Sarrat, Ilocos Norte is popular for two reasons. One, it’s the birthplace of President Ferdinand Marcos and two, the Parish Church, Sta Monica, is where his daughter Irene got married in June of 1983.
Unknown to many, however, an equally interesting structure is the ruins of what I understand to be a “trial/court building” during the Spanish Era. It was only in 1997 that the structure was restored to its present state as a Parish Museum.
The marker of the Museum reads: “The Sta. Monica Parish Museum is a repository of artifacts and memorabilia that dates back to the construction of the Church edifice in 1779, was established in 1993 on the initiative of then the parish priest, dedicated to the Bishop of Laoag. It was completed in 1997 through the generosity of the Kannawidan Foundation, Inc. – The Iloko Foundation for Arts and Culture, an organization dedicated to the preservation of the cultural and historical heritage of the people of Ilocos Norte.”
What is interesting about the ruins is that only a small portion of the ground floor houses some old images of the Church and some antique religious images which are virtually unnoticeable. Just above the enclosed museum serves as a convent which I personally is quite concerned.
Once you go inside the ruins, you are transported back in time and left wondering and wandering what actually went on each side and every chamber of this huge structure. The first time I went in, I felt “peace” because the place is wide, so bright and so quite, complemented with high-rise walls that seem to connect to the sky so gracefully. That’s what I felt until I pass by a chamber with a sign that reads: “death chamber by garrote!” But that was a part of the tour, not to mention that I was the only inside that time!
For photographers, the ruins is a very good location for pictorials, not only because it provides a perfect background which reflects Ilocos and history as a whole but also because there’s not much people going in. For the three times that I visited the place, I felt I own it!