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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 Manilamarker. 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 "Malacañang" can be used as a metonym for the Philippine President's administration or the Executive branch as a whole. Malacañang 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 Malacañang Palace itself. Bonifacio Hall, formerly the Premier Guest House, was used as the main office of Corazon C. Aquino, the first female president of the Phillipines 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 the current Administration Building. A New Executive Building was also built by President Aquino. Additionally there are other, smaller buildings. Across the river is Malacañang Park, which contains a golf course, park, billets for the presidential guard, as well as a Commonwealth-era presidential resthouse (Bahay Pangarap) and recreation hall.

The state and historical rooms of the Palace aren't 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.


The official etymology from the 1930s says that the name comes from a Tagalog phrase "may lakan diyan", which means "there is a nobleman there", as it was the home of a wealthy Spanish merchant before it hosted the nation's chief executive. The Spanish themselves, on the other hand, said the name came from "Mamalakaya," or the fishermen who once laid out their catch in the bend of the river where the Palace now stands. A more mundane claim is that the Palace actually got its name from the street where it was located, the Calzada de Malacañang.

Whatever its origin, the word Malacañang is indisputably Tagalog. Because the Spanish language avoids using "-ng" as the final sound of a word, the Spanish colonialists hispanized Malacañang to Malacañán. The Spanish version of the name was maintained during the Americanmarker occupation of the Philippines from 1898 until 1946, despite the fact that "-ng" as a final sound is very familiar in the English language. "Malacañan" remains to this day an acceptable English version name of the Palace. However, during the 1950s presidency of Ramon Magsaysay, the Philippine government restored the dropped "g" to Malacañang in honor of its historical roots.


The Spanish Captains-General (before the independence of New Spain, from which the Philippines was directly governed) and then the Governors-General of the Philippines originally resided in the walled city of Intramurosmarker, Manila, until an earthquake leveled the Palacio del Gobernador (Governor's Palace) in 1869. At this point, Malacañang Palace, a summer home originally built in 1802 by Spanish aristocrat Don Luis Rocha, then subsequently purchased by an official and then purchased by the state, became the temporary residence of the Governors-General. Governor General Rafael de Echague y Berminghan, previously governor of Puerto Rico, was therefore the first Spanish governor to occupy Malacañang Palace.

When the Philippines came under American rule following the Spanish-American War, Malacañang Palace became the residence of the American Governor-General. In 1900, William Howard Taft became the first American Civil Governor resident. The palace was expanded, and an Executive building added by Governors-General Francis Burton Harrison and Dwight Davis. The complex reverted to the President of the Philippines upon the establishment of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, on November 15, 1935. President Manuel L. Quezon became the first Filipino resident of Malacañang Palace. It has been the official residence of the President of the Philippines since. After his inauguration on December 30, 1953, President Ramon Magsaysay issued an Executive Order formally changing the name from "Malacañang Palace" to "Malacañang: Residence of the President of the Philippines." The new nomenclature rapidly caught on and was maintained until informally abandoned during the Marcos administration. During the administration of President Corazon Aquino, for historical reasons, government policy has been to make the distinction between "Malacañan Palace", official residence of the president, and "Malacañang", office of the president.

The palace was made famous as the home of President Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, who were its longest residents, from 1965 to 1986. As first lady, Mrs. Marcos oversaw the reconstruction of the palace to her own extravagant tastes. Including the former San Miguel Brewery Buildings, which was demolished upon Expansion, paving away to a park near the San Miguel Church. Following a student uprising that nearly breached the palace gates in the early 1970s, martial law was declared, and the complex was closed to the public. When President Marcos was deposed in 1986, the palace complex was stormed by the local populace, and the international media subsequently exposed the excesses of the Marcos family, including Mrs. Marcos' infamous collection of thousands of shoes.

The Presidential Study

Malacañang Palace in 1898.
It is the official office of the President, equivalent to the United States' Oval Office of the White Housemarker. It is on the second floor of the Palace itself, while the old Executive Office in Kalayaan Hall has been renamed the Quezon Room. The desk is the presidential desk in use since the Commonwealth of the Philippines, when the official desk of the American governor-generals was brought to the United States; it was used by all presidents from Quezon to Marcos (officially until 1978, then in his private study), restored by President Ramos, used by President Joseph Estrada, and restored once more by President Arroyo.

See also


  1. Office of the President website
  2. Quezon, Manuel III L. (2005) Malacañang Palace: The Official Illustrated History Studio 5 Publishing, Manila, ISBN 9719135395"

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