World·Nothing is Foreign

Tortured by the Marcos regime, he just watched the family regain power

This week on Nothing is Foreign, we talk to activist and torture survivor Bonifacio Ilagan about memory, nostalgia and misinformation in the Philippines.

Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. won a landslide victory this week to become the Philippines' next president

Former political prisoner Bonifacio Ilagan shares his experience of the martial law era in the Philippines during an interview at a museum honouring people who took part in the struggle against former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s, in Quezon City, suburban Manila, on May 6. (Jam Sta Rosa/AFP/Getty Images)

In the Philippines, Bonifacio Ilagan survived prison, political violence and the disappearance of his sister — all at the hands of the Ferdinand Marcos Sr. dictatorship.

Despite decades of activism, he never expected to see the family he fought to overthrow return to power in his country.

But that's what happened this week when Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. won a landslide presidential victory.

Ilagan reflects on how his country has forgotten one of its darkest eras, the concerted effort the Marcos family and its supporters have made to accelerate that amnesia and what it all means for the Philippines' future.


  • Bonifacio Ilagan, playwright, activist and Philippines martial law survivor.

Nothing is Foreign is a new podcast from CBC News and CBC Podcasts. A weekly trip to where the story is unfolding. Hosted by Tamara Khandaker.