Tunnels always appear to be mysterious with the way they are associated with history. Hence, the Japanese Tunnel made it to my list of places to see in Davao City.
Located at Ma-a Diversion Road, the 250-kilometer long Japanese Tunnel can be a stop-over before going to the famous Philippine Eagle Center in Calinan. That’s what we did.
I was surprised to see a restaurant and a pool beside the tunnel. My previous researches online didn’t mention that the tunnel is now within a resort.
We ate our lunch at the restaurant, which didn’t offer Japanese food. lol. I was really expecting that they will offer Japanese food since they are promoting the Japanese Tunnel. They serve Filipino cuisine at affordable prices. A group meal of five viands (good for 6 pax) costs us Php 950 or Php 158.50 each. For internet addicts, you will love the resto for their free wifi.
After feeding our appetite, we paid an entrance fee of 50 pesos each (adults). The entrance fee for kids costs Php 20. (Previous researches noted that the fee for the tunnel was Php 10.)
At the entrance, I saw a tarpaulin with a short history of the place. It says that the Japanese Tunnel was excavated by Filipino war prisoners under the Japanese Imperial Army in 1942. The tunnel was a hiding place of the Japanese during World War II.
But it was only in 1960 when the tunnel was discovered. The development of the Ma-a Diversion Road led to its discovery. Ammunitions, bayonets, and paper bills were among those unearthed. The paper bills were displayed at the entrance. Imagine– a five-peso bill during the Japanese period resembled a dollar.
Unlike other tunnels, this one was somehow well-lit. But seeing statues inside the tunnel saddened me. The essence of history was somehow lost by placing replicas. It should have been preserved rather than renovated. For photography purposes, it adds color but it degrades the value of history.
Admittedly, it’s good for photo-ops. But I do hope that the management will improve their services by giving more importance on the place’s history.