Pacific War Memorial & Museum, Corregidor
Located on the island of Corregidor, at its highest peak, stands the Pacific War Memorial. Built in 1968 by the US Government, the site was dedicated to the American and Filipino armed forces that fought and died in the Pacific region during the Second World War. At the entrance to the memorial complex, a statue of a wounded Filipino soldier aiding an American soldier has been erected as a symbol of friendship between the two countries. The main memorial structure within the site is a white marble dome with a circular opening in the roof. Directly below the opening stands a marble altar with the words:
‘Sleep, my sons, your duty done. For Freedom’s light has come. Sleep in the silent depths of the sea. Or in your bed of hallowed sod. Until you hear at dawn the low. Clear reveille of God.’
According to folklore, for three years in a row, the sun shone directly onto the altar on May 6th – the day Corregidor was recaptured from the Japanese Imperial Army.
Beyond the memorial dome, a pathway lined with murals leads to the top of the peak. Each mural portrays a Pacific region battle that US forces took part in during World War II. At the end of the pathway, a metal sculpture of the eternal flame looks out to sea. Designed by Aristides Demetrios, the sculpture is meant to stand on the same position where General MacArthur celebrated the retaking of Corregidor. Also located on the memorial site is a small museum that presents a collection of weapons (both Allied and Japanese), photographs, military uniforms and a large tile mosaic representing war scenes from the island during World War II.
Far from the Pacific War Memorial, two other memorial sites have been erected on the island since 1968. One is a shrine dedicated to the Japanese soldiers who lost their lives whilst invading the Philippines and upon the eventual recapture of the island. Standing on the ocean’s edge, the memorial was funded by Japanese survivors. Nearby, the Filipino Heroes Memorial stands as a testament to the Filipino war heroes and martyrs who fought throughout the history of the Philippines. Built in 1992 and designed by architect Francisco Manosa, the memorial consists of 14 murals, each displaying a pivotal battle in Filipino history – from the Battle of Mactan in 1521, all the way through to the 1986 revolution.