Batac City eyes new tourist site in case Marcos is buried in Heroes Cemetery

BATAC CITY, Ilocos Norte — Batac City in the northern Philippine province of Ilocos Norte is planning to redevelop a park to provide a new attraction in place of the Marcos mausoleum, which is expected to draw fewer tourists in case the remains of former president Ferdinand Marcos are buried at the Heroes Cemetery in Manila.

Provincial tourism officer Ianree Raquel said the project has long been planned to maintain the high number of tourists visiting Batac City.

The Ferdinand E. Marcos Museum remains to be one of the top tourist destinations in Ilocos Norte, recording almost 40,000 visitors in this year’s Holy Week alone.

“The City Government of Batac, together with the provincial government, is already implementing the redevelopment of the Batac City Plaza. If (Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City) will push through, we will have new attractions in Batac City,” Raquel said.

He said the park will be designed with a “Heroic Ilocos” theme, given the city’s title as the “Home of Great Leaders”.

Batac City is the hometown of Marcos; founder of the Philippine Independent Church, Gregorio Aglipay; and Father of the Philippine Army, Gen. Artemio Ricarte.

Meanwhile, Raquel said the tourism office continues to search for historical objects related to Marcos for display in various museums in the province.

“(As the) Marcos Heritage Trail (remains) a top destination (in Ilocos Norte), we’re continuously trying to incorporate new exhibitions in the museums,” he said, noting that they have already found interesting materials from various parts of the province.

“One is a very rare material from Batac — a commemorative watch (probably from the year) 1977… and photographs of FEM from the 1960s kept by one family in Pasuquin (town).”

Raquel said they encourage the community to contribute new materials for the museums. PNA/