Our 3rd stop was the infamous Malina Tunnel. Its construction was between 1922 to 1932 by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The Malinta Tunnel derives its name from Malinta Hill, a 390 feet rise through which its shaft is bored. Malinta is Filipino for “full of leeches”, linta is filipino for “leech”.
The main tunnel is 836 feet long and 24 feet wide with 13 lateral tunnels on the north side and 11 lateral tunnels on the south side. Each lateral averaged 160 feet long and 15 feet wide. Before WWII, electric trains pass along the tunnel.
It was initially constructed as a bomb proof storage and bunker, but during WWII, it was re-equipped as a 1,000-bed hospital, quartermaster area, gasoline storage, quarters to Pres. Quezon (2nd term as President of the Commonwealth before he exiled to the US). Then, headquarters to Gen. MacArthur and Lt. Gen. Wainwright.
It was considered the safest place in the island during WWII and it served as a temporary home to an estimated 8,000 American and Filipino soldiers for about 5 months (most of the time without lights). 124 nurses served the 1,000-bed hospital and It has been said that the blood dried up almost 1 inch thick, after surrendering to the Japanese forces last 6th of May 1942.
During the retaking of Corregidor between the 23rd of January 1945 to the 26th of February 1945, The Japanese forces fought hard to hold off the American – Filipino forces. Notably, the Japanese trapped inside Malinta hill blown themselves up. In compliance with the philosophy of Bushido, the remaining Japanese soldiers hiding in caves and tunnels, preferred to commit suicide rather than surrender.
In Malinta Hill, American units fend off successive banzai charges, mortar attacks, and even squads with explosives strapped to their bodies, killing over 300 Japanese.
Large quantities of gasoline was poured through the air shafts and set to fire.
Today, Malinta Hill is the venue of an audio-visual presentation by National Artist Lamberto V. Avellana of events during WWII. It also includes the evacuation of Pres. Quezon and General MacArthur to Mindanao then to Australia.
For more details, you may contact Sun Cruises at:
Sun Cruises reservations office: 02 834.6857-58 or 0917-5132625
http://www.corregidorphilippines.com (for updates and promos)