Going Loco over Ilocos: Batac, Ilocos Norte

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I like history. And I like seeing remnants of the past as seen through preserved artifacts.

After Laoag and Paoay, we finally headed in the land of the Marcoses–Batac, Ilocos Norte. We visited the town of Batac, and it’s true—everything in Batac is about the Marcos Family and in praise of the Marcos family. It was actually quite awesome seeing the grandeur and splendor of the Marcos family, the Marcos era, and everything in between encapsulated in the town of Batac.

Disclaimer: I am not in any way related to the Marcoses, or even not one of his cronies. (Haha, if so, I must be filthy rich right now!) We were just ordinary people admiring the once glorious period that their family possessed as evidenced by their luxurious material possessions and significant achievements as presented inside the museum.

Unfortunately, we were not able to enter the Malacanang of the North as it was undergoing major renovations at the time of our visit. With heavy sighs, we just directed ourselves to our next destination, the Marcos Mausoleum and Marcos Museum.

Anything that involves remnants of  dead people may perhaps elicit such awkward reactions. Entering the Marcos Mausoleum gave me a very eerie feeling. I actually think it was something very inappropriate to do. It was very very awkward. I mean, exhibiting the dead to be viewed… leisurely by tourists? But then again, I really feel that the “body” seen in the transparent casket is just a wax replica of the late Philippine President. So it may minimize the moral gravity of viewing the “exhibit of a dead man’s body” because it may be just wax after all. Let’s think of it as like visiting the wax museum instead.

I like visiting museums because of the random tidbits of information I usually come across with. It’s also for the same reason that I appreciated the Marcos Museum despite it being small and predictably honorific of Ferdinand Marcos as an icon.

See above photo. “I ask all of you to become heroes of our nation”. I really think that Marcos had one of the best minds that ever walked the Philippines. He was so brilliant. He thought of such innovative projects to apply to the Philippines for its betterment. He had so much enthusiasm and idealism for a better Philippines. He may actually be considered quixotic. But then again, his leadership went on its extremes and it caused the downfall of his regime.

Just near the Marcos Museum was Imelda Marcos’ World Peace Center— again, an exhibition of everything glorious about the Marcoses.

My jaw dropped when I saw this. He was a geek in Law! Who gets perfect scores in the Bar Exams? Only Ferdinand Marcos. Wow. And that’s not the end! See the photo below.

Ferdinand Marcos as the Most Decorated World War 2 Hero

At that point, I became skeptic. Did he really earn those? To give him the benefit of the doubt, he was still not in power when accomplished those. He may have actually accomplished those achievements on his own and through his own strengths. He must have really been a “wonder child” of his time. He must be that clever or that brilliant.

The entrance to Marcos’ actual house. But at the time of our visit, it was closed because an actual Marcos relative was residing in the house.

Generally, although short but sweet, I found our Batac trip very informative. The only downside was that the Malacanang of the North was closed. But nevertheless, the trip was still awesome. It was still a pleasure visiting Batac.

In a way, I wanted to have the idealistic and brilliant side that Ferdinand Marcos had. He had so much ideas and had so much passion to lead. And I stand firm in saying, Ferdinand Marcos was one of the most brilliant men that ever walked the Philippines. If only he stayed that way huh? We could’ve been a powerhouse country with a powerhouse economy!

Thank you, Batac! Vigan here we come!

NEXT: Going Loco Over Ilocos: Baluarte (Vigan, Ilocos Sur)

How We Got Around Batac:

  • We hailed a tricycle from Laoag to service us going to Paoay and Batac.
  • We agreed to have the trike service at Php 300, but we felt that he won’t be able to earn much from Php 300, that’s why we gave him extra at Php 500. It’s still reasonably priced considering that it was Peak Season (December) and most tricycle drivers were charging Php 700-900.00 for Laoag, Paoay and Batac.

8 responses »

  1. No doubt Marcos is brilliant. No amount of demonizing him will diminish that. Actually, when he topped the bar, his score was so high that he was accused of cheating. So he had to retake it – and achieved more or less the same score afterwards. Here’s the thing: for his retake, he was actually behind bars because he was on trial for murder and he reviewed alone.

    = = = = = = = = = =

    On the other hand, it’s long been known that the medals are fake. Bonifacio Gillego published a book exposing this and this has been corroborated by further research by foreign historians. Marcos created the war hero myth to further his political career.

    • Wow! That’s really interesting to learn! Thank you for that! I really appreciate it! I always like tidbits of information like that.

      And yes, he’s truly brilliant. If all his plans for the Philippines had been materialized back then, (or at least carried out by the succeeding presidents) we could be very progressive right now.

      How come you know so much about the biography of Marcos? It’s amusing that you are very much well read with so much facts about him that are unknown to common Filipino knowledge.

  2. I come from a family that could have benefited from Marcos continuously being in power. (Not cronies though.) Then even before EDSA 1, some in the family changed sides. I got curious at what would prompt such a transformation so I did some reading on both sides of the Marcos issue – I still do so now.

    It takes time and effort to recognize which writings on both sides are fact and which are propaganda…. especially writings during the Marcos years where there was no press freedom and virtually all writings are pro-Marcos.

    Children have it easy now. A lot of info on history is available in the Internet. There’s no large gap between the desire to learn and the means to actually learn something.

    • So what facts have you unearthed lately? That would be interesting! I would love to hear more facts or at least stories about the life that the late president led and the choices that he made, and the circumstances that surrounded him.

      • Well, recall that I mentioned he was once on trial for murder? He was actually already convicted and sentenced to death but upon appeal to the Supreme Court, he was acquitted. Apparently, the basis of the acquittal was not the merits of the case, but the way he impressed Chief Justice Laurel with his oral arguments. According to sources, CJ Laurel supposedly said, “Sayang ang talino ng batang ito kung mabubulok lang sa kulungan.” (Or something to that effect.)

        Personally, I think this was the starting point where Marcos began to entertain ideas that he has a great destiny as regards the Philippines and that the rules don’t necessarily apply to him. Only God can judge what CJ Laurel for his role in all this.

  3. Pingback: Teacher Mia Travels

  4. Pingback: Going Loco over Ilocos: Paoay, Ilocos Norte « Teacher Mia Travels

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