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