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Malacañang is the official residence of the President of the Philippines. It is located on the north bank of the Pasig River along President Jose P. Laurel Street, which was formerly called Calzada de Malacañan. [1]

Spanish and American colonizers both preferred to call it Malacañan, which means “place of the fisherman” in Spanish. In 1953, however, Former President Ramon Magsaysay changed its name to Malacañang. The original name Malacañan was restored by Former President Corazon Aquino in 1986, along with an order to use the term “Malacañan” to refer to the official residence of the president and “Malacañang” as a shorthand for the office of the president. [1]

Brief History

Malacañan Palace is the second oldest official residence of the head of state in Southeast Asia. It comes after the Royal Palace of Bangkok and predates Tokyo's Imperial Palace. [2]

The first reference to the house is an account at the turn of the 19th century, which mentioned the sale of a summer house owned by Luis Rocha on what was then known as "Calzada de Malacañang". This was in 1802, and it was bought by Colonel José Miguel Formento for 1,000 pesos. [2]

When Formento died in 1825, the property was then sold to the Spanish government for 5,100 pesos. It was bought for the purpose of providing a summer residence for the Governor-General, the highest official of the land; such designation was made official by the Royal Decree of 1847. In 1863, however, an earthquake destroyed the official Royal Palace in Intramuros. The Governor-General had no choice but to turn his summer residence into the new seat of power. [2]

During the American Rule [3]

By the time the Americans took over in 1898, Malacañan Palace was made of wood, with sliding capiz windows, patios and azoteas.

The American Governors General abandoned the plan to reconstruct the old Palacio at Intramuros. Instead, they continued to improve and enlarge the Malacañan Palace. In 1920, the Executive Building was constructed by Governor General Francis Burton Harrison.  Until then, the Governor General had to commute daily to his office at the Ayuntamiento Building.  Gov. Gen. Leonard Wood was the last chief executive to hold office in Intramuros and the first in Malacañan Palace. .


  1. 1.0 1.1 Santos, Elmor. “Things you may not know about the Malacañan Palace.” CNN Philippines, Accessed on January 07, 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Lijauco, Chit. “A Look Inside Malacañang—The Seat Of Power In The Philippines.” Tatler Philippines, Accessed on January 07, 2021.
  3. “Malacañan Palace.” Malacañan Palace – Presidential Museum and Library, Accessed on January 07, 2021.



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