Fort Drum (El Fraile Island) – Cavite City, Philippines - Atlas Obscura

Fort Drum (El Fraile Island)

A man-made island designed to look like a massive battleship. 


Just off the coast of the Philippines what appears to be a huge, blocky warship is actually a concrete island known as Fort Drum, or El Fraile Island, an abandoned military post that still has its rusting guns in place. 

After the Spanish-American War, America needed to beef up their defenses around many of their newly acquired territories such as Manila Bay. To this end, it was decided that instead of stationing precious naval forces in the harbor, a permanent defense platform would be established on the tiny rock known as El Fraile Island. The island was leveled out and built back up almost from scratch with reinforced concrete, and cast in the basic shape of a massive battleship. To complete the look, two enormous gun batteries were installed on the island. There was even a wooden barracks built on the new island, but this was removed to give the swiveling guns a fuller range of motion. The faux-ship was highly defensible and struck an imposing silhouette to enemies.

Unfortunately the base was taken by Japanese forces during World War II and was held until 1945 when American troops moved to retake Manila. After securing the troops outside the fort, the Americans simply poured oil and gasoline into the base and set it alight, obliterating the remaining enemy troops and starting a fire which burned inside the base for days.

After retaking Manila, the war torn Fort Drum was simply abandoned, leaving the burnt out base and its towering guns to slowly rust away like an immovable ghost ship.    


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