I was in Manila over the "Holy Week", ended up returning to HK on Good Friday. However, as our radius of adventure does not extendbeyond the hotel and the office, we stay only in the business district called Makati City, where no one actually lives... so it is actually a ghost town during Holy Week. That was kind of unfortunate... I had hoped to attend some church services while I was here, but probably not the best idea for me to venture off by myself...
No matter, thankfully, I was able to attend my friend on a Wednesday night service held in a converted movie theatre in the Greenbelt mall. The Greenbelt is great, we pretty much go there for lunch every day (it's huge... many restaurants, and movie tickets are relatively inexpensive compared to HK or North America!). I truly believe that everyone who was born in the Philippines can sing and dance well. The worship service was no less. It was a great time of much-needed worship.
We get 3 days off for Easter (longer than Chinese New Year this year.. crazy), so on the Thursday, I went with 2 coworkers to Corregidor on a day trip.
Corregidor is about an hour and a half boat ride away from Manila. Since Philippines was gained by the United States from Spain after the Spanish-American War (along with Puerto Rico and Guam), the Philippines became a strategic stronghold during WWII. General MacArthur (picture of statue below =p) was stationed here in the Far East. During WWII, Corrigedor fell to the Japanese, meaning Philippines fell to Japanese rule for approximately 3 years, but was regained by American troops.
The visit was great. The tourguide was obviously very experienced (19 years) and very funny at it. There isn't a whole lot to see, per se, mainly all of the ruined barracks which have not been touched since the bombings during the war. The U.S. had 8000 troops stationed in Corregidor... amazing because it's such a small island (land area of 9 square km). Other than ruins, there were other big guns stationed at key points on the island. One of the key strategic benefits about Corregidor is that it is very rocky. The Americans built within the rocky hill a massive tunnel called the "Malinta tunnel", built to be bombproof. Quite incredible.
Lastly, there is the Pacific War Memorial erected by the US government. Of course, it made me think of the Pearl Harbor memorial when I visited Hawaii last year. The design of this memorial is similar to the one at Pearl Harbor, incorporating elements of sunlight; it is designed such that sunlight shines directly overtop the indoor marker only on May 19(?) the day of liberation(?). Something like that. =p
All in all, this visit was richly informative but also humbling to learn about the many different aspects of this war that affected so many people all the way in the Far East, which I knew nothing about.
As typical, the tour agency had people taking pictures and selling them. The scary thing about this picture was that I didn't pose for him... I was actually posing for my friend... which means that I didn't realize he took a picture of me! Oh well, printed and framed for 100 pesos (about 2 USD). So why not.
Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.