A short interruption from the Martial Law posts. A friend alerted me about this tunnel underneath BGC. And there are rumors that Ayala wants to make it a tourist site. I for one, agree with my friend. This one belongs to the Filipino people. No private entity should make it a cash cow.
This is the way I see it: every historical site in the country is owned by every person that calls himself Filipino. Therefore, decimating it or taking it for profit is nothing less than an intruder getting into our house and taking our belongings including our memories, family pictures, or possessions. We can pay for an entrance fee if it preserves the said site for posterity, and if we are assured that the money goes back to us, the people.
“Now that I have unearthed the story back to life, I wished that the story be again told to the future generations of Filipinos. Hoping that one day, this raw tunnel that I had traversed and captured through my lens, will become one of the proudest place that every Filipino visits, as part of their identity and soul – as The Fort Bonifacio War Memorial Tunnel.” - Jun Reynales
Himay-himay mode: The streets of the Philippine capital are empty, but beneath them are precious gems of history and culture. While I talk about indigenous Philippines, there’s still a wealth of knowledge about Manila that we haven’t had the opportunity to grab. Here’s a quick overview of the Fort Bonifacio Tunnel.
Back then Fort Bonifacio was called Fort McKinley (which roughly explains why there is a McKinley Road). It was renamed later on to Fort Andres Bonifacio after the Second World War, and then further shortened to Fort Bonifacio in reference to and commemorate the heroism the Supremo of the Katipunan.
The tunnel, according to an Armed Forces historian (the name escapes me), was constructed in 1910, during the time of General Arthur MacArthur, the father of Douglas MacArthur. The purpose for the construction was to store armaments. It’s so secret that you can almost compare it to the mysteries of CIA. Furthermore, if history serves us right, it was built around the same time as the Malinta tunnel. If any of you have gone to Malinta Tunnel, you’d notice that the length (that we know of) is approximately is 200m, but the Fort Bonifacio tunnel is approximately 2.2k. It passes through Taguig and Makati (until Pembo). The end is Pasig river.
During World War II, it was used as a defense tunnel against the Japanese. Unfortunately they were captured by the Imperial Army of Japan, and eventually they expanded the tunnel using the POWs both from the Philippines and Taiwan. The death statistics is undocumented, or they simply disappeared.
The good news is that we’ve found this tunnel, and so we can further explore the depth of our history. It’s not open to the public, but at least know it’s there and we can do something about it. My friend was just lucky that he was able to go down. According to him, there are plans to turn the tunnel into a historical tourist site. There are two sides to this intention, but let’s just hope for the best. Personally, I believe this belongs to the Philippines, and I wouldn’t want Ayala to privatize it. At all. Even if the world above is theirs, what we discover underneath is ours.
Photo caption: Optical illusion: clear water shows the whole depth beyond 30feet water level.
Photo and quote source: Photographed by JUN REYNALES
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