While there we took a day trip out to the WWII ruins on the heavily fortified island of Corregidor at the entrance to Manila bay, off the Bataan peninsula.
For those unfamiliar, Corregidor was the headquarters of the Allied resistance under Gen. Douglas MacArthur against the Japanese invasion of the Philippines. The Japanese laid siege to and eventually captured the island on May 6, 1942, but not before MacArthur had evacuated and famously stated "I came out of Bataan and I shall return".
The island was then later RETAKEN by allied forces on 26 Feb 1945, following another long and bloody battle. After the battle, the island was pretty much left in ruin "as is" and eventually turned into a historical monument.
Many bandwidth intensive photographs are located behind the cut, please enjoy!
I have attempted to have these images automatically resize to the browser window, we'll see whether it works or not... I've included some photos from Manila, and a few bird pictures at the end of this post, I hope you'll forgive them if they are not directly related to the Corregidor topic.
Corregidor island as seen from space, at the entrance to Manila bay, and south of the Bataan peninsula at the top of the image. (Courtesy NASA/Wikipedia.)
A fisherman, in a cove of Corregidor.
View of the Bataan peninsula, north from the decaying wharf on Corregidor.
A Japanese artillery piece brought in after the capture of the island. This gun was manufactured in Nagasaki.
This is what's left of a damaged American "disappearing gun" which could rise above its fortifications, fire, and then duck back down to safety while it was reloaded and aimed.
The same disappearing gun from the front.
The whole island sustained days upon days of artillery bombardment from Bataan, first by the Japanese, and then later by the Allies. Shrapnel impacts, craters, and explosion damage are literally everywhere.
Photo of Japanese troops posing with the largest American artillery piece captured on the island. Before they left, the Americans sabotaged it to render it inoperable.
The same gun in the photo above. The Japanese had attempted to repair the gun and use it against the allies. Note the shrapnel damage to the metal from American aerial bombing.
This American mortar was wedged into this bunker opening by the explosion of its ammunition magazine during the initial Japanese bombardment. A testament to the fierce battle going on at the time, a live round is still trapped inside the gun, as it was preparing to fire at the time.
Ammunition storage bunkers for the mortar pits.
A crumbling building ruin.
Prior to the Japanese bombardment, the American barracks building on the island was a sprawling network of impressive multistory buildings. This is what remains after two intense battles.
Damaged insignia of the 59th Coast Artillery Regiment on the barracks building.
The original insignia:
The Malinta Tunnel was initially an extensive network of bomb-proof storage tunnels, but later served also as Gen. Douglas MacArthur's headquarters, the seat of the Philippine Gov't and a 1,000 bed military hospital.
During the retaking of the island by the allied forces, the Japanese defenders sealed themselves inside portions of the tunnel and committed suicide, detonating explosives and grenades, and causing cave-ins. These have never been excavated, and the Japanese remains are still entombed beneath this rubble.
After spending a day on Corregidor, we took the boat back to Manila to do some bird watching there.
Manila is a huge, sprawling collection of cities on the west side of the Philippine island of Luzon. We stayed in Quezon City due to the fact we were meeting up with our friends at the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines to do some birding.
The University of the Philippines campus is quite beautiful, and offers a welcome natural respite from the hectic concrete jungle of the city.
Getting around the city is cheap (if harrowing) by cab, or cheaper and even more adventurous via the ubiquitous "Jeepnies" seen here.
I'm afraid I don't know how to identify butterflies.
This eccentric superhero kindly allowed me to photograph him in his costume. I don't know his background, but he seemed quite the character.
Some interesting graffiti in the city.
We stumbled across the remains of this aging monument in a swampy and overgrown area within the park.
As you leave the city, you very rapidly enter undeveloped jungle areas. It's amazing how quickly you go from urban to "so wild there is literally the chance of finding species unknown to science".
A juvenile Brown Shrike eating a worm.
An Oriental Magpie Robin!
The dreadfully quiet and charming Guaiabero parrot. The poor thing is confused and thinks that it is a mango.
The Philippine Hanging Parrot aka the Colasisi - doing what it does best.
Myself playing around with a Japanese Type 3 Heavy Machinegun (aka Taisho 14) on Corregidor.
Thank you for reading! Comments and questions are always appreciated.