Conquering Corregidor with Columbia Omni Freeze Zero

Cedric Valera

For many of us who were born and raised here in Manila, Corregidor Island is a place we visited way back in our youth, most probably as a required school field trip. And while we enjoyed the place in the company of our classmates and friends, we didn’t fully realize and appreciate the role that little island played in our country’s history. As an adult who has a better appreciation for history and World War 2, I’ve always thought of returning back to Corregidor. A few weeks ago, Columbia Sportswear made that thought come true and brought us to Corregidor to relive history and to test out its newest technology, Omni Freeze Zero.

Our merry group met up at Harbor Square to board the Sun Cruises ferry that would take us to the island. Dark clouds were threatening our day and the wind provided for a rather choppy Manila Bay. It’s a good thing that I’m accustomed to riding boats as the 1.5-hour ride was riddled with big waves that rocked the whole vessel. Other passengers had to use the motion sickness bags; I simply dozed off.

Moods were back up as soon as we stepped into dry land. The sun showed itself finally, cast its warmth and gave a sign of good things to come. It would also be a great opportunity to field test the shirts we’re wearing, courtesy of Columbia.

We wasted no time and began the tour of Corregidor. There are no cars in Corregidor, only tramvias. Built to resemble the cable cars that were once installed in the island, we started to weave across the paths and into the batteries which were significant components of the island’s defense system. We also passed by remnants of what used to be cinemas, barracks, hospitals, and schools – now all reduced to skeletons and rubble. It’s a good thing that our tour guide eloquently brought back to life the stories of the island. Through his words and stories, we imagined the brave soldiers who fought side by side, the impact of the bombs dropped on the island, even the despair of the eventual fall of Corregidor.

The highlight of our time in the island would have to be our Malinta Tunnel experience. Although we weren’t able to see the light and sound show, we were treated to something better, the lateral tour. After donning our hard helmets, we entered the cavernous sections of the tunnel, our group sharing flashlights. Through the skilful narration of our guide, we learned how sophisticated the tunnel was, how the soot-laden walls were caused by the combustion of gasoline used to burn the Japanese, how the freckled parts of the wall were caused by shrapnel coming from the mass suicides. If only those walls could talk.

We emerged from the tunnels as a very sweaty bunch and immediately we noticed the cooling effect of the shirts we were wearing. The shirt literally cooled itself! Apparently, the blue rings of the Omni Freeze Zero apparel react with sweat to bring down its temperature. This is very useful for travelers and adventurers as it prevents overheating and therefore lessens exhaustion. To prove their point further, the awesome guys from Columbia even brought a thermal camera to actually measure how hot we were!

As you can see, my handsome face is red hot while my body, under the magic of Omni Freeze Zero, is a good shade of blue. Now that’s really cool!

One last thing we’ve noticed is how fast the shirt dries. After keeping still for just about 15 minutes, my shirt which was soaked in sweat was dry. This is probably the most presko shirt I’ve ever owned.

Thanks again to Columbia Sportswear for taking me back to Columbia and for letting us try it’s newest technology, Omni Freeze Zero.

Know more about this revolutionary technology. Visit www.columbia.com

P.S. I’ve since tried the shirt on a day hike and on a bike tour and it’s just an awesome performer!

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