Beneath the Modern City: Tunnels of Fort Bonifacio | Taguig
This month’s theme of blog carnival is all about “Dark Tourism” which means act of travel and visitation to sites, attractions and exhibitions which have real or recreated death, suffering or the seemingly macabre as explained by our host ThePinay Solobackpacker. This includes cemeteries, century old churches, war memorials, mausoleums and other related places. It also includes stories which are supernatural, unexplainable and horrifying which obviously attracts tourists despite the fact that seeing this still made you experience goose bumps and weird feelings.
I can say that joining this carnival is indeed “bloody”. Bloody not because I literally mean it but due to the fact that researching about my topic requires effort and accuracy. It’s very frightful in my side that I might commit mistakes which may not be acceptable or might seem offensive to the people who has an idea of what would I discuss. And so I decided to just write about what I had experience.
I was intrigued when someone mentioned that there were tunnels discovered under Bonifacio Global City (The Fort) in Taguig, part of the former American military base camp (Fort McKinley) which was then renamed Fort Andres Bonifacio after our country gained its political independence from the United States. This part called BGC is now converted into a real state where high rise condominiums and high end commercial establishments are being built
I can still recall how excited I was while listening to their experience inside the tunnel. So when I was invited to check the place, I didn’t think twice and I just said “YES”. I haven’t been to any barracks/tunnel made and destroyed during the war. That’s the reason why I would want to visit one, particularly Corregidor.
“What!?” I almost dropped my jaw when I found out that the tunnel is just under where I always walk to work every day.
They said that this tunnel was made by Americans; others claimed it was built by Japanese. Until now, it remains as one big question left by our history, so I will just leave it to you dear readers to discover it for yourself.
The tunnel’s door is in the ground covered with a heavy and pure metal door. It is accessible by a very long staircase, which based on my estimate is around 3 storey high. The stair is very steep and you need to be extra careful in going down for the railings used as guide were already gone. There were traces that it was already been removed by people (maybe they sold it) and there were vandals of names around its walls made by those careless people who do not care about its purpose and its importance in our history. The tunnel is dark and you need a good source of light. Metal halide lit the staircase as we can go down. Upon reaching the last step, we were opt to choose from which way to go, whether to go left or right. There were rooms in every 5 steps in both side. One room also has a deep well which I think serves as the source of their drinking water. I was fascinated because the water remains clear because I can still see its bottom when the guard pointed his flashlight down. The tunnel seems never ending so our guide decided to go back and it’s getting darker because the floodlight wasn’t that enough to cover the whole stretch. They speculated that its end might be in Pasig River but we’re not sure though. We then walk to see the other side. There was a part which seems to be dug but remained unfinished. That stretch was also long and dark so we decided to go back, besides is getting hotter inside. That is the only time when we decided to totally go out of the tunnel.
Some security guards and medics assisted us. Definitely, it is not the place for claustrophobic. It was really hot inside, no flowing air, no phone signal. There are thoughts that keep on running in my head like how it was built, where is the start and where does it end, how many people exerted their effort to built this kind of shelter. While walking along its long corridor, I was also thinking how the soldiers survived the kind of life underground. Well I guess, they prefer to live underground rather than experiencing a brutal death in the hands of their enemies. There is no option for them to complain if they want to be alive and safe.
Below are some of the information I have found during my research.
“This is regarding the tunnel in Fort Bonifacio whose entrance was behind the old Philippine Army museum. It was a tourist attraction in the 90s; I went there several times. It is deep underground, accessible by a very long staircase. It was reputed to go all the way to Villamor Airbase. It seems that it was dug by the Americans, occupied by the Japanese, then recaptured by the Americans, as evidenced by several bullet holes and a wrecked area where the Japanese set off explosives.
However, the Fort Bonifacio I know in the 90s is long gone, after the bulldozers were finished. The museum and its exhibits have been transferred. My question is, does the tunnel and its entrance still exist? It would still make for a very good tourist attraction.”
“In 1972, before the diggings happened, Marcos’ men discovered a vast tunnel “within the Pasig River” along what is now the Napindan flood control project, underground tunnels from the Fort Bonifacio military reservation up to Villamor Air Base and Bicutan-Taguig via Fort Bonifacio Army General Hospital..”
“The huge tunnel origin or who constructed it was still unknown and not confirm but have speculations that it was quarry tunnel back then by [Japanese??] which is quite lame. For how can the Japanese built a very huge tunnel at the height of war against America then? Perhaps, the Japanese just already found the tunnel already build at the time they occupy the Philippines. it is either the Americans, the Spaniards or the Malay-Chinese natives of the Philippines back then have build the tunnel as passageway which was only buried at the passage of time and war.”
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