Monday, January 27, 2014

Ilocos Norte: Sarrat's Santa Monica Church, President Marcos Birthplace and heritage walk

Santa Monica Church, Sarrat, Ilocos Norte
The Santa Monica Church and Casa Parroquial in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte have got to be built in one of the most picturesque settings in the country. The church's claim to fame was that it was host to the grand wedding of Irene Marcos and Gregorio Araneta in 1983. Built in front of the wide and sandy Padsan River, the Sarrat Church is surrounded by numerous trees, creating a cool and breezy environment around the church complex.

Santa Monica Church, Sarrat, Ilocos Norte
Santa Monica Church, Sarrat, Ilocos Norte
Unfortunately, the beautiful facade and altar of Sarrat Church were destroyed in a strong earthquake that hit Ilocos Norte just two months after the wedding. They were never able to reconstruct the beautiful Baroque facade. But now that it's declared an Important Cultural Property, I hope government can restore its old facade.

Casa Parroquial, Sarrat, Ilocos Norte
Casa Parroquial, Sarrat, Ilocos Norte
The adjacent Casa Parroquial or Casa del Palacio Real was said to be built before the church and was later used as the Presidencia Municipal of Sarrat.

Sarrat Central School, Sarrat, Ilocos Norte
Beside the convent is the Sarrat Central School, where President Ferdinand E. Marcos finished his elementary education. The school was previously used as the Casa Real of Ilocos Norte when Sarrat was provincial capital during the Spanish colonial period.

Birthplace of President Ferdinand Marcos, Sarrat, Ilocos Norte
The Edralin House, more popularly known as the Birthplace of President Marcos, can also be found in the town. The house was heavily renovated during the Marcos presidency and today hosts a small museum.

Casa Parroquial, Sarrat, Ilocos Norte
There are plans to create a heritage walk to connect the many heritage properties of the town. The banks of the Padsan River are also becoming popular with visitors as locals have set up nipa huts for picnicking and videoke.

Sarrat is just nine kilometers from neighboring Laoag City. And speaking of Laoag, there are several places in the city to find the best empanadas in Ilocos Norte. Guess where?
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