Friday, March 14, 2014

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

We received the following comment on our blog:

"That is my Dad on that flag pole! T.5 Frank Guy Arrigo, dad, never spoke much to us about his time in the service during WW2. Just that he put Our Flag back up under sniper fire with a PFC, did not even name him, when Old Mac as he called him retook 'THE ROCK" My Dad passed away on Oct 1985 from lung cancer."

Unfortunately there is no email address included, so all we know is that the writer goes by the name of "Senior Cheif's [sic] Wife."  If she is reading this, please send another comment that includes your contact information.  

For anyone who comments on the site, please post a second and separate comment with an email address if you want to hear from us - it will not be posted, but gives us a way to respond to you.

The following photo is the one she saw posted in an earlier blog.

Bates and Arrigo raising first American flag on Corregidor since May 6, 1942, on February 16, 1945

After despairing that we would have no internet service late last year, we have found that by placing our "Smart Bro Wi-Fi" unit in exactly the correct place 15 feet up the ladder of our emergency water tank, we can have internet service right at our house, albeit sometimes extremely slow and frustrating.  Globe Telecom is putting a new tower on the island, so we hope that they will also upgrade their equipment to give us better internet access here.

Steve trying to find the "sweet spot"

On March 1, the day before Peter Parsons turned 78, he swam from one end of Corregidor to the other and beyond.  We were busy with other visitors that day and were unable to witness the event, which has to be some kind of record.  However, we spent a good part of the next day with Peter and his Spanish wife, Tea (TAY-uh), partially to commemorate the 69th anniversary of MacArthur's return to the Rock.  Fun times, great food!

Peter Parsons receives a 78th-birthday kiss from wife Tea

Peter's scrumptious birthday cake, a gift from Sun Cruises, at MacArthur Cafe
Lucky, Tea, Peter, Paul, Karl, Marcia, and Steve at the Spanish Flagpole, March 2

The Spanish Flagpole with 48-star American flag on the 69th Anniversary of MacArthur's return to Corregidor

Frequent visitor and friend Stephen Cornwell donated an American flag to the Corregidor Foundation, Inc.  On March 9 and 10, while Stephen and his friend were staying on the island, the flag was flown at the 503rd marker at Topside.

American flag donated by Stephen Cornwell and flown to honor his WWII veteran father

Our friend Bernie Visto, whom we met in the airport at Guangzhou, China, last August, was also here recently.  When he returned home to New Jersey, he sent us the following two photos taken in 1979.  Bernie's father was here on Corregidor in 1979 for a Boy Scout Jamboree.  Bernie recalls his dad telling him a story about seeing "a lady dressed in white" near the hospital area where they camped.  Although we have not seen the lady, other Corregidor-ghost-legend followers report similar sightings.

Bernie Visto's father (standing on gun) Battery Crockett

Bernie's father (right) in Boy Scout uniform at Battery Way

Steve recently was assigned to host a tour for Chinese visitors.  The only man who could understand English was a Chinese-Filipino from Manila who served as their interpreter.  What a different experience it is to conduct a tour this way!  Almost everyone we meet, no matter their country of origin, can understand some English.  Not these folks.  It was weird when Steve would speak for thirty seconds and the interpreter would speak for five, or vice versa.  Who knows what he actually passed along?  Despite being unable to talk directly to the Chinese guests, Steve thought that they enjoyed their time, and found them to be extremely polite and friendly, taking every opportunity to pose with him for personal photos.

Chinese interpreter aboard a tranvia assisting Steve during recent tour

The Chinese tour group poses at Battery Hearn

A couple weeks ago we decided to see if we could find any remains of buildings just east and down the hill from our house.  Our 1936 map shows it as a "nipa hut" area, so we were surprised when we spotted the remains of several buildings and footings for many more.  We found the remains of a stairway less than 100 feet from our house as we were returning up the hill.  Quite a surprise to us how much is hidden in the nearby jungle.

Ruins below our house

Another ruin nearby

Notice the concrete footings, of which we saw dozens, possibly from nipa buildings

Japanese Sake bottle leaning against old railroad tie

Foundation of a large building

Concrete stairway - notice how close it is to our house

There are some wierd smells on the island right now.  Taluto tree blossoms smell sweet until they begin to rot on the ground, when the smells turns to something less pleasant, but not one we can describe.  Kalumpang tree (wild almond) blossom scent reminds Steve of mothballs and Marcia of ammonia.  We have one of each right behind the house, great for bird photos but noisy at night when the fruit bats come to feed!

Taluto blossoms on the ground

Kalumpang tree with reddish blossoms and green leaves at Middleside

On a recent hike Marcia spotted a seedpod on the road that looked very much like the milkweed seedpods that we are used to seeing in the States.  As you can see, the fibers and seeds inside also resemble those from milkweed.  We were not able to determine the tree or vine where it originated.  Maybe one of our botany friends can educate us.  We know that kapok seedpods are quite different in shape.

Seedpod found on trail

Inside of the pod resembles milkweed seedpod from the northern U.S.

Our friend Karl W. told us about a tunnel that he had recently re-visited.  It is right above a trail that we travel often, but because of the way that the entrance was dug, it is well-hidden in plain sight.  We took a walk through it, and while we were inside Marcia spotted a number of the scary-looking but harmless to humans African cave spiders, aka tailless whip-scorpions.

Cave-like entrance to tunnel

Marcia entering the tunnel

Tunnel passageway; notice the squared-off shape

Two of the half-dozen African cave spiders we saw living in the tunnel

Scorpion up close and personal

But would our blog be complete without more of Marcia's bird pictures?  Several of these show pairs of birds, so look closely, and all were taken near the house.  There are no "newbies" but some pretty nice shots.

Lowland white-eye in our jackfruit tree

Pair of Philippine bulbuls behind our house

Pair of collared kingfishers in the acacia tree near the house

Pair of olive-backed sunbirds behind our house: note distinct male-female color differences (male at upper-left)
Sulphur-crested cockatoo posing in acacia tree near our house

Just today we gave a private tour to a young couple, Cole and Kelsey, who recently moved to New York City to attend culinary school.  They both now work in the food industry.  We had a great time showing them around the island, and they promised to come back to spend more time exploring "the Rock."  Cole's mother works at the International School in Manila, so we hope they'll be back soon.

Steve, Cole, Kelsey, and Marcia in front of Malinta Tunnel's west entrance

Finally, a short time ago we noticed that the right leg of the General Douglas MacArthur statue was "cracking up."  We reported our finding, and today we were pleased to see that repairs have already been made.  

 MacArthur statue, leg before repair
Leg after repair, General MacArthur restored to tip-top condition

Great work, and thank you, Corregidor Foundation, Inc!

Steve and Marcia on the Rock