Monday, November 7, 2011

Inside the Malacañan Palace

Whenever I hear or read the word Malacañan, the first thing that pops out of my mind is its image on the back of the P20 bill. That image became one of my goals in life, to enter the Malacañan Palace. I've been always wanting to walk on its halls, touch its Tampingco wood carved muebles, and feel the executive ambiance inside. Well, thanks to Nicely of for making this dream come into reality.

Joined by some of the PTB Bagets, we visited the palace last October 21. It was originally just a fun tour but turned educational field trip after we joined Ivan Man Dy's Old Manila Walks in Malacañang Palace. We were in the right place at the right time.

| Malacañan Palace Museum Tour is an approx 2 hour tour inside the Kalayaan Hall of the Malacañang Palace Complex. It's a tour that needs a request letter (1 week ahead of time) to be addressed to the Malacañan Palace Museum. There's a P50 entrance fee. Ivan Man Dy's Old Manila Walks offers a package tour inside and at the vicinity of the Malacañang Palace. 
Our tour started at 9 in the morning at the Kalayaan Gate near the Freedom Park. While confirming our names at the guest list (no name at the guest list means no entry, the PSG are strict), my eyes sparkled upon seeing Ivan Man Dy's scheduled tour at 9 am also. In no time, we saw the famous Tsinoy tour guide in yellow collared light blue polo-shirt walking towards the Kalayaan Gate (sobrang starstruck mode nanaman ako).  We introduced ourselves to him and he smiled at us, followed by an invitation of joining their tour group (abot langit ang aking tuwa).

Before we entered the museum, we passed by a security inspection. One camera is allowed per tour group (pasaway kami kaya nakalusot ang iba naming camera).

Mr. Ivan Man Dy enlightened us with a very informative intro of how the palace became the executive house. Malacañang Palace is located at 1000 Jose P. Laurel Street (formerly Calle de Malacañan) in San Miguel District of Manila. It got its name from a Tagalog phrase, "may lakan diyan" which mean "there's nobleman/nature spirit residing there".

The Governors-General of the Spanish Colonial Government in the Philippines acquired this summer residence from Colonel Jose Miguel Formente who purchased the palace from a Spanish Aristocrat named Don Luis Rocha. It then became the official residence of the Spanish Govenors-General when the Palacio del Gobernador inside the walled city of Intramuros was destroyed by an earthquake in 1863. From then on, all the Spanish and American governors-general lived and walked on the halls of this palace. All the Philippine Presidents (except Aguinaldo, Tita Cory, FVR and PNoy) also lived inside.

Ivan Man Dy as he tells the historical backgorund of the palace.

Batang Lakwatsero at the marble corridor
the seat where Apong Macoy announced Martial Law.
Each room has a display of every period in Philippine History, from the Spanish Colonial Era, American and Commonwealth Era to the Era of the Second and Third Republics. Of all the rooms, the Roxas Cabinet Room is my favorite because it is where President Marcos made his historic declaration of Martial Law in 1972. The following are photos of the rooms of Kalayaan Hall.

Rooms of Malacañang Palace's Kalayaan Hall

 Old Guest Room. It displays a collection of portraits and furniture of the Spanish Governors-General who resided in Malacañan. Antique wood carved muebles and reliefs on the walls are all of Tampingco's work. Photo by Elal.
Old Executive Secretary's Office. Its gallery contains a collection of items from the era of Philippine Revolution as well as the First Philippine Republic. Photo by Elal.
Old Governor-General's Office. This room served as the office of the American Governors-General from Leonard Wood to Frank Murphy'. Its gallery focuses on the American Colonial Period of the Philippine history. Photo by Elal.  
Old Cabinet Room or Osmeña Room. This room served as the office of the Cabinet under the early Commonwealth Era (1920-1939) before it became the office of the then Vice President Sergio Osmeña during the term of President Quezon. Photo by Elal
Quezon Executive Office. Built during the term of President Quezon, this was one of the first offices in the Philippines to be airconditioned. It served as the office of six Philippine presidents starting from Quezon up to Magsaysay. Presidents starting from Garcia up to Aquino used different room as their executive office. Photo by Elal. 
Quirino Council State Room. Used as a room for the meetings of the Council of State (abolished during the term of Pres. Marcos). Two president took oath on this room, Pres. Quirino after the sudden death of President Roxas, and Pres. Garcia after the tragic death of Pres. Magsaysay. Photo by Elal.
Roxas Cabinet Room. This room was actively used by Pres. Roxas for meeting his cabinet. It then became a television studio control room during Pres. Marcos' term, it is where the famous declaration of Martial Law took place. Photo by Elal.
The Main Hall or the Presidents Hall. Formerly the Maharlika Hall, used by President Marcos' State Dinner and Citizens' Assemblies. On the front west balcony of this hall, President Marcos took his last oath and delivered his farewell speech in 1986. This hall now contains the gallery of the Presidents of the Philippines. Photo by Elal.

A Tour with Ivan Man Dy

Ivan Man Dy is one of the two great Manila Tour Guides (the other one is Carlos Celdran) that I look up to. Being a proud Manileño myself, their passion of promoting the historical city of Manila inspires me so much. Maybe it is not too late for me to follow their footsteps and become another Manila Tour guide (seriouly, sometimes I can see my self guiding a group of tourist inside the walled city and along the streets of downtown Binondo).

My experience with Ivan Man Dy was as memorable as what I experienced with Carlos Celdran. Both are accidental and inspirational. They truly rock the history lover in me.

Ivan Man Dy of Old Manila Walks
the Bagets with the awesome tour guide



  1. sana umupo ka sa seat ng presidente, If I were you gagayahin ko pa yung "I...AM...SORRY" ni PGMA...hahaha at maglalagay pako ng tuldok sa mukha...

  2. Great post, Ivan! I'm glad you enjoyed the tour :))

  3. i hope to visit the museum someday! :)

  4. I would have to try yet the tours conducted by Carlos and Ivan Man. (mabuti pa yung batang lakwatsero, nakapasok na ng Malacanang) :)

  5. Weeeee. very nice visit and first meet up with some bagets. enjoyed this tour. :)

  6. natutuwa ako sayo bata (haha, talagang bata eh noh!)... at ang cute ng PTB bagets! enjoy lang hijo... :)

  7. Buti ka pa Ivan waaah siguro nakakalula yung Presidents Hall noh? Gusto ko rin pumunta dyan :D

  8. thanks for bringing us along with your pictures

  9. hi.does ut go oitside too?what are the dates and rates for jan 2017?tx



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