CULTURAL CENTER OF THE PHILIPPINES | The Imeldific Imelda Marcos :: Manila’s Master Builder


Imelda Marcos puckering up at her dictator-husband’s tomb September 11th, 2005 Photo: AP/Aaron Favila

Our opponent [Cory Aquino] does not put on any make up. She does not have her fingernails manicured. You know gays. They are for beauty. Filipinos who like beauty, love and God are for Marcos.

– on why Ferdinand Marcos would win the gay vote, January 1986



Imelda cutting the ribbon on the first “full-service” (whatever that means) mall in Ilocos Norte, December 2009.

Okay, here’s a confession: I’m obsessed with Imelda. She’s certainly her own deal and she’s still kicking around after all these years (she was born in 1929), trying once again to get elected in the 2010 national elections. Scary stuff. I guess stars are always trying for a comeback. And Imelda’s the number one star in the Philippines. The spotlight always beckons those who have been under its glare.

File picture shows former first lady Imelda Marcos gesturing as she speaks to journalists at a hotel in Manila. (AFP Photo)

I’ve read so many books and articles about her that I feel that I’ve come to know her in my own way over the years.

Of all the people in the world, what I wouldn’t give to have an interview with her (I have my questions all sorted in my head).

Many things fascinate me about Imelda. I think she’s the world’s oldest coquette (“I’m poor!”), flirting with her eyes and keeping up appearances. She apparently hated what Ramona S. Diaz did to her in the above documentary (a “must see” now available on YouTube).

Without Imelda, modern architecture in Manila (and the country in general) would not be what it was. She used her enormous influence to “get things done” and, as a result, Manila has some rather intriguing architecture.

Like me, she believes in beauty. Of course, that’s all it the eye of the beholder.

No matter what you think of her as a person, she certainly was a beauty herself in her heyday. But at what expense was her “beautification” of the Philippines made? And how much does one woman really need?

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