Did You Know Malacañang Palace has a Museum and Library?

Do you remember when you were a kid and adults would often ask: “Ano ang gusto mo maging paglaki mo?”  What were your answers? Every time I reminisce my answers, it never fails to make me giggle. At six, I wanted to be the President of the Philippines. I didn’t know why but being the president of my preparatory class inspired me to dream for the highest position in our country. By the time I reached 8, it changed and I wanted to be a journalist then run for the Presidency (Vice President Noli De Castro was my favorite politician at that age).

The Malacañang Palace will always be a place I want to see. I wasn’t able to visit the palace itself but after one afternoon of Googling places to visit in Manila, I discovered that there is a museum and it’s open to  public. (Yay!)

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But, before you get too excited with your museum tour and Google “How to go to Malacañang”, allow me to give you some tips first. I guess the most important is to accomplish first the reservation form at www.malacanang.gov.ph/reservations. You need to fill it up and submit at least 14 days prior to your preferred tour date. You will be dealing with the Presidential Security Group so it is important to follow protocols.  Aside from that, I have here the 10 things to remember when touring the Presidential Museum and Library from their website. Number 10 says they only allow one camera per group. I know, it’s a bummer. In mycase, I needed to be online, therefore, I chose to bring my phone rather than my DSLR.

Actually, I almost got late for my appointment because I did not have any idea how to get there. Even after using Google Maps and reading blogs, I still made a mistake with my route. I bought an LRT ticket to Legarda and took a tricycle to Malacañang. But, the tricycle driver did not know which gate is for the museum. I’d really love to share with you my misadventure on that day but I’ll save it for another post with its contemporaries. So, to save you from getting lost if you’re also commuting, from Legarda LRT station, you just have to walk to the nearest gate;  you’ll pass by San Beda College.

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Museum ticket and guide

The rooms covered in the tour are: Old Governor’s General’s Office, Old Executive Secretary’s Office, Osmena Cabinet Room, Quezon Executive Office, Roxas Cabinet Room, Quirino Council of State Room, Old Vice Presidents’ Office and the Main Hall, the Northeast and Southeast Galleries. Trust me, even if you are not a fan of Philippine history, you would enjoy the tour. The entrance fee for students like me is just 30 pesos. Regular fee is 50 pesos.

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The Main Hall

The Main Hall is where memorabilia from all presidents of the Philippines can be found. There are so many interesting stuff there such as Manuel L. Quezon’s size zero clothes, Erap’s big barong (I mean, among all the presidents, he had the largest size of clothes in my opinion), a flower from Singapore named after PNoy and Emilio Aguinaldo’s portrait.

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You don’t have to visit the Marcos Museum in Ilocos Norte to have a look at President Ferdinand Marcos’ barong.

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This was the exact table used by President Ferdinand Marcos when he declared Martial Law in 1972. It can be found in the Old Governor’s Office which is the first part of the tour. The lights were too bright so all my photos in this room were overly exposed. This was like the ‘dimmest’ of them all. By the way, as much as I wanted to sit on that chair, tourists are not allowed to sit on any chair in the whole museum. So, yeah, it’s going to be a leg day.

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Now, this photo took a lot of courage because there were 20 other tourists in the area staring at me. But, I could not just let the opportunity pass. I needed to have a selfie with President Benigno “PNoy” Aquino III. I wasn’t able to come closer  since there’s a rope that prohibits people from getting too near. The guide said that there were instances before when visitors damaged ‘the president’. That’s why they decided to put some distance.

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A copy of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Oath of Office.  The first time she did it was in EDSA. The last one was in Cebu City.
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Rare portrait painting of Vice President Jejomar Binay in the Vice Presidents’ Office.

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I forgot the name of our tour guide but he really knows a lot about the history of Malacañang. This photo was taken during his explanation on what happened during the first EDSA People Power Revolution. According to him, this was the original plan; if the military will bomb(this was the term he used) Enrile and Ramos’ location near three million people rallying. President Marcos opposed the plan. A tourist asked, “Yan po ba yung original writing pa?” He answered yes. I actually did not believe him since the chalk marks were too fresh. I looked him in the eye when he said it, but he did not falter. He was so sure about it. Just go check and see for yourself.(P.S. I was the tourist.) Also, look at the writings on the right side of the board. President Fidel Ramos and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile brought 2 tanks and 6 trucks with AA guns for defense. It could have been a bloody day.

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This was such a pleasant surprise. I did not expect to see the logbook where Pope John Paul II signed when he visited the Malacanamg Palace in 1987. #Blessed
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Inverted Philippine flag. Of course, I asked them why.

I forgot what the tour guide said about this flag but I’m sure this was not because we were at war. The kids touring with me were having a debate as to why the color blue was not on top of the red one. Then, I heard the kids, “Baliktarin natin.”  And they all laughed about the idea. Yes, I did not hear the tour guide’s explanation  because I was busy eavesdropping. Sorry!

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Balcony where President Marcos made his last public appearance before flying to Hawaii.

The balcony where President Marcos made his last appearance before flying to Hawaii. Notice the floor. If I were President Marcos, I would choose another place to say goodbye. This one looks dangerous!  I wanted to go out and have a photo mimicking the late President but it is restricted to step out.

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The Nereids

The Nereids by Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida is my most favorite art piece in the whole museum. It holds the record of being the most expensive among the collection. There are two interpretations on this painting. First is about temptation. Those fishermen, when they hear the siren’s beautiful voices, jump to the sea and drown. There’s also another interpretation but I’ll save that until you visit the museum yourself.

I’m not an art enthusiast but I enjoyed my tour. The museum is just in Manila and entrance fee is very cheap. Viber your friends now and schedule a visit to the Presidential Museum and Library for a different kind of experience. Trust me, it’s fun.

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