Santo Nino Shrine & Heritage Center | Tacloban City
The Santo Nino Shrine & Heritage Center in Tacloban City is just one of Imelda Marcos’ many expressions of beauty & grandeur. Completed in 1981, this palatial guesthouse is among the 29 homes of the former First Family spread across the country.
Here, the main attraction is the image of the Santo Nino made of the finest ivory. It is the centerpiece among the sparkling embellishments that fills this grandiose building. But that’s all about the Santo Nino, the rest is Imelda Marcos.
Santo Nino Shrine & the Rose of Leyte
As the world knows, Imelda was the former First Lady of then President, Ferdinand E. Marcos. She hails from the powerful & rich Romualdez family of Tacloban. Imelda is so adored that she’s even called “The Rose of Leyte”.
“People say I am extravagant because I want to be surrounded by beauty. But tell me, who wants to be surrounded with garbage?”
– Imelda Marcos –
However, more than the tales of a thousand shoes & the treasure trove of jewelry, she is credited for the art centers that we enjoy today. In her time, she was a staunch cultural impresario & always the image of a Filipina in terno.
The Imeldific Touch
The Santo Shrine & Heritage Center has 13 thematic rooms, each showcasing the art, culture & lifestyles of the Philippine regions. On its hallways are huge mosaics done in expensive tiles. Also, precious collectibles of National Artist Fernando Amorsolo flank its walls.
Moreover, on the second level shows the bedrooms of the former President & their children. Separately, Imelda’s unbelievably beautiful suite speaks so much about her being THE FIRST LADY.
Only the best handcrafted furniture from all over the world decks its state dining rooms. While in the sweeping ballroom laden with Argentinian carpet, hangs exquisite Czech chandeliers.
Indeed, the Santo Shrine and Heritage Center is a universe of priceless collections Imelda Marcos received during her reign. And just like other royal houses in the world, this one in Leyte is a grand representation of opulence filled with objets d’art.
The building is obviously ageing. Some parts already show signs of fading luster. The harrowing stories of typhoon Yolanda also added to its wear & tear . Although, restoration works in parts catch up with time. Still, this mansion exudes an overwhelming beauty.
The Santo Shrine now stands as a mute witness of Tacloban’s episodes of history. Its faded walls narrate a lost reign & messy sequestration, of antiquity & faint glory. But it will forever remain a legacy that only an Imelda Marcos can leave.
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Betwixt and between the arthritic 40 and a horrendous body mass index of positive 30, escapism and yummyeology are my real-life double post-graduate degrees conferred with the highest honors. I lived nearly half of my life in fancy suitcases, jetsetting between reality and fantasy... read more