Tag Archives: Malacanang Palace

#249 Malacanang Palace

Malacañang Palace, or officially, Malacañan Palace is the official residence of the President of the Philippines. The palace is located along the north bank of the Pasig River in Manila. It is called Palasyo ng Malakanyang in Filipino, and Malacañan Palace when referred to as the official residence of the President of the Philippines.

In popular media and everyday parlance, it is simply referred to as Malacañang, and this shorter name is also used when referring to its role as the office of the president. The term “Malacañan” can be used as a metonym for the Philippine President’s administration or the Executive branch as a whole. Malacañan Palace is depicted on the verso (back) side of the present-day 20-peso bill.

Today the complex consists of several buildings in addition to Malacañan Palace itself. Bonifacio Hall, formerly the Premier Guest House, which built on 1975, was used as the main office of Corazon C. Aquino, the first female president of the Philippines and leader of the People Power Revolution that ousted the previous president Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1986. Later, President Joseph Ejercito Estrada adopted it as his residence. Kalayaan Hall is the former executive building built under the American administration. Mabini Hall is the current Administration Building.

A New Executive Building was also built by President Corazon Aquino in 1989. Additionally there are other, smaller buildings. Across the river is Malacañan Park, which contains a golf course, recreation hall, park, billets for the presidential guard, as well as a Commonwealth-era presidential resthouse (Bahay Pangarap), which serve as current residence of President Benigno Aquino III.

The state and historical rooms of the Palace are not often seen by the public. The Palace is closed and heavily guarded during times of political unrest, although prior to the Marcos administration, access was far more restricted than in the modern era. This lack of access by the public was particularly notable during the Ramon Magsaysay administration in the 1950s. Rallyists often congregate along Mendiola Street nearby to air their protests against the government. (Source: Wikipedia)

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#172 Pasig River

The Pasig River may never win an environmental award but for historical and cultural value, the Pasig River, which cuts across Manila and ends in Manila Bay, is one of the famous and iconic rivers in the Philippines.

Once an idyllic river in 19th century Manila, the Pasig River has inspired countless romantic ballads, folklore and is a witness to countless battles and key epochs in the Philippines’s turbulent history. It is also an inspiration for writers and the Philippine national hero Jose Rizal has used the river as a setting or backdrop in many of  his novels and literary writings.

Photos from the late 19th century and the pre-war years show picturesque views of the river. Lamentably, today’s Pasig River symbolised the hard times that Manila (and the Philippines) has fallen into. Severely polluted by both urban and industrial waste, the Pasig River has become a veritable sewage canal that is bloated with the refuse of congested Manila. The historical Spanish fort in Manila, the Fort Santiago, stands along Pasig River and views of the Pasig River and Manila Bay from the fort can offer the casual visitor a wonderful sunset view (ignore the smell).

Historically, the Malacanang or Presidential Palace is bordered by the Pasig River and the river occupied a key role in the ouster of former President Joseph Estrada who was reported to have eluded an arrest order by crossing the river in a boat (fat luck, he didn’t drop into one of Pasig’s festering whirpools!).

Despite volumes of environmental reports, stacks of books and countless attempts to save the river, the Pasig has remained the tragedy that it is- a liquid scar in the face of Manila.

Long live the efforts to save the Pasig River!

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#74 Mendiola Bridge

Barbwires set up near Mendiola Bridge

Mendiola Bridge (renamed to Don Chino Roces Bridge) is a relatively plain or simple bridge but has gained historical significance as it has been a choice venue of left-leaning protest rallies and activists particularly during the Marcos regime.

 The bridge is on Mendiola Street which starts from the intersection of Legarda and Claro M. Recto Avenues and ends outside the Malacañang Palace, the official residence of the Philippine president. Several colleges and universities are located near Mendiola and student protesters often choose the site to air their grievances against the government or the incumbent president.

The bridge was renamed after Don Chino Roces, one of most vocal political figures and writers who opposed Marcos and fiercely advocated free speech. Mendiola Bridge is an ideal rally site since it is within viewing distance of Gate 3 of the Malacañang Palace.

Mendiola Street and the bridge have been the site of violent confrontations between protesters and government troops such as the incident on January 30, 1970 dubbed “The Battle of Mendiola Bridge” which resulted in the deaths of four student demonstrators.

In January 22, 1987, a combined military and police troops opened fire on a protest rally of about 10,000 peasant farmers who were demanding genuine land reform from then President Corazon Aquino. Thirteen protesters were killed and hundreds injured in the infamous incident called the ‘Mendiola Massacre,’ which severely dented Aquino’s popularity and the credibility of her administration.

Mabuhay ang Mendiola Bridge!

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