Romance in Baguio

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By Linda Grace Cariño

Paradigm Shift

Friday, February 22, 2013


MANY advertisements for Baguio have the word “romantic” describing the place. I.e., “Win a romantic getaway to Baguio!” And while we locals see that “romantic” is a good word for Baguio, we are at the same time in a romance WITH Baguio. I.e., we are in love with the place we live in. Even further, Baguio itself has been called a romance. I.e., Baguio’s story is “the romance that is Baguio.” All this romantic talk…

That said, let me move to some romances that have happily played out in Baguio.

Perhaps the most famous of these is that between former President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda in the Holy Week of 1954, a tale etched in Baguio historiography. The local lore has it that Marcos, then a congressman, essentially maneuvered the woman he wanted to marry into riding up in his car with him to Baguio, since Imelda was scheduled to vacation in Baguio with her family anyway. The tale also has late TV host and writer Joe Guevarra playing chaperone during the trip up on Wednesday of Holy Week.

In Baguio, a courtship that made headlines took place. It is said that Marcos pursued his would-be bride, who stayed with her uncle, Daniel Romualdez, in the official government residence of the Speaker of the House, with a relentless suit. There are extant videos of Marcos and Imelda courting in John Hay, among the famous Baguio pine. There are pictures of them about town. They are young and happy and clearly in love. Later, this Baguio courtship would be a significant part of a move documenting the entire romance of the two.

Suffice to say that Marcos and Imelda were married on Black Saturday, though not in Baguio. They had to hie off to nearby Trinidad to do so. Presiding over the marriage ceremony was Judge Francisco Chanco, who had been Marcos’s classmate at the University of the Philippines College of Law (as Baguio’s Virginia de Guia and Marcelino Hidalgo had been). The marriage lasted until Marcos died, and listening to “Madam” talk of her marriage even these days, methinks we see a lasting love, whatever else may have beens said and politics aside.

Baguio, romantic Baguio, has been the backdrop for many a love story, famous, infamous, and otherwise. Next week, some romances that played out among regular Baguio folk: my friends, yours. (to be continued)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 23, 2013.

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