While Imee Marcos was speaking about tourism and Ilocos region during lunch at Ilocos Norte Hotel and Convention Center, I can’t help but feel the affinity I have with the Marcos Family. No I’m not in any way related in blood nor do I glorify whatever late president Marcos did. But growing up with parents who were Marcos loyalist got to me, more so that I’m named after the president with the same birthday. That’s why Ilocos Norte has that soft spot. And visiting places where the Marcoses used to live was like visiting a distant relative.
The day we visited Sarrat, we also visited the birth house of Ferdinand Marcos. A two story house turned museum with most of the furniture, including the bed where Marcos was born. Interesting as well was was the family tree on the second floor.
On the last day of our Lakbay Norte 2 tour, we did the usual Empanada eat at Batac in the morning coming from Playa Tropical. Of course we visited the Marcos mausoleum which is just across the street where the river empanada is. The mystery still remains whether this is the real Marcos inside the glass or it’s just wax.
Just at the back of the mausoleum is a relatively new museum where the current Congresswoman, Imelda Marcos holds her office. For a person who venerates beauty, I thought this place was crudely done. It was like a huge hangar with a number of old photos mounted on black card boards posted to fill the walls. Whenever Imeda is here, this huge area is usually closed to keep the open the cool conditioned air inside.
Our last sight seeing stop before flying off for the evening was the recently refurbished Malacanang Ti Amianan or the Malacanang of the North. This elegant two story stone-house standing on a 5- hectare property in Suba, Paoay, Ilocos Norte was a “gift” house to the First Lady, Imelda Marcos from the former president Ferdinand Marcos. The house started construction in 1975 and finished in 1977.
I remember visiting this place when I was in grade school but had vague memory of how it looked then. The house has been closed for sometime until it re-opened just this January 2011 after being refurbished back to its former glory. Inside, I felt what it’s like to be an Illustrado roaming around its huge reception areas on both floors, two dining rooms, 9 luxurious rooms each with their own toilet and bath, and a very wide terrace with a view of the well landscaped garden and Paoay Lake.
During the Marcos regime, this not only served as a family vacation house but also to accommodate high profile guest like foreign royalties, dignitaries and tycoons. When Marcos was ousted and exiled to Hawaii in 1986, the house was turned into a Museum to showcase the numerous Marcos memorabilia. Since there wasn’t much funding to maintain the place it deteriorated until recently, a 7-million pesos was pumped into project to restore the place and hopefully make it as one of the major attractions in Ilocos Norte.
Malacanang Ti Amianan is open daily except Mondays from 9am to 5pm. There’s a cheap P20 entrance fee.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.