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Allyson’s Travel Diary

Friday, 12 Aug 2005

Location: Tacloban, Philippines

MapHi Y'all!

Well, here I am in Tacloban, the capital of Leyte. Leyte's an island of the Eastern Visayas in the Philippines.

More information on Tacloban can be found here:
http://www.tacloban.tk/

Today I visited the Shrine of Santo Nino. It was built by Imelda Marcos - she intended it to be her retirement home. But she never had the chance to live in it. It is now owned by the government and has become a museum of sorts. The entrance fee is only about a quid; around 1pound 50 if you want to take pictures. But I stupidly forgot my camera.

A guide takes you through the house and gives a brief account of each room. Although the house is in various states of disrepair and not well maintained, the original beauty of the house is still evident. Imelda decorated it with native and imported furnishings. It's an eclectic mix of Europe and Asia. The one consistent item is the Austrian mirror in most rooms. And the walls of each room are covered with woven materials, ranging from bamboo chippings to pineapple fibres. Ferdinand's bedroom is lined with woven Gucci leather!!

The two rooms which stick out in my mind is the ballroom, which is massive and could easily host a party of 200 or more. 3 carved, wooden chandeliers hang from the ceiling. The largest one is of unbelievable proportions. It must weigh a ton! The second room is of course, the bedroom of Imelda. It is a princess' dream room. The bathroom is the best part. She has a jacuzzi bath, walk in shower, as well as a sink and beautician chair for those days when you just dont have time to go to the salon. She obviously made good use of the embezzled money!

It's such a shame that the house is not well maintained. Many of the rooms are in a bad state of disrepair. Most of the fabrics on the beds and chairs have rotted away. I don't think anyone cleans the house, some of those bathrooms were pretty smelly! In one corner of the house I found a curtain-like cobweb. The house has also suffered from quite a bit of thievery. The guide kept telling us about all the treasures in the house that were stolen.

All in all, a must see in Tacloban - just dont forget your camera!