[시사타임즈 = 이철원 시사타임즈 회장] When you think of the Philippines, you think of tourist destinations with various attractions, such as the beautiful Pacific beaches and exotic scenery. However, there was not much to see in Tacloban. The sea on the Pacific Ocean looked very clean and beautiful from a distance, but when you get closer, you can see small black sand mixed with volcanic ash floating around.
It was difficult to find any special cultural relics other than 'MacArthur Landing Memorial Park', which was built to commemorate General MacArthur's Leyte landing in the Pacific War. Although it is a national park, it is not large, and all that was done was to build a concrete structure around the statue of General MacArthur when he landed on the coast with his staff during the Pacific War as a statue twice the size of the real thing. There was nothing to show the guests visiting.
Fortunately, there is an 'Imelda Museum' in Tacloban, mainly to guide visitors. The official name is 'Santonino Sharin', but we just called it the Imelda Museum. The museum was built to commemorate the birth of Imelda in Tacloban, one of 29 residences built by Marcos, the 10th president, who ruled the Philippines with an iron fist for 21 years from 1965. However, the fact is that Imelda was born in Manila, and Tacloban is the hometown of her parents and the political base of the Imelda family.
Internationally, Imelda is more famous than President Marcos. After the Philippine Civil Revolution of 1986 and President Marcos' exile to Hawaii, she became famous when her presidential palace was opened to the public, revealing Imelda's luxury and corruption. The story that she had only 3,000 luxury shoes is well known to us. President Marcos is often compared to President Park Chung-hee of the Republic of Korea, and his political journey is similar.
However, there are still many people who support these families. The museum is a two-story mansion of over 2,000 square meters built in 1979. The first floor consists of a 100-seat cathedral commemorating Saint Santo Niño and 13 rooms with themes that symbolize the islands of the Philippines. The second floor consists of 7 bedrooms, a 30-seat conference room, a banquet hall and a ballroom for the families of President Marcos and First Lady Imelda. Although the entire first floor was damaged by flooding during Typhoon Haiyan, you can still see the splendid films of the time of President Marcos, such as magnificent and splendid buildings, numerous works of art, and ceramics. In particular, the bathroom said to have been used by Mrs. Imelda is decorated with various ceramics and collectibles to the point of being luxurious, and its size is also close to the size of our comfortable apartment living room.
There are many rooms that symbolize Korea, and almost the entire room is decorated with lacquer crafts. It is said that this is because Ms. Imelda likes Korean lacquerware and has collected a lot of colorful lacquerware crafts. In addition, a number of antiques from around the world that President Marcos received or collected during his tenure are on display, and souvenirs are also sold at the exit on the first floor. The building has not been well maintained since President Marcos was ousted in 1986, and although it is the only tourist product that must be visited at a fee (about 1,500 KRW) in Tacloban, it is still largely damaged by a typhoon and left unattended. Visitors and naval officers visited the Imelda Museum before returning home. However, due to the complicated political situation, the local intelligence service refrained from visiting the Imelda Museum as much as possible, as it was advised that Korean soldiers and guests should refrain from visiting the Imelda Museum.
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