Posted by: nastypen | October 22, 2008

Escape to the North (Part 2)

The great thing about the Philippines is that despite the abject poverty and corruption, it is quite an interesting country. One cannot deny the variety of our culture.  I understand what the elders have told me in the past that you understand the country better outside the library.  I personally believe it is our duty as artists to see the country to be better at conveying our dreams and disasters.  Although it is not enough that we had four days of traipsing about the Ilocos provinces, it offered us a chance to appreciate our culture and identity. 

In Marcos country (Sarrat and Batac)

Went to Sarrat where dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos was born and to Batac where he is interred in a glass coffin. Photography is not allowed inside the mausoleum, which is ok considering it was creepy.

Last time I was in Sarrat, the Marcos “ancestral house” was under renovation. Now, it is open to the public. No fees. They do ask for donation for the upkeep. Too bad the Marcos plundered money amounting to billions is in escrow. Why can’t Imelda spare a trinket or two and spare this teacher having to donate money for floor wax? Click here for more photos of Marcos country.

Sarrat, Ilocos Norte

The Sarrat church is the location for the ultra kitsch undertaking which is the wedding of Irene Marcos to Greggy Araneta. A couple of years later, an earthquake eviscerated the facade and the bell tower.

Of course the townsfolk were quick to blame Imelda Marcos as the one who brought this upon their beloved Church. Imelda took more liberty of altering certain Church details to augment to the theme of the wedding which was white. Imelda was said to have made altertions to the facade which later brought about a huge crack.

Thankfully, the church has been restored.

I was excited to return to this church because I wanted my photo taken by the ruins with the sign of the “Torture Room” hanging at the entrance. The Japanese used the huge pillars to tie up people and torture them. I was surprised when the authorities took out the “Torture Room” entrance. Then I noticed that the ruins have been converted into a place for wedding pictorials and the authorities did not want any indication of torture. Click here for more pics of Sarrat.

Paoay, Ilocos Norte

Here’s one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I do love the exterior. The interior was nothing special though. The anti-earthquake buttresses are beautiful. I didn’t go up the bell tower because of my vertigo. Although I should be honest that I still love certain central Visyas churches more than this, I have to note that the construction of this one is exemplary due to its usage of local knowledge and considering its sheer massive size, it must have been a great undertaking. Click here for more pics of Paoay.

Badoc, Ilocos Norte

I love this. Addie and I decided to visit Badoc, the hometown of the great Filipino painter Juan Luna. We dropped by Luna’s restored home. No, there were no paintings of his, just reproductions that have faded through time and exposure from the intense Ilocos sun. No, there was no indication of the part that Juan Luna was a wife batterer. I got goosebumps when I saw his mixing plates though.

Addie and I then walked towards Badoc Church. At first, we were disappointed by the refurbished whitewashed facade. It looks so Mexican. Yet, the old bell tower indicated there was more to this church. Addie went to the side and he saw that there were buttresses similar to Paoay’s.

I absolutely love the bare honesty of the sides. At the right side of the church, the buttresses have been damaged most likely by an earthquake. Although I am horrified that the townsfolk might “restore” this, because their definition of restoration is to make it look sparkling new. I go for preservation and conservation more. What a lovely church it is. I like the old crumbling gates. Click here for more pics of Badoc.

Bantay, Ilocos Sur

This is just a short tricycle ride from Vigan proper. This is where Addie and I waited for a bus to take us either back to Laoag or to St. Maria church. However, the Church of Bantay is great nonetheless with its imposing bricks.

The distance of the bell and location atop a hill tower is indicative of its other function which is a lookout point.

This is also a site where Diego Silang rose against the powers that be.

I didn’t get inside the church because there was a tarp at the door saying that wearing shorts is not allowed inside. Yup, we all know that Jesus really took pains to tell his apostles what to wear right? Click here for more photos of Bantay.

Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur

Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sta. Maria Church was the very first Church I saw years ago when I went to Ilocos. I thought it was beautiful. But I didn’t fully explore the church.

Addie and I went around taking photos.

I like the structure and the lines of the church, I just cannot say the same thing for the relief at the side of the church with the saint levitating by a foliage.

I explored the proximity of the church and saw a portion of the land crumbling from an earthquake years ago. It was surreal that the people lighted votive candles by the ruins.

Addie and I decided to go to the town cemetery. Some of the graves are pretty old. I could see quite a number of deaths during 1943-44, I assume these were victims of Japanese Imperial Army aggression. It was a surreal landscape to be walking amidst mostly white tombs. Click here for more photos of Sta. Maria.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: