Because of the memories tied to them, these dwellings have transformed into famous tourist attractions in their own right.
To most people, home is not just a property with four walls and a roof; it’s where memories are made by and among the people, whether family or friends, who live in it. But once the events that inspire these memories create as much of an impact on the rest of the country (even the world) as they have to the people occupying the dwelling, that’s when a home ceases to be a simple abode and becomes one that’s truly for the books. Here are a few residences that are considered to be landmarks due to their cultural and historical significance.
Malacañang ti Amianan (1970s)
Address: Paoay, Ilocos Norte
Reportedly given as a gift by former first lady Imelda Marcos to the late former president Ferdinand Marcos on the occasion of his 60th birthday, Malacañang ti Amianan, or Malacañang of the North, is one of the two Marcos properties that was sequestered by the Philippine government when the dictator was ousted from power in 1986.
Malacañang ti Amianan. Photo by Irvin Paco Sto. Tomas via Wikimedia Commons
Now under the care of the provincial government of Ilocos Norte, Malacañang ti Amianan underwent a series of restorations and renovations and is now a museum. Situated on a high point on a peninsula jutting into Paoay Lake, the house and the items on display here serve as a tribute to Ilocos Norte’s favorite son, but for others, they are evidence of the life of excess that the Marcos family enjoyed during Martial Law.
The Mansion (1908)
Address: Leonard Wood Road, Baguio City
Built in 1908 to serve as the official summer residence of U.S. governor-generals, the Mansion was named after a New England cottage owned by William Cameron Forbes, the fifth American civil governor-general to the Philippines, who also commissioned the construction of this Baguio property. The meeting of the Second Philippine Legislature was held here for three weeks in 1910.
The Mansion. Photo by Nissip via Wikimedia Commons
Consisting of a Spanish Colonial Revival–style main building and a guest house, the Mansion was turned over to the Philippine president after the inauguration of the Philippine Commonwealth. Rebuilt in 1947 after sustaining significant damage during World War II, the property continues to serve as the holiday home and working office of an incumbent Philippine president during his or her visits to Baguio City.
Bell House (1911–1914)
Address: Camp John Hay, Baguio City
The Bell House is named in honor of General J. Franklin Bell, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army who served in the Philippines during the Spanish–American War as a colonel of volunteers. Bell is credited as a significant contributor to Camp John Hay’s development into a military R&R facility, and the house he designed served as the official accommodation of American officials during their visits to Baguio City.
Bell House. Photo by Rhonaramos via Wikimedia Commons
Featuring the typical Western design popular during the early 1900s, the Bell House is now part of Camp John Hay’s Historical Core. It has a museum and a library, and is surrounded by a Japanese-style garden, the nearby Bell Amphitheater, and the Cemetery of Negativism.
Laperal White House (1920)
Address: Leonard Wood Road, Baguio
Also known as the Laperal Guesthouse, this property was built in 1920 by one of Baguio’s most prominent clans, the Laperal family. It is reputedly one of the city’s most haunted places. The property, which sits on a four-hectare estate, was turned into a military garrison during the Japanese occupation and allegedly served as the site of a number of brutal killings. The victims of those events are said to have haunted the place ever since. Today, Laperal White House is reportedly owned by tobacco tycoon Lucio Tan, who purchased the property in 2007 and had it renovated and refurbished.
Laperal White House. Photo via Shutterstock
Quezon Heritage House (1920s)
Former address: Gilmore St., New Manila (1927–2013)
Current address: Quezon Memorial Circle
Featuring neoclassical architecture, what is now known as the Quezon Heritage House was the actual home of President Manuel L. Quezon Sr. and his family in 1927 when the property was offered to them after the then-chief executive contracted tuberculosis. However, the home was mostly used as a vacation home by the Quezons’ up until the family was forced to flee the Philippines at the start of World War II. The family returned to the property a year after President Quezon’s passing in 1944.
Quezon City Heritage House. Photo by Judgefloro via Wikimedia Commons
In 2013, the home was disassembled and subsequently transferred, reassembled, and restored in Quezon Memorial Circle as a historic house museum. It was designated as a Local Heritage Site of Quezon City by the city government in 2015.
Quezon City Reception House (2013)
Address: 11th Street, New Manila, Quezon City
Made to serve as the office of the Quezon City mayor but now available for use as the official residence and office of the Vice President, the 11th Street address continues to exist in infamy as the address of the “Boracay Mansion.” It is a controversial property linked to ousted president and convicted plunderer Joseph Estrada. It is said to have been built for Laarni Enriquez, a former actress and one of Estrada’s partners, and was believed to have been purchased with funds from the infamous Jose Velarde account, which was associated with the latter.
Quezon City Reception House. Photo by Alexis Corpus via Inquirer Archives
Initially valued at Php86.7 million, the 7,145 sqm property’s original amenities were an air-conditioned gazebo, white sand flown in from Boracay, and a heated swimming pool that produced artificial waves. The latter two is what earned the property its nickname. The pool and sand are now gone, and the Reception House is what has been built over what was left of the original Boracay Mansion. The only remnant of the original mansion is the grand staircase, which was incorporated into the new structure.
Malacañang Palace (1750)
Address: Jose P. Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila
The official residence of the president of the Philippines, Malacañang Palace (also officially called Malacañan Palace) was built as a summer house for a certain Don Luís Rocha in 1750. It was later purchased by the state, expanded, and renovated. Since then, the most extensive renovations happened during former president Ferdinand Marcos’s term in the 1970s. It has been occupied by 18 Spanish governors-general, 14 American military and civil governors, and 14 Philippine presidents since 1863.
Interior of Malacañang Palace. Photo via Shutterstock
Today’s Malacañang Palace is a heavily guarded gated complex comprising, among many structures, 10 main halls, the New Executive Building, the Malacañang Park and Bahay Pangarap in Pandacan across the Pasig River, Laperal Mansion, Legarda Mansion, and San Miguel Church.
Rizal Shrine (Year unknown)
Address: Francisco Mercado corner Jose P. Rizal Streets, Poblacion, Calamba City
Today’s Rizal Shrine is actually a reproduction of the original two-story colonial-style house where national hero Jose Rizal was born in 1861. The original house, which took two years to build, was confiscated by the Spanish authorities in 1891. It was then reoccupied by Rizal’s brother, Paciano, during the Philippine Revolution, who then lost it to the friars. It was then sold, destroyed in World War II, and partially demolished. What remained of the house was eventually bought by the Philippine government, and in 1949, former president Elpidio Quirino signed an executive order facilitating its reconstruction. The reconstructed home was inaugurated in 1950 and now serves as a museum and repository of the national hero’s memorabilia.
Rizal Shrine. Photo via Shutterstock
Aguinaldo Shrine (1845)
Address: Tirona Highway, Kawit, Cavite
The ancestral home of General Emilio Aguinaldo, the Philippines’ first president, the Aguinaldo Shrine holds the distinction for being the place where Philippine independence from Spain was declared and the national flag was first raised by the top government officials of the new Philippine republic. The property was declared a National Shrine by former president Diosdado Macapagal in 1964, and now functions as a museum maintained by the National Historical Institute of the Philippines.
Aguinaldo Shrine. Photo via Shutterstock
Main image via Shutterstock