
12) Mrs. Vilma “Bheng” B. Monahan (Bgy. Admin. Asst. Adonis’ wife)
13) Caselyn C. Briguera
14) Ann Janette C. Macam
15) Ann Mica Mae Q. Lim
16) Shaq Ivan V. Tinaza.
A day-tour was enough for the team to see and learn about several spots. To wit,
– Malinta Tunnel is the bomb-proof storage and personnel bunker built by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) as shelter for Filipinos and Americans against tons of bombs that Japanese planes dropped during WWII.
– Battery Way, a gun placement consisting four 12-inch mortars pitted side by side, was said to be the last to surrender to the Japanese during the occupation of the island.
– Battery Grubbs, comprised of two gigantic disappearing guns placed on separate colossal bunkers, was named after 1st Lieutenant Hayden Grubb of the 6th US Infantry.
– Middleside Barracks, a massive edifice, was built in 1915 to house the 60th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, the US Regular Army, the 91st Coast Artillery and the Philippine Scouts. Composed of two three-storey buildings, the design was based on the tropical climate of the country (with high ceiling, large openings and perimeter galleries for ventilation). The windows were fabulously made of capiz (mother of pearl).
– Mile-Long Barracks, formerly called Topside Barracks, is said to be the longest in the world and was said to have a hurricane-proof roof.
– Lorcha Dock is historically significant as this was where General Douglas MacArthur departed Corregidor, the seat of the Philippine government during WWII. Fearing an imminent attack from the Japanese, he boarded a torpedo boat to Misamis Oriental where he then flew to Australia. Off the entrance of the wharf is a large statue of Gen. MacArthur where his famous line “I shall return.” is written.
Japanese Garden of Peace
– Japanese Garden of Peace is where anti-aircraft guns are lined up at a hill’s edge, looking out into the sea. A towering Buddha monument, claimed to be a fertility idol, stands along a pond.
– Spanish Lighthouse stands proudly at 628 feet above sea level. It is the white washed Faro de Isla Corregidor and the oldest structure in the island.
– Cine Corregidor, also called Cinema Corregidor, was a recreational facility for leisure of the then soldiers.
– Now known as the creepiest place in Corregidor where tourists go ghost-hunting during Halloween, the Old Hospital was originally designed in a shape of a cross so enemy planes could vividly see what the structure was and avoid bombing it. Yet, since the Japanese did not sign up to the Geneva Convention, which prohibits destruction of medical facilities during times of war, they freely bombed it to high heavens.
Pacific War Memorial and Museum
– Solemnly at the peak of Corregidor is a white-marbled, saucer-shaped Pacific War Memorial which was built in 1968 to commemorate the Filipino and American forces that fought in the Pacific during WWII. Beside the Memorial is a small museum that houses WWII weapons, photographs, replicas, sculptures and relics. Its centerpiece is a floor to ceiling colorful tile mosaic that depicts the battles fought in the Pacific.
Corregidor, definitely, is a handful, especially for history buffs and very-soon-to-be grown-ups like the TFYD.
Five questions were asked to TFYD when they got back home to Batasan Hills.
Q: What are the things you found in Corregidor that couldn’t be found in textbooks and History classes?
A: “As far as we remember, only the name and simple discussions about Corregidor were discussed in our History subject. Hindi po sinabi sa History class that every inch of this place ay may naging malaking effect during Japanese colonization in our country. Kahit saan ka po lumingon, kahit saan ka humakbang, may istorya. Story that caused why we love our ninuno at kung bakit ini-enjoy natin ang kalayaan.” (As far as we remember, only the name and simple discussions about Corregidor were discussed in our History subject. It was not mentioned in the History class that every inch of this place had big effects during the Japanese colonization in our country. Wherever you look back, wherever you step on, there’s a story. Story that caused why we love our ancestors and why we enjoy our independence.)
Q: Do you find it practical for the Philippine government to preserve the island, knowing that the government also spends for its preservation? Why or why not?
A: “Yes po. We need to preserve the island of Corregidor because it is full of knowledge that we, the new generation, will realize how lucky we are today and be thankful to all the Filipinos and other nations who helped, worked and died for the nation and for the incoming generation.”
Q: Is there any place in Batasan Hills you can consider similar to Corregidor? If yes, what place is this? What can the barangay council and TFYD do to preserve and promote the place?
A: “The barangay hall and all outposts in Barangay Batasan Hills are the places kung saan makikita ang new set of leaders and heroes na binibigay ang lahat not just for the sake of barangay but also to contribute some things for the nation. We need to innovate those places, huwag nating hayaang masira, and how we can do that? Give funds for those.” (The barangay hall and all outposts in Barangay Batasan Hills are the places where we see new set of heroes and leaders who give their all, not only for the sake of the barangay, but also to contribute some things for the nation. We need to innovate those places. Let us not allow for them to be destroyed. And how can we do that? Give funds for those.)
Q: What are your key takeaways from this day-tour?
A: “We’re always thinking and asking what the benefits of knowing the history are, because the reality is, past is past. However, during the tour, we came to a realization na si history ay parang pagkain. Before we eat the delicious and the nutritious meals, we need to give thanks to people who cooked and alalahanin kung anong emotions at hirap ‘yong binigay nila to prepare such meals. And thinking na sa pagluluto, maaaring masugatan at mapaso pero hindi nila iniinda because the only thing na iniisip nila is to prepare the best para sa kakain. Iilan lang kaming nakapunta sa Corregidor sa ilang libong tao sa Batasan Hills. In short, we would be the connector of the past to the future generation.” (We’re always thinking and asking what the benefits of knowing history are, because the reality is, past is past. However, during the tour, we came to a realization that history is like food. Before we eat the delicious and nutritious meals, we need to give thanks to people who cooked, remember what emotions they had and the sacrifices they underwent, to prepare such meals. And, thinking that in cooking, they could get wounded and/or burnt, yet, they continue to bear, because the only thing they think of is to prepare the best for the ones to eat. There were just a handful of us who visited Corregidor among the thousands of people in Batasan Hills. In short, we would be the connector of the past to the future generation.)
Q: How do you plan to implement what you’ve learnt in Corregidor to the whole population of the youth in Batasan Hills? Any project in mind?
A: “Like what we have said, we would be the connector. We can’t bring them there but we can share the feelings and knowledge that we had in that memorable day-tour through an educational viewing about the Island of Corregidor.”
Written by Aphrodite
Photos taken by Kgd. and Mrs. Ludovica, Kgd. de Guzman,
Bgy. Sec. Misolas, Bgy. Admin. Asst. Monahan
and TFYD Macam