After a filling lunch at Corregidor’s La Playa Restaurant, it was time to explore the island’s middle and tailside portions. The first one on the list was the Middleside Barracks.
This massive edifice was built in 1915 to house the 60th Coast Artillery anti-aircraft regiment, the US Regular Army, the 91st Coast Artillery and the Philippine Scouts. Composed of two three-story buildings, its design was based on our country’s tropical climate; high ceiling, large openings and perimeter galleries for ventilation. The windows were interestingly made of capiz (mother of pearl) sliding panels like those found on Spanish Colonial era houses in the country. I’m actually having a hard time reconciling a soldier barracks adorned with those graceful capiz windows.
But of course, all of those were in the past. All that can be seen now are the slowly deteriorating skeletons of the barracks after it was bombed by the invading Japanese forces in December 1941.
We were allowed to alight from the tram but like with the other sites we visited earlier, it was limited to only ten minutes. And ten minutes goes by really fast when you’re shooting, so I was only able to take a couple of photos before the tram bell went ringing. Time to move on.
Later in the afternoon after the tour, I took a walk around the deserted roads of Corregidor and found myself again at this crumbling ruin. The sun was already dipping low on the horizon and golden light was striking the pillars of the structure.
There was no one in sight, no city sound to be heard; no honkings, engine noise, nothing whatsoever. It was just me, the roadway made dark by the columns of trees on both its sides, a couple of goats grazing at the lower part of the road and the silently degenerating edifice. If you will allow me to confess, I was totally creeped out. I was ready to bolt out of there the minute I see or hear even something mildly out of the ordinary.
But I took courage, I was not about to let the nice light go to waste.
So there I was, holding on to my legs, which wanted so badly to run back to the Corregidor Inn, taking my time shooting the staring portals of this long gone army dwelling. A few snaps here and there and when I looked at my watch, it was almost five in the afternoon.
I had to head back if I wanted to catch the night tour of Corregidor. I knew that it would not take long before the light began to wane and I don’t wanna be caught by darkness along the silent winding roads of this island alone. The roadways were eerie enough during the day; I can’t imagine how it would be during the night.
Alright, got to go, I said to myself with a final sigh of relief.
And right then, through the deafening non-sound of the whispering trees, the empty road and the staring ruin came an echoing call that broke through the stillness of the fading afternoon. I almost jumped out of my skin and broke into a cold-sweated run.
I forced myself to stop and with a bemused expression, realized what the sound was.
It was a just freaking gecko. Thank God.
Corregidor Sun Cruises Tour
02-5275555 | 02-8346857
Day Tour (round trip ferry with buffet lunch) | P1,999.00 per person
Overnight Package (roundtrip ferry, 1 buffet lunch, 1 night stay at Corregidor Inn) | P2,880.00 per person
Check their website for more detailed rates for group packages