Many years ago, my classmates and I were given the opportunity to visit the Malacanang Palace, the official residence and office of the President of the Philippines, for a field trip. During our field trip, I was in awe with the exhibits on display and I left with a sense of amazement at the grandeur of the palace. Flash forward to the present, I was once again given the opportunity to revisit Malacanang, this time for work. Even though my visit was no longer a student but that of a teacher, the feeling of amazement and this time appreciation still lingered.
Our tour began at one of the old receiving rooms of the Kalayaan Hall inside the Palace compound. Our tour guide was an eloquent, well-mannered and very much informed and enthusiastic officer of the palace (I tip my hat off to you). He toured us around the different offices of the building. As I walked around the palace, the sense of history looms large and it emanates from every room, hallway and corridor. Just like many places that are rich in history, Malacanang is practically oozing with it. From the high's and lows of our country's struggles and triumphs every room has a story to tell.
Though many would expect that the tour would begin with the first president of the country, that is not the case for this museum. There is no specific order or timeline, we just simply went inside thematically designed rooms, the most significant was the hallway of all the diplomatic gifts our presidents have received from various visits and dignitaries from around the world. Inside this hall, buttons, pins, vases, books and all manner of paraphernalia adorned the shells and cases.
Progressing through the different parts of the museum, our guide never fails to mention flash points in our country's history. The significance of the palace and its role in shaping these moments are definitely not lost to any visitor. With meticulous explanation, one can get a basic grasp of our country's political history. Revolutions are recounted through the use of mementos left by our first president (Aguinaldo), our triumphs and challenges with photographs and recordings before, during and after our independence; and our fight for democracy through letters.
A visit to the Malacanang Presidential Museum is an interesting trip that everyone ought to at least take if they're in the metro. Apart from the different museums here in Manila, the Malacanang museum offers a condensed topic for the casual museum-goer. The numerous artifacts on display will surely catch your attention, each one gladly telling you a story. And, like I said earlier on, the history that emanates from the hallways of the museum is overwhelming. The mere thought of important people passing through these halls with the purpose of shaping our country's course would no doubt give you a sense of appreciation of what our government does.
My name is Alfonso your nerdy history teacher, bookworm and lover of all things cultural and exciting. You can find me in a weekend market, in a bookshop, or eating in Japanese restos during the weekends.