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Saturday, May 24, 2014

All of us, and our luggage, too

Next morning we were off to Mariveles, the southernmost city on the Bata'an peninsula, and the start of the Death March. How to get there from Corregidor? Simple. Back into the very same bamboo outrigger from the day before, with our luggage piled astern. At least that prevented asking the fat people to get up and move to the rear so the boat could be poled out of its mooring. When Filipinas, for whom they were built, ride these boats, weight is not an issue. It takes at least two of them to make one of us. They can even sit two to a seat!

This ride was about two miles long, or twenty minutes. We watched the trash float by. Getting off the boat was, again, a precarious situation, but my friend with the cane didn't have to participate because he and his wife took the ferry back, met the bus in Manila, and rode down to Mariveles.

So off we went to the first marker on the Death March route. As I said earlier, this is the week they comemmorate the fall of the Philippines and a lot of shrines such as this are visited by school groups. As we left Corregidor, a Philippine Navy vessel was bringing in a load of dignitaries for a memorial service.

It's nice that they keep history alive for succeeding generations.

A note on how we traveled. No tour buses in the Philippines have a bathroom, so they have to know the location of every McDonald's and Jollibee (local fast food) so we can always get to a clean bathroom. Clean as in the floor and fixtures have been washed, not as in you can flush the toilet paper. That only happens in the best hotels in Manilla, and near the former US naval and military bases, where Americans did the local plumbing. Of course we didn't stay in those places, we stayed, instead, at coastal resorts frequented by wealthy Filipinas, Koreans, Chinese and Japanese. It's their version of a tropical vacation destination.

Next stop that day was the school where some of the surrender negotiations took place, for the largest surrender in US history. Many soldiers would have preferred to keep fighting, but it wasn't up to them. The second picture, the statues around the table, perfectly captures the despair of the American and Filipino officers.

Click on the photo to read the inscription.

That evening we went on to a resort on the Philippine Sea where the beach was clean enough to swim, so we did, and also made use of their lovely pool. Unfortunately this was one of those eating experiences that helped me lose ten pounds. Early to bed for the big ceremony next day on Mt Sagat.

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