I come into
Manila on Philippine Airlines 11 April and met
Don Abbott at the Silahis Hotel, a hostelry of dubious reputation particularly
in view of a goodly number of beautifully dressed ladies of the night who gather
at the hotel's rather elegant bar.
The only event worth mention before I reach
Corregidor, is a visit to the
Bonifacio. It was
McKinley when I was taken off the LSM
in December 1945 while en route to
Yokohama from Dumaguete in the
Philippines. I spent a month or so
ill with hookworm, dysentery and pneumonia and then, ostensibly cured, proceeded
in style to Yokohama in a proper stateroom and dined on superb cuisine on a
cargo vessel that took nearly two weeks to reach Japan. After a couple of days
in Manila doing not much [buying souvenirs for the folks back home, postcards,
stamps and some other things] we finally get down to business.
We take a taxi to
the Island Cruiser dock near the Manila Hotel. The last time  I went to
Corregidor by banca out of Cabcaben after a long ride in
a coaster [van] whose air conditioner broke down a few seconds after leaving the
Silahis Hotel. We board the Japanese made Island Cruiser bought used by the
Magsaysay Lines and operated by their travel group, Sun Tours. I marvel at the
ferry's rich interior, blond wooden lockers and bulkheads, comfortable cushioned
seats, a Mercedes diesel engine that throbbed gently as we wait at the berth.
After an uneventful trip we arrive at North Dock at 8:48AM. Mike and Toto are at
dockside to greet us and carry our bags to Mike's house. Part of it is the
traditional bamboo construction and another part two tiny stucco walled rooms.
The stucco structure was built by a movie company filming a long forgotten movie
about Corregidor. We are up on Topside by mid morning and take a quick
superficial glance at a number of things, among them: Batteries Hearn, Grubbs,
Smith, the Ordnance Machine Shop. We return to Bottomside and spend the first
night at our home away from home.