If you find yourself in Manila, rather than hit up all the shopping malls (it’s pretty much the thing to do for locals) visit Corregidor Island instead.
It’s a day-long journey (but you can stay the night too) taking a ferry across Manila Bay and back.
Corregidor Island (also called Fort Mills) was General MacArthur’s headquarters during World War II and the place he snuck out of the Philippines in 1942. It was the last bastion of defense of the Philippines and the US forces before Japan conquered the islands. But the defense lasted for over 5 months, severely altering Japan’s plans for conquering the rest of the Pacific.
The island (about 2 miles long and shaped like a tadpole) is covered in crumbling military barracks and installations (and a movie theater!). It also has hundreds of tunnels and fortifications, one of which – the Malinta Tunnel – housed all the people living on the island during the Japanese invasion. There are 24 branching tunnels (called laterals) off the main tunnel and additionally a major barracks and a military hospital (see the map below).
Here are a few photos…
An old battery.
Super selfie situation.