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A Life In Darkness Inside Malinta Tunnel – Cavite

Malinta Tunnel is a large tunnel complex that served as a bomb shelter in Corregidor Island. It has over 24 lateral tunnels that are branching off its main tunnel. This was initially used for storage and bunker purposes but a part of it was later used as a hospital during World War II.

Inside Malinta Tunnel
Inside Malinta Tunnel

Exploring Malinta Tunnel

Unlike our usual trips, our tour inside the Malinta Tunnel is quite peculiar. Since my wife and I are both World War II movie and documentary fans, going somewhere that we only see in movies was an enriching experience. Getting inside a bomb shelter is a good way to empathize to our brave soldiers and their struggles. We discovered that the tunnel’s poor ventilation and low-light condition was something they had to endure. They’ve been living like gophers in a hole where diseases can easily spread because of the enclosed space. Recovery from illness in this tunnel was hard as well due to the lack of sunlight.

Malinta Tunnel Entrance
Entrance to Malinta Tunnel
Malinta Tunnel with Lovers
The exit of Malinta Tunnel

The tunnel got its name from the Filipino word “malinta.” It is the shortened version of the word “maraming linta” which means “many leeches.” When the tunnel was being dug in 1922, they found lots of leeches so they baptized it with a name based on that. To enter here, you need to pay for the Lights and Sound presentation which is P200.00 per person. We didn’t hesitate to pay the extra amount to see it.  We haven’t seen anyone who skipped this part of the tour either.

Malinta Tunnel Picture Frames
World War II pictures
Malinta Tunnel's Lights up
Lights up after the program
Japanese in Malinta Tunnel
Statues of Japanese soldiers


Lights and Sound Show

When we were first told about the Lights and Sound show, I thought it’s something related to fireworks. I found out later that it’s actually an illustrated documentary of the events of World War II and how Corregidor Island played a role in it. We can clearly see in the pictures that they made statues depicting the major events of the war and they’ve also put up projectors with videos elaborating some details of the war.

Malinta Tunnel's Projector
Film showing inside Malinta Tunnel
Manuel Quezon in Malinta Tunnel
3D version of the film?
Malinta Tunnel Map
Tunnel Map
Crowd in Malinta Tunnel
The crowd inside Malinta Tunnel

We can see in the map that the main tunnel has several smaller tunnels branching out to it. The tour guide walked us through the program by giving us a signal on when to move forward and when to stop.

In each stop, a tunnel will light up to show the statues depicting a particular event. A voice narration follows to explain what’s being depicted. There was one room with a blinking light and smoke effects to give us a better feel of what it’s like if there’s a bombing.

Malinta Tunnel Marble Cave
Nice shiny black marble rocks inside the tunnel
I hope no one’s there when it happened
Malinta Tunnel Cave
The deeper part of the tunnel looks creepy


Free Exploration

After the show, they will give you a few minutes to freely explore the tunnel. We saw that some sections of the tunnel already collapsed. The soldiers back then have no guarantee that you will be safe inside this tunnel. In spite of the miserable life which is full of uncertainty inside the tunnel, our brave soldiers strove hard to adapt, endure and fought hard to protect our freedom. The Malinta Tunnel is truly a great reminder of many wonderful stories which can inspire us to move forward, strive for the best and make the sacrifice of our soldiers all worth it.

Soldiers starting to run out of food supplies resort to coffee
Injured soldiers
Philippine flag-raising after winning the war

Related Post: Ruins of Corregidor Island

4 thoughts on “A Life In Darkness Inside Malinta Tunnel – Cavite”

  1. I am a Vietnam veteran and I am in the process of writing a memoir of my time in the Air Force. While in the Vietnam arena I went to the Philippines for R&R (Rest & Recuperation) and while there I visited the island of Corregidor. I had taken plenty of pictures of the island, however, those photos were lost over time. Recently, I went on line to view many of the sights I had seen in Corregidor and I saw that you had posted several photos on your website. I am obligated, by the book publisher, to keep the book family friendly, which is my desire as well. With your permission I would like to use several photos (none with individuals) in my memoir unencumbered. Of course I would identify the source of the photos in my memoirs as being provided by you. Myself, two other military guys and a Filipino native got there via a 10 HP, dugout canoe. They still had unexploded artillery shells in some of the caves.


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