FORT BONIFACIO TUNNEL - A Century-old Tunnel & a National Treasure that Young Generation Doesn't Know about

By: Marisse in Culture

FORT BONIFACIO TUNNEL, Taguig City - Most of the people who walk over the area every single day don't have any idea that they are passing by a very vital structure and a national treasure that helped build our nation. Underneath the busy streets of Bonifacio Global City (BGC) lies a national heritage site which you and your children might not aware of its existence.

Unknown to many, 30 meters below the commercial and residential district of Bonifacio Global City in Taguig lies a 2.24-kilometer-long tunnel that witnessed some of the most violent encounters in the country’s fight for freedom during the American and Japanese colonial era.


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FORT BONIFACIO TUNNEL was opened to selected members of the media and were given a chance to walk inside the Fort Bonifacio Tunnel which was dug by Igorots in the early 1900s. The tunnel is approximately 30 meters below the surface, 4 meters wide and passable through a length of about 2.24 kilometers.




According to retired Brig. Gen. Restituto Aguilar, former director of the Philippine Army Museum, American forces ordered the construction of the underground channel in early 1900s after the Filipino-American war. The Americans brought in miners (could have been the native Igorots) from the Cordillera region to lead the excavation and construction of the passageway.

“Since there were no modern equipment then, the Filipinos used only pick and shovel to dig up the area. They actually spent decades before the tunnel was used by the Americans,” Aguilar said.

Aguilar said the burrow was first used as an “underground highway” to distribute military supplies, such as medicines, medical equipment and food, to US troops based in Fort McKinley, later named Fort Bonifacio, the main camp of the Philippine Army.

He said the 4-meter-wide passageway used to have channels that connected it to several vital US military buildings in Fort McKinley, such as hospitals and commissary units.

“The Americans were actually readying it as a shelter for their troops if the Japanese would launch an air strike on Fort McKinley,” Aguilar said.

“The Americans ferried their troops’ supplies from Manila Bay through the Pasig River. This tunnel is also said to have a portion that leads to the Pasig River,” Aguilar said.

Its main entry point near the Market! Market! shopping mall, the tunnel located underneath the eastern portion of the BGC now leads to two exit points—one to Amapola Street in Barangay Pembo and the other to 27th Avenue in Barangay (village) East Rembo, both in Makati City.

Restoration Efforts

To honor the historical significance of the structure, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) is rolling out a master plan to restore the underground passageway, known to the military as the Fort Bonifacio War Tunnel.

Arnel Casanova, BCDA president and chief executive officer, said the project aims to protect the tunnel and turn it into a heritage site.

With the help of BGC and Fort Bonifacio Development Corp., Casanova said the BCDA would invite private companies to help them finance the rehabilitation project.

“The restoration of this tunnel is a perfect example of how we value our past. It’s also a way to immortalize the heroism displayed by the Filipinos who fought and died for our freedom,” he said. to bring better understanding and appreciation” of the former site of Fort Bonifacio.

Source: PDI news


Marisse

Author

Marisse

A simple girl with a simple dream-to become a renowned professor. I did not finish college due to financial misfortune. I may not be lucky enough to be part of a rich clan in the Philippines, but I made myself independent and I am on my own since high school. I am a trying hard blogger. I have a lot of grammar issues but I will continue to persevere and learn new things everyday to be a more effective blogger in the community.

Posted by DiversityHuman.com on 29 Sep 2012



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