I was making the most of summer and I have been away from the computer doing some quickie and long rides (which might end up as another late blog entry). We are not getting that much rain yet so the trips just keep coming. Meanwhile, to keep things going here, I’ll continue the North Luzon Loop series. Where were we?
Oh right.. the failed crossing to Gabut Island. This is still in Badoc, Ilocos Norte. Continuing northward, I passed by Curimao heading to Laoag. I planned to stop for a quick tour in Batac City. At an intersection leading to the city proper, there is a Tourism outpost handing out brochures. I got one and picked my destinations in the “Home of Great Leaders”
Batac City is in Ilocos Norte some 470 kilometers north of Manila. If you travel the same distance from Manila heading south, you’ll end up in Legazpi, Albay. From the main highway, the city proper is less than a kilometer away so making a quick sidetrip is very worthwhile. It should not even be just sidetrip, make this A DESTINATION the next time you will pass by the area. WHAT TO SEE..
AGLIPAYAN CHURCH (Iglesia Filipina Independiente)
Batac is the birthplace of Gregorio Aglipay. He was a former Roman Catholic priest who became the first Filipino Supreme Bishop of the Philippine Independent Church. It is a Christian Protestant denomination of the Catholic tradition in the form of a national church and is the second largest with two to six million members. His remains are entombed inside the this cathedral but it was closed so I don’t know where exactly it is.
Speaking of the Catholic Church, just a few meters right after Quiaoit Bridge further into the city is the..
IMMACULATE CONCEPCION CHURCH
The church was closed but I can hear noises coming from the inside. I sneaked in through the half-open small door at the side and was greeted by some altar boys cleaning the church. I asked permission to snap a few pictures and they responded with a barrage of questions about my trip. Made a big fuss over a little bike doing a long trip.
GENERAL ARTEMIO RICARTE SHRINE
Artemio “Vibora” (The Viper) Ricarte is known as The Father of the Philippine Army and was a general during the Philippine Revolution and the Philippine–American War.
He is a hero but interestingly, at the latter part of his life, he was forced to establish the MaKaPili (Makabayan Katipunan ng mga Pilipino) or those who turn against fellow Filipinos to the Japanese. Before you utter the word “traitor”, please do a little research about that part of this hero’s life first. Putting that aside, The Viper is known for never taking an oath of allegiance to the United States even if it meant being exiled and imprisoned.
I feel like I don’t need to mention this but yes, Artemio Ricarte is from Batac.
FERDINAND MARCOS PRESIDENTIAL CENTER
Remember when I said that ‘Ilocos’ is like a synonym to ‘Marcos’? Well, ‘Batac’ is defined as ‘Marcos’. Like Aglipay and Ricarte, the former president Ferdinand Marcos is also from Batac. Technically, Marcos was born in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte but he grew up in Batac.
When I got to the Marcos Presidential Center, a big, fat, sign was sitting at the desk: [LUNCH BREAK]. I walked around on the corridors outside and an old man ushered me inside a door. Turns out, this is the Marcos Mausoleum. I was surprised they let me in with my camera; taking photos is strictly prohibited.
Inside, his remains (or maybe a wax-figure as some conspiracy theories claim) lies inside an airconditioned crypt as Gregorian music plays endlessly. The Marcoses refuse to bury him until he would be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. I don’t see that happening any time soon so you still have a chance to attend this “wake”.
I can’t wait for the Museum to open after the lunch break so I proceeded to tour the rest of the city.
Strolling the streets are very low speeds is not really that comfortable with all the gear and the blazing sun so I headed out of the city. One last stop..
WORLD PEACE CENTER
I don’t really understand why it’s called that. I was told that it houses pictures of the life of the Marcos. in Google Maps, it is labelled as Marcos Museum. Maybe the Marcos Presidential Center can no longer hold the rest of the memorabilia so this is somewhat an extension. It looks open and I would like to come in since the other Marcos Museum is closed but there is no decent parking space nearby so I just rode off..