Tuesday, 25 October 2011

War of the Pacific

One thing that we have learned about Manila is that it is not a very easy place to get around.  Suppose you want to take a drive and see a bit of the place.  The traffic is insanely CRAZY, and it would probably take you 2-3 hours just to get to the surrounding countryside.  Thankfully the taxi service is quite cheap, IF you have a taxi with a working meter.  We FOBs didn't know any better and were double charged for one of the trips our first day here.

Several missionaries had recommended a day trip to a place called Corregidor Island.  This island is located in Manila Bay, the murky body of water that surrounds the city.  The Dooleys and Quinton and I met Jeff and the Kerrs at the doc for an 8AM departure.  (Jeff and the Kerrs had already been riding in a taxi for 1.5 hours by that point.  Our trip from the hotel was quite a bit shorter.)  We boarded a boat and traveled about an hour to Corregidor.

Corregidor Island has been a checkpoint and fort, protecting the Philippine capital for even hundreds of years.  It is most famous for its role in World War II.  When I was a kid in school, I remember learning quite a bit about the European part of WWII and of course about Pearl Harbor.  But a huge part of the war was actually fought in the Pacific.  For example, the Australians fought the Japanese in PNG.  There were battles in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu and many other islands around the Pacific.  The Philippines was a major conflict point between the Americans and the Japanese.

So in the years preceding WWII, Corregidor Island was a huge military base for American troops.  The US spent millions of dollars fortifying the island, digging tunnels and building all sorts of barracks and other structures.  In 1942, the Japanese invaded the Philippines and hit Corregidor hard.  General Douglas MacArthur, after repeated orders from US President Roosevelt, reluctantly retreated from the island... promising "I shall return."

The island was pretty much pulverized by the Japanese (and later the Filipino-American army as they took it back.)  Here are some pictures that I took while we explored the ruins...

The Japanese occupied Corregidor Island for three years.  In 1945, General MacArthur made good on his promise.  US and Filipino combined forces recaptured Corregidor and liberated the Philippines.  Several months later, the war was over.

Today, Corregidor Island is a memorial to the Filipinos, Americans, and Japanese who served and died in WWII.  It was a great place to explore, learn, and remember those who gave their lives for our freedom.  Thank you for your sacrifice!

"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.  For OUR struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand."
~ Ephesians 6:11-13


  1. Reminds me of a place I visited once in Germany (or was it Belgium) where a major battle led by General Patton (I think) was won by the Allied forces. Very solemn place.

    Did I ever tell you about the former WWII gun battery I worked at while I was going to San Diego State? Remind me to tell you about that someday :).

  2. I stumbled on your blog. It's good you covered this part of history of World War II. I hope you enjoyed your stay in the Philippines despite the traffic. BTW, I am a Filipino pastoring an evangelical church in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and also, a history buff. Ton P. Alcantara

  3. Hi, Pastor Ton! Thanks for checking out my blog. I have certainly enjoyed the Philippines, only wishing I had more time to explore this beautiful country :).

  4. It's a country of 1,700 islands, at least during low tide, so it will take a while to explore all of them :=) . WWII history has a special place in my heart because my father (with the USAFFE) was a Bataan Death March survivor. Had he died then, I would not have been born. He passed away in 1991 in California. I led him to Christ a decade earlier after he retired and moved to the US.