Marcos and Bacong
Bacong is just 20 minute ride from the town of Dumaguete, I reached the sleepy town one afternoon whose claim to fame is being the hometown of revolutionary hero Pantaleon Villegas aka Leon Kilat. A Spanish descendant, born to an affluent Negrense family, he worked in a pharmacy in Cebu owned by a German firm. He led the Tres de Abril revolt in Cebu. He was also a trained horse jock. Kilat was feared because people believe that his amulets makes him invincible! He was killed in Carcar by his own men, stabbed because they believe bullets won’t work.
Marcos wanted a grand town hall for Bacong, what Marcos wants, well, he gets of course. The town now have a splendid town hall that is comparable to the Capitol in terms of architecture and dimension! In fact, its grounds are bigger than that of the provincial seat. A monument was also commissioned for Kilat, whose bones were dug up in Cebu (in 1920’s) and placed under the impressive white monument now situated in the town hall’s plaza.
The Marcoses were the last great builders of Filipino leaders. Period. I mean this man built a national highway system that was six time the length of roads that was built since the beginning of the century. And by the way, roads then were the sole duty of the government and was not private enterprise like what we have now.
Our leaders of today no longer possess the vision for constructing outstanding edifices and bridges. What we have now is the tingi culture; we now prefer the cheap and disposable materials blame it on the nation’s resources they say but looking at how money is getting exhausted by the government, makes one want to skip paying taxes. Sa kurakot din lang naman ang punta. Unfortunately, for the Macorses, many of their accomplishments are stained by the political mess that arose from abuse of their power.
The greatest and grandest structures were built during Apo’s time, my favorite is the bridge that crosses the San Juanico straits (formerly Marcos Bridge but was later renamed for obvious reasons) – linking the provinces of Samar and Leyte. Many Filipinos of today does not know this man except that he was a dictator and that his government was overthrown. Some of his structures include; The Pan-Philippine Highway that stretches from Aparri in the north through the Visayas and to Davao City, connecting to the Sulu archipelago in the south; the San Juanico Bridge, the longest in the country; Manila North and South Expressways; Cebu-Mactan Bridge; Iligan-Cagayan de Oro-Butuan road; Davao-Cotabato road, Manila North Road; Laoag-Allacapan Road; Gapan-Olongapo Road; Tarlac-Bugallon-Sta.Rosa road; the Zapote-Tagaytay Road; the Agoo-Baguio road, and many others that cut deep through mountains and villages (an example of this is Cebu’s South road). While the man tried to build the nation’s main infrastructure, the wifey, Imelda, pioneered cultural renaissance and swiftly constructed her edifices to support it. Filipino Art was alive during her time. I don’t think many artists will argue.
Wow, I’m sounding like a Loyalist here, but I can’t help but write about Marcos’ nation building scheme when I saw Bacong’s town hall. When I first saw the old Mactan bridge and Sn Juanico, I thought then, well they’re amazing feats but he had to build these but Bacong – a small quite town, which probably at the time had less than half of its population now (walang gaanong botante in short), I started to believe that when this guy required to build something he wouldn’t settle for the economy type (he hates the word cheap I guess), he wants them impressive and graceful (kailangan maarte) and expensive! For all the bad stuff you hear from his years as president, we often fail to notice his accomplishments. His government was corrupt but what has changed since then? Nothing. Vicious cycle talaga.
Damn, that’s two decades of being the Chief Executive, but come to think of it – what have our past and present Presidents accomplished during their years? Our highways since then are now maintained and expanded by corporations (worst their foreign owned), some of our structures need charity funds (abuloy madalas galing sa Japan and US) from outside in order to be constructed and our public works are still among the most corrupt and inept in the world. Talk about progress. By the way, this man completed the North Expressway using military engineers; I think we could get rid of DPWH now and use our soldiers again!
Well. The truth is Marcos was building big then and thanks to his wife, with chic!
The Church of St. Augustine of Hippo is a stone throw away from the municipio, its partly hidden by the giant acacia trees from the main road. It faces the sea, the surf is composed of black volcanic sand, its so fine that it breaks into flakes when I stepped on it. After visiting the municipio, I went straight to this beautiful church which is considered a national treasure.
15 Agosto 2009