April 20, 2019

Corregidor Travel Diary: Corregidor Inn and La Playa Restaurant

People close to me, knows I love history, especially anything relating about World War II or military stories. I have discovered this fondness for history and the world wars when I was little, I picked and read from our ancestral house’s library, one photo book that depicts World War II. From then on, I got more and more curious about anything about military and warfare; that I read and watched all things relating to it as much as I could. I was very fascinated that it got to a point where I wanted to be a military nurse while I was studying nursing in college. But my height didn’t cut it, so that plan was ditched.

The Philippines is a country that had a major role during that time in our history because of our relations with the United States and also our ardor for democracy. And there are so many places here that are filled with stories that are linked to World War II. Corregidor is one of them. Corregidor is an island that can be found at the entrance of Manila Bay in the Philippines. Due to its very strategic location, it served as a naval defense station since the Spanish Era. It is 48 kilometers away from Manila and is shaped like a tadpole.

It is probably one of the Philippine World War II places that is full to brim when it comes to that time in history. Corregidor is actually part of Cavite Province, contrary to what most of us have known for years (and that’s including me) and is sometimes used jokingly (just like Bataan) as something to refer to someone or someone who surrendered their freedom or have accepted defeat. But Corregidor, just like Bataan, for me, is actually a place of valor and victory more than defeat. It is a place where the strength, skill, endurance and patriotism of the Filipino and American soldiers were displayed in all its glory. They will always be remembered – the Greatest Generation ever. Period.

Of course I am not discounting the Japanese soldiers because in their own rights, they were also brave too. It’s just that our cultures and beliefs are very different from them and that unfortunately they were one of the antagonists of that War. But like what I’ve read in books, as told by those soldiers, they were just doing their job and their circumstances required them to do things that are not acceptable in a civilized world. But you know, let’s not be hypocrites all sides have committed atrocities and it only goes to show that war doesn’t yield any good, at all.

But aside from Corregidor’s dark and sad past, it is also a place that must be visited. It’s a place where you can get a fix of history, adventure, the outdoors, the sea and the beach all at once. Just last weekend, I got to go to Corregidor as part of a Media/Bloggers Familiarization Tour hosted by Sun Cruises and Corregidor Inn. I’ve been wanting to go there for years so when a friend invited me to go, the inner-history lover in me got way so excited!

The Corregidor Educational Tour is a service provided by Sun Cruises. What began as a ferry service to the historic island of Corregidor back in 1988 has now turned into something more significant for Sun Cruises, Inc. They now offer guided tours, all being a wide variety of adventure and fun activities on the island to choose from. All of Sun Cruises’ tours on Corregidor are meticulously planned to include visits to places of interest and scenic drives through areas of natural beauty with historical value. Every detail is planned down to the last point to assure the right amount of balance between scheduled activities and free time.

The ferry usually leaves at 7:00 am from the SM MOA Esplanade Seaside Terminal. There are two decks inside and an open deck at the back of the ferry. Seating is comfortable and there are flat screen TVs in front showing documentaries pertaining to the events at Corregidor during WWII. A small store sells different kinds of snacks and drinks for tourists to enjoy while sailing. I love how comfy our ride was and I didn’t get sea-sick. When we got to the island, we boarded to our assigned trams reminiscent of the ones that were used during the early days.

As for our group since we will be staying on the island overnight we were separated from the other guests who were doing a day tour. We visited many spots around the island and did a couple of other activities. I don’t think one post would be enough to relate this experience so I’m going to divide this into two posts and one for a review of the one and only hotel in the island: Corregidor Inn.

Whew! We’re finally at the last part of this blog series! Woot! If you reached this post, thanks a lot for reading far up here. I don’t mind writing several posts regarding this trip; as I enjoyed our time there as much as I enjoy writing about it. So, since we stayed overnight in the island, we lodged at the newly renovated Corregidor Inn.

It is the one and only hotel in the island and is a perfect getaway if one is looking for a little peace and quiet or a moment away from the bustling city life. I browsed the photos of it online and checked out other blogs before our trip so I know what to expect. Let me just say, that even if the amenities of the hotel is quite limited, I was simply astounded. It was nothing like the old photos of that I saw on the internet anymore. 

A quaint boutique hotel, Corregidor Inn is nicely nestled within the lush green tropics of the island and its rich history. The hotel is located at the middle side of the island and in the area between the north and south docks. Since it is perched on an elevated area, the hotel has the best coastal views of the Philippine Sea on one side and the straight that separates it from Bataan.

Here are some of the activities offered by Corregidor Inn and Sun Cruises in the island:

Adventure Game - Challenge both your mind and body with our adventure game. They will take you to different landmarks while doing mind and physical games that will absolutely be fun-filled!

Biking - Explore Corregidor island’s splendor, and level up your experience with biking! Have the opportunity to conquer biking trails and see scenic and historic spots at your own pace. By the way, they are offering the Bambikes (bamboo bikes) if you want to do a biking tour of the island.

Basketball - Dribble, and dunk! Enjoy a game of basketball with friends and family on their very own basketball court just a short walk away from the hotel.

Bird Watching - Commune with nature and be the one to spot what could be migratory or resident birds of the Island. Oh there are other animal species there too like the Philippine Macaque which you can see lurking around the trees near the roads.

Camp Adventure - Live and learn about the great outdoors in a specialized camp training program. Learn to respect and develop the confidence to survive in a world of trees and bushes.

Cool At The Pool - Enjoy the cool breeze as you enjoy a splash in our pool. Make the day even better when you order some snacks and drinks from the La Playa Restaurant. Also, you can drop by at the South Dock where the Navy Beach/The Rock Beach Club is located. 

Fun Fishing Activity - Delight on a sunny day out on the docks with our fishing rod. In Corregidor’s North and South Dock, one can find a bountiful marine life on the outskirts of the island.

Hiking - Hike along the woodland trails of Corregidor on an adventure race. Be ready to drop down into mysterious tunnels in search of clues that will lead you to win the adventure challenge.

Island Runabout - Circle the Island on an outrigger boat and view the neighboring isles, La Monja, Caballo (Fort Drum), and the scenic coast of Mariveles.

Kayaking - Rent a double stingray kayak for an hour at Corregidor’s South beach and explore the sea and the shores in a different way. Take a dip at the Navy Beach right after too.

Night Lateral Tunnel Visit - See the inside of Malinta Tunnel at night and enter the laterals which are off-limits to day tour visitors. It’s a whole new experience and thrill altogether.

Rock Balancing - Rock balancing is an ephemeral art which has recently been introduced in the Island. This is a nature activity which aims to boost eco-tourism and build awareness on nature conservation.

Sunrise Viewing - Brave the chilly mornings in Corregidor as we drive you to the Island’s trailside to catch the sunrise.

Sunset Experience - Catch the lovely sunset at Battery Grubbs, one of the “disappearing” guns perched on a hill overlooking Bataan.

Walk And Jog - Take a morning walk around the island and nourish both your body and mind while at it. There’s nothing like a good sweat in the morning!

Historical Tram Tour - Explore Corregidor’s Memorial War Zone on a tram for a vibrant and historical experience as the tour guide tells you all about the hardships of Filipino and American soldiers.

From what I saw from the photos online, the façade didn’t change that much and has retained its old look but the interiors and the verandas are now fashioned to look like those country home villas with a little bit of industrial and modern touches. The hotel has 31 rooms, 22 of which are twin rooms, 8 double rooms, and one suite room. All rooms are fully air-conditioned and comfortable.

The Hotel Room
I and my roommate Tina of hungrytravelduo.com stayed in a Twin Bedroom on the East wing of the hotel. The twin room is about 18 sqm with 2 single beds, a work desk, an open closet and a toilet and bath. Just like the other hotel areas, the rooms are newly renovated and designed modern minimalist with its former Filipiniana theme completely untraced. The split-type air-conditioning was great; the sheets were fresh and clean; and the beds are comfortable.

On the working desk, you can find writing materials, a phone that connects you to the reception area, and a coffee/tea making facility and complimentary bottled waters. There isn’t any other form of entertainment inside the room, no music player or television set; because you actually won’t stay in the hotel when you’re in Corregidor, will you? It’s just basically meant to be a place for you to rest/sleep after a long day of touring and activities.

Bathroom And Toiletries
The bathroom of each rooms offers basic amenities: a shower, a toilet and a sink with a mirror. I personally like the rain shower head and the color scheme of the bathroom. I find it like those bathrooms worthy to be pinned on Pinterest hehe. The toiletries offered are branded with Corregidor Inn on them but they are provided by Ilog Ni Maria, which are bee propolis based products. The shower has a cold, warm and hot option by the way. There’s also an open closet with a mini safety deposit box, just right outside the bathroom where you can put your luggage and hang your clothes. 

The Amenities
Corregidor Inn’s other amenities and services include: Laundry, dry cleaning, ironing services; Wake-up service; Library (books and board games); Conference Room (overhead projector, a DVD player, a PA system, flip charts, a whiteboard and writing materials); Clinic; Pre-Arranged Massages and others. The hotel also has a pool but we didn’t get to visit that one since it was still under renovation. 

Dining Options
The hotel has one restaurant, La Playa, which offers both Filipino and International dishes. When we were there they offered us buffet lunch and breakfast and during our dinner they prepared a feast-like boodle fight.

This is also where you can also chill and drink coffee in the morning or beer in the afternoon while you look out over the sea and the nearby Bataan province in the distance. I super enjoyed the moment before we had breakfast. We weren’t able to join the others during the sunrise watching, so Tina and I decided to stay at the hotel’s veranda instead and get some morning coffee, while everyone is still asleep. We had the entire veranda all to ourselves, and I’m telling you that was such a priceless moment. I always enjoy having coffee by the beach and this is as close as I can get that morning to that. 

I was not expecting too much of their food, but boy oh boy, La Playa delivered! Surprisingly even if what they served were just very simple Filipino dishes they tasted pretty good, if I can say so myself. The most memorable dishes that they served us, which I loved, were their sinigang na maya maya, arroz caldo, champorado, tocino, stuffed grilled bangus and their whole Filipino breakfast buffet spread. 

The Service and Overall Experience
The service all around the hotel was pretty nice. The staff are always attentive and ready to attend to our every need. They were also courteous, helpful and ready to answer any inquiry that we may have. All in all, it was a great stay at Corregidor Inn; just the comfort that we all needed after a long day of touring the notable spots in the island. 

There’s so much you can do and go to when in Corregidor that IMO, a weekend visit wouldn’t be enough to do all those things. You can find more details on their website, like the tour packages/inclusions and other available services. I’ve listed the details down below for your reference. It’s really worth it to visit at least once in your life, especially if you’re a Filipino or if you have Filipino blood, so that you’ll have a new appreciation of history and the freedom that you are enjoying today. 

The whole encounter is something for the books that I will surely treasure for the rest of my life. Something that I can add to my myriad collection of stories about World War II that I have acquired throughout the years. I love that I get to experience history, adventure, food and leisure in just one place. I also get to meet great people who share the same passions like myself for travel, food, learning and adventure.  What a fun weekend that was!

You can check out the places we've visited and the things we did in Corregidor by clicking the links below. 

21st Floor Times Plaza Bldg., Ermita,
Manila, Philippines
Contact Nos: (632) 354-7005, (632) 6289751
(632) 6289752, (63)998 968-3256, (63)998 968-3056
Email: reservations@suncruises.com.ph
Website: corregidorphilippines.com
Facebook: facebook.com/CorregidorPH
Instagram: instagram.com/corregidorPH

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** additional photos by: Tina (hungrytravelduo.com), Me-Ann (yogoandcream.com) & Gelo (angelotheexplorer.com/)

1 comment:

  1. Wow this is a must-visit place especially for the history buff like like me. And oh boy, the food looks amazing and the place is breathtaking even after what happened from the past. Di naman to haunted diba?



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