Imelda Marcos’ Wardrobe Not Historic Treasure, Philippine Government Says

The vast and famous wardrobe of former first lady Imelda Marcos has been declared historically insignificant, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

The wife of Philippine president/dictator Ferdinand Marcos was noted for her elaborate gowns and shoes, none of which she appeared to ever wear twice. When they fled the country after a popular uprising in 1986, news cameras descended on their palace, to find hundreds of pairs of shoes and whole rooms stocked with dresses and accessories.

Her lavish collection became a symbol of corruption and callousness in a country faced with serious poverty.

Many of the clothes ended up in the National Museum of the Philippines in Manila, where they languished in a storeroom. The collection included hundreds of gowns and at least 1,220 pairs of shoes.

Now the government has issued a statements saying that the collection has been damaged by termites and soaked by water that came through a leaky roof during a monsoon last month. There are no plans to save the clothes, however, as the vast majority have “no historical significance.”

The only exceptions are a few gowns made by famous Philippine designers. Some 800 pairs of Marcos’ shoes are still preserved in the Shoe Museum in Marikina, a traditional center of shoe making in the country.

Ferdinand Marcos died in exile in Hawaii in 1989. Imelda Marcos returned to the Philippines and managed to get out of most of the criminal charges leveled against her. She has unsuccessfully run for various political offices.

[Photo courtesy U.S. Government]

Philippines terrorist threat prompts travel warning

When the U.S. Department of State issues a travel warning related to terrorism its serious business. Concerned about the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world, its a reminder that terrorism can occur anywhere.

“Travelers should exercise extreme caution if traveling to Mindanao or the Sulu Archipelago. Regional terrorist groups have carried out bombings resulting in injuries and death” the department of state said in the warning.

Indeed, the Philippines have a long history of terrorist activities with hundreds killed in bombings and other attacks by Islamic extremists. The Philippines has also been called the “Kidnapping Capital of Asia”, with kidnap-for-ransom establishing itself as a popular and lucrative business for the Philippine underworld. But the latest focus on terrorism in the Philippines may stem from a fear of Islamist militant groups that may be plotting attacks to avenge the death of Osama bin Laden last month in Pakistan.

That should be plenty of reasons for caution when thinking of travel to the Philippines. Tourism officials in the Philippines, unlike their Mexican counterparts, have been silent so far but law enforcement officials downplay the US travel warning.”I am not saying there is no immediate threat. [But] there is no specific report of terrorist threats in the country,” Philippine National Police Director General Raul M. Bacalzo told Inquirer News.

This might be one to watch.

For more detailed information on general crime and security issues in the Philippines, see the State Department’s Country Specific Information for the Philippines.

You may also obtain information on security by calling the State Department at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays)

Flickr photo by Maks Karochkin