Monday, November 10, 2014

Article: Imelda Marcos’s tropical 'palace' rots one year after Philippines typhoon

Imelda Marcos’s tropical 'palace' rots one year after Philippines typhoon

A seaside mansion where the widow of former Philippine president once hosted high-society dance parties boasts Ming Dynasty vases and ivory carvings but smells like a garden shed

By Tom Phillips, Tacloban
8:59AM GMT 06 Nov 2014

A once luxurious 21-bedroom palace where the Philippines’ shoe-loving former first lady Imelda Marcos hosted late-night dance parties has been plunged into disrepair following the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan one year ago.

The Santo Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum in the city of Tacloban was erected in the late 1970s in the dying days of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ two-decade reign.

It was one of at least 29 presidential “rest houses” the couple built across the country and has long been derided by critics as a symbol of the family’s alleged thievery and decadence.

It was Imelda Marcos, the late president’s eccentric and glamorous wife, who came up with designs for the palatial building, claimed Vicky Eviota, a guide, during a recent tour of the now crumbling mansion. “It was Imelda’s idea. It was two years in the making.”

But the 21,500 square ft “shrine” – a spectacular if gaudy creation that even features a bizarre diorama charting Imelda’s rise to power and fortune - has fallen on hard times. For while its extensive collection of Ming Dynasty vases, intricate ivory carvings and rare hardwood chandeliers would not look out of place at the British Museum, the building itself now has the musty aroma of a damp garden shed.

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