Love it or hate it, the Coconut Palace, also known as Tahanang Pilipino (Filipino Home), is one of the many controversial building projects by the former First Lady Imelda Marcos.
The Coconut Palace, located at the Cultural Center Complex along Roxas Boulevard in Manila, was supposedly built for Pope John Paul II’s visit in 1981. However, the pope declined the offer, saying that it was too ostentatious a place to stay. The Palace’s architect Francisco Mañosa, later claimed that the Coconut Palace – a showpiece on the versatility of the coconut and its viability as an export – was planned long before the Pope even decided to visit the country.
Built in 1978, the Coconut Palace is made of several types of fine Philippine hardwood, coconut shells, and a specially engineered coconut lumber called ‘Imelda Madera.’ Each of the suites on the second floor is named after a specific region of the Philippines and displays some of the handicrafts these regions produce. The palace is shaped like an octagon while the roof is in the form of a traditional Filipino salakot or farmer’s hat. Some of its highlights are the 101 coconut shell chandelier, and the dining table made of 40,000 tiny pieces of inlaid coconut shells.
The palace celebrates the coconut as the ultimate “Tree of Life.” From the coconut’s roots to its trunk, bark, fruit, flower and shell, the palace’s design, form and ornamentation echo these elements. Today the Coconut Palace is a museum, with a butterfly garden and an orchidarium. The building is undergoing major renovations and news reports say that it maybe used as the office and official residence of the Vice President of the Philippines. (Source: Wikipedia)