Note: November 4, 2010. Just received word that Jibin Arula, who was then the only living survivor of the Jabidah Massacre, died during the Holy Month of Ramadhan this year.

Welcome to Corregidor

It is humbling, to say the least, when you visit a site that you know only from history books—a place that you’ve heard about only in documentaries and movie adaptations—and you meet someone who was actually part of history and hear straight from his mouth the events of 40 years ago.

Jibin Arula was a young husband and father when he left Mindanao to join what eventually become the Jabidah commando unit which was formed under Operation Merdeka, which is now pegged in infamy as a vain attempt to conquer Sabah gone horribly wrong.

Jibin Arula, in center, the only survivor of the Jabidah Massacre of 1968

The story behind Operation Merdeka is best told by Paul F. Whitman of The Heritage Battalion. But only Jibin Arula himself could relate how he and a fellow Moro soldier were being led unarmed through a tunnel in the pitch dark towards Kindley Airfield, when they heard the sound of an M2 carbine rifle’s magazine falling to the ground. To them that meant only one thing—that their escort had tried to release the safety switch on his rifle but in the dark had hit the magazine release switch instead. That was when Jibin Arula knew for sure that something was wrong. It was sheer presence of mind and the will to live that kept Jibin Arula alive in that dark morning of March 18, 1968.

For more reading on what the Jabidah Massacre was about, the following links are highly recommended:

Paul F. Whitman’s “THE CORREGIDOR MASSACRE – 1968”
Chronology of Events – summarizing the history of the Moro struggle and the Philippine Government’s attempts at diffusing a so-called time bomb.
Commemorating the 40th Year of the Jabidah Massacre – a blog entry by Sam on Travel Light
After 40 Years, a marker commemorating Jabidah Massacre is now installed – from the Anak Mindanao Website

For more photos of what Corregidor used to look like during the war check out:

Paul Whitman’s album
Corregidor Then and Now

For why the island was named Corregidor, click here

Also if you click the Welcome to Corregidor photo at the beginning of this post, you will be taken to my Flickr set of photos from today’s activity.

Ruins of Corregidor Hospital

Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr interviewing Jibin Arula after the Jabidah MassacreBonus: History returns. Click on the photo to view a full-size version, and Sam’s blog on Jibin Arula then and now.

Welcome to the Rock (The Corrector)

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4 thoughts on “Welcome to the Rock (The Corrector)

  1. Thanks for referring me to Paul Whitman’s write-up on the Jabidah Massacre. I read it last night and finally learned of what truly happened and what was the intent behind forming the Heritage Battalion. What was Marcos thinking? Won’t that be tantamount to state-sponsored terrorism?

    I love Corregidor and I do want to come back. How long did you guys stay there, if you won’t mind my asking? Was it just for a day? Thanks.

  2. Panaderos, too bad we were on the Rock primarily for the unveiling of the marker with just a bit of sightseeing squeezed in. We traveled to Mariveles, Bataan on tourist buses courtesy of the Department of Tourism in cooperation with Rep. Hataman’s office. We started off from the Quezon Memorial Circle at 4am and was in Mariveles by 7am. On the Rock before 9am, most of the morning and the afternoon for the ceremonies and lectures, and then back on the boat returning to Mariveles by 4pm. Just not enough time.

    I hear the tour package which includes an airconditioned ferry ride from the port beside the Cultural Center of the Philippines costs around P2,000 and includes lunch and a day tour.

  3. Hi Ate Bambit.
    Embarrassing as it sounds, but in my 33 years, I have never been to Corregidor! I hope the next time I return to the Philippines, I’ll make a side trip there.

    P.S. The angel is for everyone in my list… that includes you 😀

  4. thanks ZJ, don’t worry about not having been to Corregidor yet, it will be there when you come for a visit, perhaps with even more historical markers than there are now.


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