Malacanang of the North

Malacanang of the North

This imposing two-storey structure was built as the official residence of the President Marcos in Ilocos Norte. It overlooks the legendary Paoay Lake and was designed to resemble a 19th Century “bahay na bato.” It is complete with bedrooms, dining area, kitchen, an office, a spacious ballroom on the second floor, and even had an olympic size swimming pool. During the term of Fidel Ramos, he has also used this former official residence in Ilocos Norte and so did President Gloria M. Arroyo whenever she travels to the north.

The main and official residence of the president of the Philippines is actually the Malacanang Palace. It is located along the north bank of the Pasig River in Manila. The name “Malacanang” comes from a Tagalog phrase “May lakan diyan,” which means there is a nobleman there. This palace was once the home of a wealthy Spanish merchant before it hosted the nation’s chief executive.

When Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo became the president, she opened the Malacanang of the South in August 19, 2004. It is a refurbished old building of the Bureau of Customs in Cebu City and was established to bring the national government closer to the people in the Visayas and Mindanao. In Tacloban City, Leyte, former First Lady Imelda R. Marcos had her “Sto. Nino Shrine” which also doubled as the Malacanang of the South.

Malacanang Palace of the North has since been converted into a museum and it is open to visitors. It is sad to note that the structure has not been well maintained and is now badly dilapidated. Even the swimming pool beside it is no longer used and appears to have been converted into a small fish pond. There is a mininal fee collected for those who want to see the place.

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