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The Ilagan Japanese Tunnel Museum in Isabela Blog Review

Ilagan City, Isabela, Philippines

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One of the most memorable experiences I did when I was in Isabela, is wearing kimono - a traditional attire of a Japanese woman. I haven't been to Japan so it was really a dream come true indeed! Check out the Ilagan Japanese Tunnel, a museum in Isabela which is about 40 meters long and 3.66 meters wide. It's relatively a small Japanese museum in the Philippines but it has so much to offer from learning a piece of history to eating a Japanese food and of course a place for your OOTD shot.

The Ilagan Japanese Tunnel was built during the Japanese colonization in the Philippines that is composed of many tunnels that were built for many defensive purposes. Mostly, it served as headquarters for Japanese soldiers and as arsenal (armory) of the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. Inside this Japanese museum in Isabela, you'll find machine guns, bombs, explosives and different ammunition. The tunnel is divided into chambers or compartments that act as makeshift offices or quarters of Japanese solders and sometimes used as dungeons for prisoners of wars. The one that I got really curious about is that Ilagan Japanese Tunnel like any other Japanese tunnels in the Philippines is also believed to be a place where Yamashita treasures such as Golden Buddha replicas, gold bouillons, coins, diamonds, platinum and other vintage items that survived the war are kept. 

I only stayed there for about an hour so that's why I regret that I was not able to roam around. The tour guide said that it has a watchtower above that was built for the purpose detecting any incoming air and ground attacks by American soldiers.  A typical Japanese watchtower during the World War II provides a full 360 degrees view of the surrounding.  

Ilagan Japanese war tunnel museum Isabela

HISTORICAL MARKER OF ILAGAN JAPANESE TUNNELThis Ilagan Japanese Tunnel anchored the long told story and historical facts that indeed Ilagan played significant role and hold a special place in the history of Isabela during the Japanese occupation. A network of tunnels interconnected below the grounds of Ilagan poblacion, this Japanese Tunnel remained as one of the several surviving tunnels in Ilagan. It is restored, rehabilitated and preserved by the City Government of Ilagan to serve as historical reminder to the Ilaguenos, an an educational enrichment for students, historians, visitors and tourists as well.This Ilagan Japanese Tunnel will now serve as an important historical landmark for the City of Ilagan.Signed by Mayor Josemarie Diaz dated February 16, 2016.

It was the local kids who discovered this tunnel just a few years ago playing in this area not knowing what lies ahead while they do hide-and-seek game. Upon discovery of this Japanese tunnel, elders came to the rescue by sharing what they know about this historical spot in Isabela. The Ilagan Tunnel is one of the most documented tunnels in Isabela which was luckily restored and rightfully preserved through the efforts of Ex-mayor Josemarie Diaz.

In a quick glance, I was also the same as the majority who thought that Ilagan Japanese War Tunnel is a cave but no, it is actually a man-made tunnel constructed by imprisoned locals. Because of their sweat and blood, this Japanese war tunnel in Isabela came to being. 

Aside from the artifacts that were dug in this tunnel, Ilagan Japanese War Tunnel is also a repository of many things of yesteryears given by surviving veterans, historians and locals. 

What to do in Ilagan Japanese War Tunnel Museum  Isabela
There are so many things to do inside this Japanese war tunnel museum in Isabela. Please see below: 

1. Wear a traditional Japanese kimono
For Php 50, you can wear a Japanese kimono according to your preferred color. It comes with equally colorful headdress and a wooden flowery umbrella. They have wardrobes for guys (talk about samurai) and kids too, just so you know.

Ilagan japanese tunnel history
Pic credit: Facebook fan page of Ilagan Japanese Tunnel Museum Isabela

2. Whisper your wishes to the Furin (authentic Japanese bells) 
"Fu" means wind and "rin" means bell in the Furin. One of Japan's iconic symbols of summer, the Furin is seen almost everywhere in Japan's houses, shops and temples. During ancient time, whispering the wishes/offering prayers to the Furin bells then ringing afterwards, sends the vibrations and sound waves into the heaven.

Ilagan Japanese tunnel museum in Isabela
Pic credit: Facebook fan page of Ilagan Japanese Tunnel Museum Isabela

3. Stroll at the Ilagan Japanese Bridge and koi pond
This is the one I haven't tried because our time is so limited. We're about to join another activity of the Bambanti Festival 2018. When I come back to Isabela, I will certainly do this.

Ilagan Japanese tunnel museum location
Pic credit: Facebook fan page of Ilagan Japanese Tunnel Museum Isabela
4.Eat your favorite Japanese food 
Again, this is also the one I didn't get to try - eating food in the Ilagan Japanese Tunnel Foodcourt such as ramen, takoyaki, gyoza, maki and other Japanese cuisine while using chopsticks and of course wearing your kimono! This one I can't find any photos for you to see the actual Japanese food they serve in Ilagan Japanese War Tunnel Museum. Will add one once I have it.

How much is the entrance fee to Ilagan Japanese Tunnel Museum in Isabela? 
See below the rates as of August 2017 as approved by the City of Ilagan through Ordinance No. 006 in 2016.

1. Entrance fees
Adult - Php 50
Senior citizen / persons with disabilities - Php 40
(20% discount provided they present their valid ID's)
Solo parent - Php 45
(20% discount provided they present their valid ID's)
Students (Elementary & high school) - Php 30
Pre-schooler - Pp 20
2. Rental fees
Kimono costume - Php 50
Furin bells - Php 30
3. Filming fees
Movie (12 hours) - Php 10, 000
Video (12 hours) - Php 4, 000
Pictorials (rentals)
Pre-nup with the use of Gazebo (3 hours) - Php 600 + Php 100 for succeeding hour
Other pictorials with Gazebo (13 hours) Php 600 + Php 100 for succeeding hour
4. Table charges
Gazebo - Php 300
Tables with umbrella - Php 100

Any tips, recommendations and suggestions?
1. For filming concerns and pictorials, please make sure to visit Ilagan Japanese Souvenir Shop for registration first.
2. Photography and videography inside the museum aren't allowed. You can however do so, outside.
3. If you have a third eye or afraid of ghosts, I suggest you go inside with a buddy because it looks creepy inside and not to mention it is dark too.

How to go to Ilagan Japanese War Tunnel Museum in Isabela?
1. Take a bus, van or jeep bound to Ilagan or Tuguegarao City. From the North (if you're from Tuguegarao, Tumaini or Cabagan), you can take any public vehicle bound to Santiago or Manila.
2. Get off at Bonifacio Park in Ilagan where the Giant Butaka is located.
3. In Bonifacio Park, please visit the Tourism Information and Assistance Center for direct assistance.
4. The best time to visit the museum is during the anniversary hold every February. Japanese hot tea is given free, entrance fees are sliced into half and many performances are held.

Address: Barangay Sto. Tomas, Ilagan, Isabela
Phone numbers: 0935-701-1586 / 0932-858-3081
Official Facebook fan page:

To read more related Isabela travel guides, please see below:

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