12-14 June 2010. Ilocos Region.
It was cool underneath the rock formations of Currimao, and in the middle of a really hot afternoon, the coolness was a welcome respite. However, there was still so much of Ilocos that I wanted to discover, so off we went to Batac. Batac houses the bodies of two of the most prominent figures in Philippine history. As soon as we alighted from the bus, we walked all the way to the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, better known as Aglipayan Church. Behind the altar are the remains of Gregorio Aglipay. According to my limited readings, the Aglipayan Church is the second largest Christian congregation in the Philippines. It is founded by catholic priests who had been excommunicated for protesting against racial discrimination, exploitation, and oppression by the Roman Catholic Church during the Spanish colonization in the country. Gregorio Aglipay was the founding father of the church, and on 3 August 1902, he publicly proclaimed the birth of Iglesia Filipina Independiente. I thought the church and the site needed some serious repairs if only to give reverence to the person who fought against Spanish oppression.
A walking distance from the Aglipayan Church is the Marcos Museum, and it houses, this time, the wax figure of the late President Ferdinand Marcos. I am now thoroughly confused – some say that the museum doubles as a mausoleum because the remains of the late President are preserved in wax; others say that his remains are not housed at the museum but in his honor, his dead form is preserved in wax. I do not quite get the beauty of preserving a person’s dead form, unless his remains were indeed preserved in wax; otherwise, immortalize his live form like those wax celebrities at Madame Tussauds. Anyway, the museum also showcases the late President’s memorabilia, from the time he was a member of the Armed Forces until his presidency.
Across the museum is the Batac Church where Derik was currently assigned as deacon. Unfortunately, the church was closed. Right next to the church is the Batac Riverside Empanadahan, where we sampled the famous Ilocano empanada. The empanada differs from the other empanadas with the dough used to enclose the filling. The locals use rice flour, colored orange with achuete. The filling is composed of vegetables, egg, and the native sausage, longganisa, which the region is likewise known for. From Batac, the group hired tricycles for Php600.00/tricycle to bring us to the other sights Ilocos Region boasts of.
Images of Batac: