Metro Manila Travel

At the Presidential Museum and Library (Malacañang Museum)

By on July 11, 2013

two museums - front page

A few weeks back, my best buddy and I found ourselves at the Presidential Museum and Library at the Kalayaan Hall within the historically hallowed grounds of the Malacañang Complex. Unlike most museums in the metropolis, this perhaps has the most security considerations. I remember that we had to formally request a reservation at least seven working days prior to our desired tour date.

I understand all these security measures too since the Malacañan Palace, the official seat and residence of the President of the Philippines, is also within the complex grounds. I told our tour guide that morning that I almost was not able to take their confirmation call last time, because there was no number that flashed on my mobile phone screen. Thankfully I mistook it for an overseas call and not some high-tech prank.

two museums - quezon room

The Quezon Room is said to be the first air-conditioned room in the Philippines.

This museum houses historically important and architecturally significant rooms in the Philippines. These served as conference rooms or an executive study back in the day. The hardwood furniture, the intricate wood carvings and the original floor tiles are all still there, although some of the rooms have been converted into galleries with interesting themes. There was one which showed the various, albeit contentious, Presidential Proclamations while another showcased the portraits of the First Ladies through the years.

At the second floor you can be both lost and mesmerized in the Gallery of Presidents. It is composed of interesting memorabilia such as clothing, gifts and personal effects of the 15 Filipinos who have held the highest position of the land – from Emilio Aguinaldo up to President Benigno S. Aquino III. You can somehow imagine the kind of person each of them was, by the things that they left behind.

two museums - hall of presidents

At the Gallery of Presidents

two museums - EDSA board

This is the very blackboard used by General Fabian Ver to show Ferdinand Marcos the location of the rebels during the People Power Revolution of 1986.

Admittedly, I was looking forward to see Joaquin Sorolla’s ‘Las Neriedas‘ (The Nereids) at the spacious Main Hall and Library, where the Gallery of Presidents is located. This 1886 painting was donated to the Palace by an American philanthropist during the term of President Elpidio Quirino. According to, ‘the value of this painting can cover the restoration of the entire Palace, should Malacañang were to be destroyed.’

two museums - painting

It is said that “if Malacañan Palace would be placed under red alert, this painting would be the first item to be secured and carried out.”

“Is the President around today?” I asked our guide while we were nearing the end of tour. There was a palpable few seconds before he finally told us that he actually didn’t know. Looking back now, I could only smile at what those few seconds meant. It could probably mean that they were not allowed to disclose the President’s whereabouts or that they were not actually privy to where he was at any hour of the day.

two museums - 4I knew that the museum tour would only cover the Kalayaan Hall but I asked him nonetheless if we could take a quick view of the Malacañan Palace. I added that I’ve always wanted to see the Rizal Ceremonial Hall and Juan Luna’s Blood Compact in person. He could only apologetically smile and then turned down our request.

For ordinary Joes like myself, the only real possibility of setting foot inside the Palace is to be among the TOSP (Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines) finalists in college. Had I realized that, I would have studied impossibly harder back then. But there are other options too. I could do something heroic for the country and then be duly recognized by the President. Well, I could run for President someday and by then I could freely explore every nook and cranny there is at Malacañan.

But for the time being, I have no grand illusions of doing the latter. I am already content with the Malacañang museum tour even if it only covered a tiny portion of the 16 hectare Palace complex. It gives the public, myself included, an opportunity to visit the headquarters of the executive department of the government. It chronicles not just the history of its famous occupants through the years, but also that of the Philippines as a whole.


Tours and Visitor Relations Unit
Tel: (+63-2) 784 4286 loc. 4945/4649

The Presidential Museum and Library is open on weekdays only (except on public holidays), from 9 AM to 12 noon and from 1 pm to 3 pm. Regular fee is just Php 50.00. You have to submit a reservation form at least seven (7) working days before your preferred tour date.

  1. Reply


    July 12, 2013

    Wow 7 weeks in advance… Maayo pa ka, naka adto na ka 🙂

    • Reply


      July 12, 2013

      7 days lang oi. 🙂 Put it in your itinerary next time you'll be around MNL. Nice sya adtoan at least once in your life.

  2. Reply

    Bee Chavez

    July 12, 2013

    Nice and you get to visit Malacañang museum, Bren.
    I've been wanting to visit diha.
    More often, d madaun ky tuyoonon. ^_^

    • Reply


      July 12, 2013

      Yup, I must agree. Pero we went there via Legarda LRT station, then short walk ra to the complex.

      Even at Php 50 fee, it is one of the 'least visited' museums in MNL in my opinion. Probably kay dili pwede mag onsite registration. Dapat magpareserve pa in advance.

  3. Reply


    July 16, 2013

    …or be an invitee to an awarding (TOSP, TOYM, TAYO, etc.) in malacañan palace. someone had 10 invitation cards once and only 3 out of 10 cards were used.

    also an option: become a PSG? 😀

    • Reply


      July 19, 2013

      PSG!!! 🙂 I want to be a cupbearer too!


Brennan Mercado
The Philippines

Brennan is an electronics engineer by profession. From time to time, he gets to travel beyond his office cubicle, try new restaurants or catch up with his terribly long list of unread books. He likes museums, spicy food and talking with habal-habal drivers. For now, he's still deciding on whether to play Pokémon GO or not.

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