A place of honorable people since it’s time has begun, I think in 1912. They say that nobleman used to live here up to this day. From Spanish to American and Filipino statesmans, leaders, and presidents and their families.
The official working place and resident of the head of state of the Philippines: Malacañang Palace.
It really has to be extravagant and luxurious to be called a palace. It uses the best of the best materials to last for forever. From ceiling to table top to utensils to furnishings and the striking one: chandeliers and a lot of them. They come from different countries as a present or maybe purchased. This place has the most collections of the most if not expensive and memorable articles and artifacts, they have become priceless already.
Planning to come and see the beauty of this place takes a long time for me. It started during not my so younger years, probably since I’ve learned about this place in my working days already. I don’t see this place as interesting as it is used to be. When I found out that you can come here to visit and see around, it still never pushed me through to click and book a tour. I find it boring and booking an ABS CBN studio tour is more interesting than this. But then, I think that this is the time I have to reserve for a tour and be aware of the wonderful things about this palace. One thing I’m looking forward is that since I’m a supported of the current president, might as well try to see where he now lives.
It took me about 2-3 months trying to make a reservation because later I found out that their online reservation is not working yet but by email. It was easy, they reply promptly with calls. I mean you have to call them to reply to you! But nonetheless, they are very accommodating and polite on the phone. At one point they even call me for confirmation because I send 2 requested dates and one of the date is fully booked. And then, you have to call them 3 days prior your reservation.
There are many ways to go to Malacañang,and I think that since I’m coming from the south, I better take the Nagtahan via Quirino Ave and then Laurel St. all the way to Gate 6. Parking is also easy, I actually didn’t know that I can park around the Freedom Park which is just right across the entrance to the museum itself. The parking I went was in Mediola St. it is about 5-10 mins walk to the gate. I wished that the cleanliness, nice pave roads and walk ways are the same all around the metro. Sometimes you would wonder if those things are for the president only? Or for exclusive subdivisions only? Or for central business district only? I think that there should also be beauty in every community.
Upon reaching gate number 6, there you will see a small entrance on the right specifically for guest entering the museum. The security is so tightly implemented here, again, no reservation, no entry. I saw some group of Thai’s strolling around and they ask if they could take pictures inside the ground but they where told about the reservation. Well! for the safety and security of the place it’s normal and it should be. And then, they allow you to get in 5 mins before your booking time, you will then pass through an airport like magnetic scanner and baggage counter check.
Kalayaan Hall – it is the oldest part of the palace building itself constructed from the original building to used as the office of the governor general in 1920. The hall has been the office of the of the head of state until the new extension was built during the Marcos presidency. It now houses the museum and presidential library, preserved office of the previous presidents until Pres. Magsaysay, one room was used as a bedroom of one of Marcos’ daughter. Wooden ceiling made from narra, tables and chairs made of mohave woods are still polished and upholstered to preserved, visitors are not allowed to sit though.
Welcoming you to the hall was the statue of Magsaysay on the center of the hallway. First stop was the room where they have settled in the office table that Marcos used to declare the infamous EO of “martial law”. Beside it was a primitive television set playing the said declaration and in front of the very table are multiple pages of the said declaration signed by Marcos himself covered in glass for people to see: the start of era of dictatorship (as some people say). Some may feel that the place was eerie because, well the ambiance was a bit dim probably to emphasize the designs of the walls, ceilings and give focus on chandeliers and so me items that are on display.
Guests are composed of different nationalities, and it seems that they too are enjoying the tour. One thing I’m expecting to see in this tour was the balcony where the Marcos family stand and say their goodbyes to their supporters, and when I do, it felt that I went in a time travel. The balcony was small and tight, and it was a bit scary now that I see the bottom of the first floor, or maybe during that that time there was a good pedestal for them to stand on. It was awesome!
On each of the reserved presidential rooms like Quirino, Laurel, Roxas etc… they keep memorabilia for each one. I also saw some election results, campaign materials and some books of the foer presidents mostly are their SONA speeches. The most impeccable was Marcos’ hand written speech lifting Martial Law in 1982. I realised how smart the guy is. And in the history of Malacañang and maybe because of the length of their stay, they have done so much renovations, extensions and construction in the vicinity. Until Aquino came to power in 1986 as she has build the now biggest structure here: the New Executive Building or the Mabini Hall.
One of the office has been used by Vice Presidents until sometimes until a new constitution was created in 1972 and 1897 giving him the will to choose his own office. The latest was the Boracay Mansion in Quezon City. Next door after our tour guide brought us to the VP office was the admin office of the museum where you will be given your receipt and your payment of Php30.00 for the tour will be collected.
Looking on the old photos of Malacañang, it’s so proud to know that it accommodated so much history and welcomes so many kind of people. It held so much power and mandate and how it has evolved.