Nearly five centuries after the Philippines was first colonized and more than 70 years since it was ravaged by World War II, Corregidor Island off Manila Bay continues to offer stark memories of its past.

Amid the country's evolution to a more modern society and economy, ruins, a prominent lighthouse, tunnels and gun emplacements remain preserved on the 9-sq.-km island. They offer glimpses from the period between the 15th and 19th centuries, when the Philippines was a Spanish colony, to the early 20th century, when the United States took over, as well as the 1940s when Japan invaded and World War II broke out.

"In our history, Corregidor showed us the valor of the Filipinos, the Americans and the Japanese," tour guide Edo Fernandez said of the tadpole-shaped island around 48 km west of Manila.