One look at a map will convince you of Corregidor's strategic importance. Some 48 km (30 miles) southwest of the city, it stands guard over the entrance to Manila Bay, and any marauding invader wishing to take the city by sea must first pass by here. Under Spanish rule it was both a defensive fortress and a penal colony. During the American colonial period it was the site of Fort Mills and also Malinta Tunnel, the latter both a defensive bunker and a 1,000-bed military hospital. The tunnel was also the last stronghold of the American forces under General Douglas MacArthur in 1942, before they were forced to withdraw following the Japanese invasion of the Philippines. Today you can view an audiovisual presentation about the building's history inside of the tunnel. Most other war-damaged buildings have been left as they were, as a memorial to the many Filipino and American soldiers who died here. The highest section of Corregidor is also the location for the Pacific War Memorial, completed
in 1968 by the U.S. Government to honor the soldiers who took part in World War II. Also on the island, a Japanese Garden of Peace serves as a reminder that it wasn't only allied soldiers who gave up their lives. Elsewhere, Corregidor Lighthouse, first built in 1853, reminds us that the island also has a navigational as well as strategic role. The best way to visit Corregidor is to book a day tour through one of Manila's many travel agents.