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Corregidor Travel Guide

The small rocky island of Corregidor is about 48 kilometers west of Manila and strategically situated at the entrance of Manila Bay. This island fortress serves as a memorial for the bravery, courage and heroism of its Filipino and American defenders who valiantly held their own against the overpowering amount of attacking Japanese forces during World War II.

Corregidor was derived from the Spanish word “corregir,” meaning to correct. One story narrates that due to the Spanish system wherein all ships docking at Manila Bay were required to stop and have their documents checked and updated, the island was named "Isla del Corregidor". One version states that the island was used as a correctional or penitentiary institution by the Spaniards and came to be called "El Corregidor."

Corregidor - The Rock

Also known as "the Rock," Corregidor was a strategic bastion of the Allies during the war. During the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in December 1941, a delaying action was carried out by the military forces under the command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur in Bataan. The seat of the Philippine Commonwealth government and the Allied forces headquarter was transferred to Corregidor. From there, then Philippine president Quezon and General MacArthur left for Australia in February of 1942, leaving behind Lt. Gen. Wainwright in charge.

Corregidor - Fall of Bataan

After the fall of Bataan on April 9, 1942, the Philippine and American forces held their own at Corregidor for 27 days despite overwhelming odds. In 1941, Corregidor’s big guns were used to backup Filipino and American protectors of Bataan until it was overrun by Japanese Forces. The guns of the Japanese intermittently bombed and restlessly pounded its defenses and forced its surrender. Sooner or later, the rations were depleted and on May 6, 1942, the Allied forces was left with no choice but to surrender Corregidor to the Japanese Imperial Army under the command of Lt. Gen. Masaharu Homma. The forces of Corregidor was, however, successful in halting the advancing Japanese forces in Australia. On January 22, 1945, Corregidor was again caught in the heat of the war as the Americans reclaimed the island after a bloody battle.

2nd Battalion of the Corps of Engineers of the United States started building fortifications on the island to secure the seaward approach to Manila Bay in 1909 due to the strategic location of Corregidor. Trails and roads began to be laid out and bomb-proof shelters and concrete emplacements constructed. After laying down the groundwork in making Corregidor a great military fortress, the engineer contingent left the island on March 15, 1912. Thus, a small fishing village was transformed to a fortress and locations of one of the most heroic battles in war history.

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