For our first ever trip, we've decided to go to the nearest tourist vacation spot near the Metro: Corregidor. We would have gone the Baguio route like most couples on their first out of town vacation would, but I didn't bother suggesting it since that's a holy week and city dwellers practically move there at that time.
We've done a really quick research and have found that the most convenient, quickest, safest and possibly the cheapest way to go there was via SunCruises. Based on what we've found, Corregidor island is under the monopoly of Sun Cruises (they are also responsible for the Manila Bay Cruises) so there's no other form of cruise en route. Unless of course you count the private bancas that can take you there which is really expensive* especially if there's just two of us. Prices can start for 4k up.
I was able to talk to a CSR a week or two prior and was told to do online booking instead. From the site above, they offer complete packages that involve round trip ferry, tour guides and hotels. We got the one that let us stay for 2D/1N:
Package Tour: (PHP 7098 good for 2pax)
Roundtrip ferry transfer (Manila-Corregidor-Manila)
Shrine and entrance fees
Guided island tour by Tranvia bus
Buffet lunch (on 1st day)
Plated breakfast (on 2nd day)
Optional Fees: (prices are per person)
A. PHP 200 - Malinta Lights and Sound Show
B. PHP 250 - Extra activity package.
1. Sunset Viewing
2. Hospital Visit
3. "Ghost Hunting" (Malinta Tunnel tour)
4. Sunrise Viewing
5. Hiking / Japanese Tunnel
The port can be found at the back of Folk Arts Theater. We're not absolutely familiar so we've opted for taxi. We came there 6 so we decided to walk back and eat at Jollibee. To our shock, there's already a huge line at the counter. Thankfully it wasn't as awful since it got much longer and the line moved quicker when there are more counters that served those who have already reserved their bookings. All the walk-ins will have to wait to be called.
Prepare for munchies. Food expense starts now
We were also advised to leave our bags for check in which we did. This is found to be a good idea later on when upon arrival to the island our initial tour officially starts as soon as we're on the trams.
Bus 1 Tour Guide
Our tour guide was really nice he have given us instructions on how best to enjoy the locations we go to. We were set time on when to come back to the tram, following a really tight schedule. Dang it I've forgotten the flashlight I've brought! We've had experiences in the dark at this moment so we've gone dependent to our peers.
History and war veterans are sure to enjoy the trip because every stop and every ride there's always tidbits of what have happened during those times. They even go as far as Spanish history mind you.
After hours in the tour at the head portion of the island, we were sent back to the hotel to dine for our buffet lunch at La Playa. This is the only restaurant tourists can eat and it's quite expensive. I remembered my boyfriend paid 500+ for each of us at Day 2 lunch buffet while we wait for our boat. This is to be understood though, since there are no crops nor livestock on the island, everything is imported. (I did see a goat tied to a tree, but that does not count.)
After lunch we went to another round of tour, this time at the tail of the island (the hotel and the port is at the middle part of the tadpole shaped island (there should be no other shape that looked like it for PG reasons). At this point we were given a choice if we wanted the Lights and Show tour at the Malinta Tunnel. It involves narration of what transpired on the island with matching displays for props. No videos allowed and the only light comes from the guide's flashlight and the niches where the displays are.
Reagan and I didn't particularly enjoy it since the speakers aren't as loud and audible as hoped. He could not get over where his 200 (400 for both of us) went.
Latter part of the tour gave us the longest time to walk, where we get to the 3 most important areas in the island, the museum, eternal flame of friendship and the memorial for our heroes.
May 6 noon is the only time where the sun is at it's peak, exactly shining over the altar at the middle.
For day tours, the Malinta tunnel Light show marks the end of the tour. For those staying over night, they could either pass time at their hotels or do the next set of activities.
More pics here
To be continued on Part 2...
*And possibly not safe, we've read some doesn't even have safety vests. There was even this forum that said how the waters around Corregidor are shark-infested.