I wrote Corcuera as the 4th hidden paradise in the Philippines.
Corcuera is a fifth class municipality located on Simara Island, in the province of Romblon, Philippines. It was named after the Spanish governor-general Sebastián Hurtado de Corcuera who ruled the Philippines from 1635 to 1644 on behalf of King Philip IV of Spain. Corcuera has a total land area of 23.40 km2. It is hemmed in by bodies of water from all sides: on the north and east by the Sibuyan Sea; on the south and east by Tablas Strait. It is a hilly, volcanic island with many hot springs, while stretches of flat land lie along its northern coast.
The island’s name, Simara, was derived from the local word sima, meaning “hook”, which refers to how the island looks like. Corcuera was originally established as San Jose by the Spanish in 1574. In 1621, Augustinian Recollect missionaries arrived in the island and converted the locals into Christianity. By 1726, a stone church dedicated to Saint Joseph was built through the initiative of Fr. Agustin de San Pedro, also known as El Padre Capitan. He also ordered the construction of a watch tower in Tacasan which will serve as a lookout and warning for the locals of impending Muslim raids which plagued the province at that time.
In 1910, during the American colonization period, the town was visited by the American survey ship Fathomer which conducted hydrographic surveys and depth sounding in the waters around Simara Island. Its American crew also constructed a lighthouse which is still standing today. At that time, Corcuera was still administered as part of Banton municipality on nearby Banton Island. In January 1931, Corcuera was granted local autonomous government by virtue of Chief Executive Order No. 292, Series of 1930 initiated by then Governor Manuel T. Albero. Corcuera then became the third island municipality in the province. The inauguration of Corcuera as a maiden municipality was held on February 3, 1931.
During World War II, the Japanese established a garrison at Tanro-aw Hill in the island. On March 10, 1945, American and Filipino soldiers who were liberating the Philippines from Japanese occupation launched a task force from Mindoro to liberate the islands of Romblon and Simara. On March 12, elements from Companies B and C of the 19th Infantry, 24th Division of the US 8th Army landed in Simara led by 1st Lt. David B. Bernard. They were assisted by the USS Haas, skippered by Lt. Cmdr. A. M. White.
After four days of mortar and naval bombardment and heavy fighting, the Americans were able to subdue the Japanese in Tanro-aw and liberate the island. The fighting left 118 Japanese, 10 Americans, and one Filipino dead.
Corcuera boasts of fantastic natural beauty and rich historical and cultural heritage. Some of the places worth seeing in the island include:
Panorama Point: A roadside lookout in Brgy. Tacasan where passing inter-island shipping vessels can be viewed. The area also shelters boats during inclement weather.
Cotta Tower: This tower is what remains of a Spanish fort constructed between 1860 and 1865 by Fr. Agustin de San Pedro, also known as El Padre Capitan, to ward off Muslim pirates. It is situated on a hill overlooking Brgy. Poblacion and is an easy 150-meter hike from the town plaza.
Mangansag Beach: A beautiful white sand beach in Brgy. Mangansag dotted with tall palm trees and volcanic boulders along pristine waters.
Tanro-aw Hill: Located in Brgy. Vicente, it is the site of a Japanese garrison during World War II.
Immaculate Conception Grotto: Located at the summit of Mount Anradoon in Brgy. Mangansag, this grotto of the Immaculate Conception offers devotees a place to go and pray during Lenten season.
Mahaba Beach: This is a long stretch of white beaches along pristine waters north of the island.
Payayasog: This testes-like structure that hangs along the bank of the sea in Brgy. Mangansag was formed by geological and wave movement.
Guin-iwagan Cave: This cave in Brgy. Mahaba features a dome-like structure that abounds in stalagmites and stalactites. There is a pool of cool water where one can swim.
Colong-Colong Beach: A beautiful sandy beach with pristine waters which is a popular picnic destination for local folks and returning residents.
Lis-ong Cave: This cave in Brgy. Colong-Colong has plenty of stalactite and stalagmite deposits.
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