One spot in our itinerary for our Albay trip was the Japanese Tunnel, a cave resided by the Japanese Imperial Army during the World War II. When I saw this in our itinerary before the trip, I was so excited because it was an adventurous pick for us to visit a cave, and at the same time, to visit the history. That time, I feel fortunate because I would be able to see Japan’s home in Albay, specifically in Legazpi. Also, my first time being in a cave added to the excitement that ran inside me.
Before anything else, let me give you a brief story about the Japanese tunnel. History says that their invasion in Legazpi, Albay was one in a series of advance landings made by Imperial Japanese forces as first step in their invasion of the Philippines. So when they stepped into the city in 1941, the Japanese soldiers dug this tunnel as their pathway to different parts of the province and refuge from American bombings. It was then discovered by American soldiers in 1945. But I have to tell you that I don’t know how accurate this is. It’s what I heard from the caretaker of the tunnel.
Moving on to the present, I heard that this will be Albay’s next tourist attraction after Mayon and Cagsawa Ruins. No way! Honestly, my excitement turned into disappointment when I finally came to Japanese Tunnel. It can be a historical place but not a tourist attraction. There are so much to improve before they can say that. You will find them out as I narrate my adventure in this tunnel. Let me first climb this wooden stairs that leads to the gate of the tunnel.
First thing that they have to improve in this place is the signage. It’s so small that we can barely notice it as we passed the roads of Lignon Hill. If it wasn’t for the people of our previous destination, Lignon Hill, we wouldn’t be able to catch this up. So for those people who are planning to get in here, the tunnels are accessible via the access road going to Lignon Hill. Pay attention to the signs until you perceive this white board with Japanese Tunnel and left arrow in it.
There’s nothing much to see. I mean, there’s really nothing except for darkness. Thanks to the flashlight brought by the caretaker and to the lights coming our from out mobile phones! We have to put the flash of our cameras on and lights everywhere so we can have a good selfie inside or see the things we are capturing. This explains why I look stupid in this photo. Sarcasm aside, I know it’s a cave that’s why it’s dark. But my nothing pertains to the stuff inside.
And by the stuff inside, I mean these effigies which were used to scare off Filipinos and Japanese flags. Aside from these things and stones, there’s nothing more to see. I expected materials, tools, weapons and relics of the Japanese but they were already removed and were stored in another place. Maybe, the tourists just have to focus on the effigies. Well, they look like Japanese babies and not Japanese soldiers. How about the flags? I can tell that the flags were legit. Moreover, the tunnel for tour was just short because they say that it can be dangerous to go further.
We finally got out of the Japanese Tunnel. But since the Japanese soldiers made a small hole for exit, the tourists visiting have to crawl or bow on their way outside. In all honesty, that’s what I enjoy here – crawling. I found that it was where the adventure started. Plus, the caretaker was cheerful to talk to and my companions are happy to be with. They were all throwing jokes to each other. I remember the caretaker told us that the effigy is her boyfriend.
Although this bird is not part of the history, I claim that he has become a great part of our adventure here because it is one of the only things that I enjoyed here. I can’t leave the place because of him although his eyes were saying goodbye. Shocks! He’s so adorable. I wish this bird is mine but I think, it is the caretaker’s. Anyway, he, together with his master, looks happy in their job – guarding Japan’s home in Albay.