Thursday, March 24, 2016

Corregidor Island and baptisms

This month the Senior Missionaries went on an outing to Corregidor Island.  On Wednesday morning we drove down to Manila and checked into a hotel near the port and also close to the old Walled City of Intramuros (since the ferry only leaves for the island early in the morning, we had permission to spend the night at Manila).

 Back when the Spanish took over the Philippines as a colony they had trouble with pirates who burned down the city of Manila shortly afterwards.  So the Spanish built a huge wall around the city and made Manila into a walled city.  Intramuros means Within the Wall.

 We walked there from our hotel and spent the day touring around Intramuros.  We saw some museums and fortifications and catholic cathedrals and the old part of Manila.  My favorite site was a restored rich merchant's home.  It was extravagantly luxurious, a big contrast the humble bamboo huts the average Filipino's of that time lived in. 

Here are the Sisters on top of the massive wall that surrounds the city.  We walked on top of the wall the length of one side.  Sister Swift, Sister Rogers, a Spanish Guard, Sister Brady, and Sister Jones.

 One curious sight we saw in the city, on these brick roads, were these bamboo frame bicycles.

This old citadel here was once a tower, that actually existed before the Wall and was incorporated into the wall when the wall was built.  It was destroyed by the Japanese during World War II.

We stayed at the H2O Manila Hotel.  It was very nice.  One wall had this massive aquarium.  I loved it.

 The next morning we rode a ferry out to Corregidor Island.  The ferry ride was about 1.5 hours. This is where General Douglas MacArthur had his bunker headquarters during the Japanese invasion and siege of the Philippines during World War II.  The allied Philippine and American troops had to abandon Manila, so they positioned the army on Bataan Peninsula and Corregidor Island.

 This monument shows a Filipino army scout helping a wounded American soldier.  They fought side by side against the Japanese and were under combined command of USAFE commanded by General MacArthur.

 A main defensive feature of the island was the massive mortars and artillery batteries.  These provided bombardment protection for the army and protected the beaches from invasion.  They were able to hold off the Japanese thinks to these guns and the brave troops.  Seen above are mortars.

The Japanese had only planned 2 months to take the Philippines and ended up needing 6.  They had to send reinforcements there instead of to New Guinea where they were eventually stopped; and as as result not able to invade Australia.  So the defense here at Corregidor and Bataan, although they eventually had to surrender, played a major role in stopping the Japanese.

 Here is a longer range artillery gun.  These guns made it impossible for the Japanese to use Manila Bay and made it very difficult for them to attack the troops on Bataan or the any of the island beaches.

 The Japanese bombed the island intensely.  It is the second most bombed island in the world.  This used to be mile long barracks.  Now only a bombed out shell.

 This is what it used to look like before the war.  Quite nice for barracks.

 Another shot showing the carnage.

 We saw wild monkeys in the trees and this was Sister Swift's favorite part of the trip.

 Here's the whole group in front of the "I Shall Return" statue of General Douglas MacArthur.  We had a great trip.

 On Saturday we went to the Manila Temple for a youth trip doing baptisms for the dead.  It was very beautiful and we liked helping out.

That same day we drove back to our Branch in San Ildefonso for two baptisms.  This is the fourth weekend in a row we've had baptisms.

Sister Monica, fourth from the left, and Brother Gilbert, on her left, were baptized.  They are both about 18.  Also in the picture is our Branch Mission Leader, by Sister Monica, and our four missionaries: Elders Bugarin, Diso, Bautista, and Arcayos.  Sister Monica and Brother Gilbert are great and we were happy to see them join the church.