Wanderlust Series 1: Corregidor Island

Corregidor is one of those places that I’ve been itching to go to for the longest time. A friend of mine mentioned a long time ago that there were affordable tours for the island but I just never got around to going there.

We got the opportunity to finally visit the island during my dad’s most recent vacation here in the Philippines. You see, his stay was short so we didn’t really have the time to book something grandiose. Fortunately, Corregidor is quite near and we’ve never gone there before so it’s still something new to experience.

Inside M/V Bay Cruiser.

Sun Cruises is the provider of tour packages and transportation from Manila to the Island. Booking and reservations for the trip was quite a breeze. Most of the instructions and details about their packages are already found on the website, so from visiting the site you can already get an idea of what package you want to avail.

Corregidor isn’t as popular as, say, Boracay or Puerto Galera, as a vacation destination, so scheduling wasn’t difficult. We called Friday afternoon for a scheduled day tour and overnight stay on the following day and we got slots with no problem.

There were two basic packages to avail of: the guided historical tour and the walking tour. The main difference between the two is the mode of transportation within the island. The guided historical tour lets you visit the main points of attractions via tranvia.  The walking tour on the other hand is a bit of a hike. You visit the main points on foot, plus you have the option of going inside caves and woodland trails and all that fun stuff that you cannot reach via tranvia.

The tranvia; which is basically a bus with open sides. (Photo credit from http://www.corregidorphilippines.com/gallery.html)

We took the walking tour at my insistence because we gorged ourselves too much over the holiday. I figured we could use the exercise.

I wasn’t able to take any photos of the cave exploration part, so I’m borrowing one from http://www.corregidorphilippines.com/gallery.html

Excuse the footwear, it was a walking tour and I didn’t want to ruin my other pair of shoes.

Greetings from the Lighthouse.

How many stories can these old walls tell?
(Photo credit: http://www.corregidorphilippines.com/gallery.html)

If you’re staying overnight, there are several activities you can do on the day after the main tour. We opted for a round of Zipline, and then just went petiks on the beach. The beach quite rocky though, so not really an ideal site to sunbathe on.

A very rocky beach

Pre-Zipline!

What I loved:

The history. Their guides certainly knew a LOT about what went down in every site. They can tell you which craters were made by bomb hits and shrapnel, which trails were caved in and whatnot. Probably my favorite part would be the bat cave and the Malinta Tunnels, where you can find Manuel Quezon’s old office, hospital ward tunnels and the secret passageway that McArthur used to escape from Corregidor. I think it was also where he uttered his famous words “I shall return.”

The rustic feel. Though airconditioned and clean, Corregidor Inn’s interiors were not too glamorous. Don’t get me wrong, I loved that it didn’t feel like a hotel. In fact it looked pretty much like an old house, which went with the whole history thing. The island is powered by solar energy and generators; only one TV can be found in the whole building because the generators won’t be able to sustain TVs in all 31 rooms.

Corregidor Inn

The view from my window. Now wouldn’t you want to wake up to that?

The two-bedroom suite. (Photo credit: http://www.corregidorphilippines.com/gallery.html)

What I didn’t love so much:

The food. I was severely disappointed with La Playa’s menu, which didn’t offer that many choices. My father was looking forward to some fresh seafood. I suppose he thought seafood would be easy to come by since we’re on an island and the sea is so close, but he was disappointed by that as well. Turns out, the food and ingredients they have on hand were also from Manila, and their generators can’t sustain superfreezers that can keep the seafood fresh. For the price range of 150-400php, the cooking was bleh. “Southwestern Fried Chicken” is literally just fried chicken. Chef’s Special was fried fish. The Spare ribs tasted like tocino. They have excellent churros though, but other than that, everything else on the menu isn’t too good.

The rather sad menu. No further food porn because I do not like lies.

Recommendations:

History enthusiasts and nature lovers would have a blast here. I think even RPG geeks would have a heck of a time with all the canons, weapons and war memorabilia. I swear, I couldn’t stop associating inane words like “Quartermaster” with World of Warcraft. “I am ready to exchange my Arena Points now. Where be my Wrathful Set?”

DEFEND THE CITY, WE ARE UNDER SIEGE!

– If you’re a first timer, or if you’re not too fond of long walks and hikes, go for the bus tour.

Bring your own food if you’re planning on staying overnight. Save your money and avoid disappointment. But do try the churros.

– Seems like a nice place to hold team buildings. No videoke though, but I think they’ll have a “recreational area” up and running soon. Though the lodging and food weren’t too classy, I didn’t really mind. I came here for the experience and for the history, and what an experience it was indeed.

 

Budget:

Historical Walking Tour Package: PHP 1,788 per head [incl of roundtrip ferry transfers; shrine, entrance and terminal fees; guided walking tour, packed lunch and tour kit, fuel surcharge]
Accommodation: PHP 4,000 per room per night (2-br suite), max 4 persons per room
Food: PHP 150-400 per person per meal
Misc  Activities:
– Sunset Viewing – PHP 250 per head
– “Ghost Hunting” – PHP 250 per head
– Zip-line – PHP 150 per head
– ATV – PHP 500 per hour

My Twenty-Second, Take One

***REALLY Late Post***

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It’s my twenty-second birthday!

It has been tradition in our family to go out and celebrate birthdays with a movie and a fancy dinner (by “fancy”, I mean “not fast food”). The film lineups in cinemas aren’t particularly appetizing, but off we went to TriNoma anyway to see Red Cliff, an epic war movie set in 3rd century China. The plot is a little reminiscent of 300, in the sense that the protagonists were massively outnumbered but they used clever strategies to make up for their lack in numbers. I am not a big fan of war movies, but I found myself watching in rapt attention, squinting to read the subtitles (Aren’t I brilliant for forgetting to wear my contact lenses?), just so I wouldn’t miss anything. If you haven’t seen it, maybe you should.

Anyhoot after the movie we grabbed dinner at Holy Cow Steakhouse. I loved the interior of the place, all leather and warm, earthy tones. I especially loved the big leather armchairs. They remind me of Mafias and The Godfather for some reason. I just couldn’t resist camwhoring a little with them.

I'm no smoker, but the chair feels incomplete without a cigarette. Haha

The food wasn’t as spectacular as I thought it would be, however. All our entrees seemed rather bland and a little too greasy for my taste. My mom’s steaks are so much better than theirs. Here’s some deceptive food porn for you.

Mozarella and Parmesan Grilled Chicken

Country Fried Chicken

Roast beef? I forgot.

Kudos to the service crew though. They were very attentive and they responded to our requests quickly. AND I they gave me free cake because it’s my birthday! I free stuff! And cake! Yay!

At least the cake was good. Dark Chocolate Fudge Pie ala Mode

Happy birthday to me!