Sunday, September 10, 2006


The notoriously corrupt young congressman from the north that she married was such a force of stress that it took her about a year to convalesce in a New York mental hospital after suffering a nervous breakdown. But the time spent in recuperation also instilled a formidable desire to help her husband become the next president of the Philippines upon her return. Thus, began Imelda’s ultimate rise to power.

The Coconut Palace was another addition within the Cultural Center complex commissioned by Imelda Marcos. This time, it was architect Francisco Manora, not Leandro Locsin. It was built for $10 million dollars in preparation for Pope John Paul’s 1981 visit; however, much to her disappointment, the pontiff opted to stay instead at the Papal Nunciature at Taft Avenue during his stay in Manila.

The Coconut Palace which faces the Manila Bay was created by using coconut shells in combination with several Philippine hardwoods, including a specially-engineered hybrid of coconut and hardwood aptly named Imelda Madera. Nonetheless, it is the coconut’s versatility that was showcased as the palace’s essential element — from the coconut's roots, trunk, bark, fruit, flower and shell, as well as the palace's overall design, form, and collection of objet d'art.

The structure itself is octagon-shaped while its roof resembled that of a traditional Filipino bamboo hat — the salakot. The seven lavish suites on the second floor were named after certain Philippine regions and each suite was decorated by the region’s respective indigenous handicrafts.

During Imelda’s reign, the palace housed most of her foreign guests — Brooke Shields, Richard Van Clyburn, George Hamilton, Adnan Kashoggi, Moammar Kadafi, and many others.

It is now a museum with well-manicured grounds, butterfly garden, and orchidarium. It can also be rented for special banquets for about $500 dollars a day; however, it is fully booked months in advance. It is open for walk-in visits from Tuesday to Sunday, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm with an entrance fee of $2 dollars per person. Telephone number is 832-0223.

Visiting the Coconut Palace was part of Carlos Celdran’s Living La Vida Imelda! — an architectural walking tour of the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex as seen through the life and aspirations of Imelda Marcos.

It’s a tour about the Philippines during the rise and fall of the Marcoses — the 1970s, Martial Law and the endeavor to create a New Society — the time of my youth in which I was absent from the country. It was an era of hope and madness. Carlos brought them back for us to get a glimpse of. Indeed, another enjoyable learning experience.

Bravo, Carlos!

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posted by Señor Enrique at 6:12 PM


Blogger ipanema said...

It's well kept, never been here. Beautiful photos!

September 10, 2006 7:20 PM  

Anonymous jhay said...

Indeed, beautiful shots. How I envy you for owning your own camera.

Anyways, I'm back to blogging and posted the extended book meme. lolz

I also bought 4 new books today, to make up for missing the Manila Bookfair. hehehe

September 10, 2006 10:54 PM  

Blogger Senorito<- Ako said...

One thing that never entered my mine was to tour manila... after all I'm am Mr. Manileno. Your blog made me realize how little I know of our history.

The gem-of-a-place obfuscated by manila's crazy pace. I should take those walking tours when I get a chance to
'pasyal(not uwi,this is home)' manila.

September 11, 2006 5:28 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I plan to go back, Ipanema, and take more pictures -- butterfly sanctuary and orchidarium.

BTW, this palace has no air-conditioning, though quite comfortable inside. Its wrap-around window design was patterned after the nipa hut.

September 11, 2006 6:47 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Can't wait to check your new titles, Jhay.

And you extended the book meme again? Too much! hehehe!

Don't worry, you will get your digicam soon enough :)

September 11, 2006 6:48 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I must admit, S.A., had I not gone into blogging, I never would have discovered Carlos' and Ivan's tours. Very educational and enjoyable, indeed!

BTW, there's a recent observation of Manila I've made and I would like to get your insight since you are a born and raised Manileno. I'm thinking of emailing it to you -- the email and your response will then become a blog entry for others to read, and perhaps, comment on. What do you think?

September 11, 2006 6:57 AM  

Blogger Iskoo said...

i have attended a wedding ceremony held in coconut palace, it was held in summer so we have seen a beautiful sunset during the ceremony. you are right the place is always fully booked, if one desire to hold their wedding here they should arrange everthing way ahead of the chosen date.

September 11, 2006 10:40 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I would love to experience attending a grand affair in this setting, Iskoo.

Actually, while we were there, they were setting it up for a grand party for that evening. It was so beautifully put together.

September 11, 2006 11:10 AM  

Anonymous niceheart said...

I've never been to this place and I don't know why I've never even heard about this when I was still there. I've seen Coconut Palace on an episode of The Amazing Race. That season was my favourite especially the parts filmed there in the Philippines. :)

September 11, 2006 11:23 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

And all along whenever I used to pass by it, Niceheart, thought it was some grandiose venue glorifying the coconut industry ... hehehe.

Didn't know it was an incredible residence.

September 11, 2006 1:40 PM  

Anonymous kyels said...

Cococut Palaca; a place that I've definitely gotta visit.

I've read about the time when Philippines was under the regime of the Marcoses. Gave me insights whenever I read about the politics of other countries.

Beautiful photos again, Eric, love the interior of the palace. It's just amazing.


September 11, 2006 2:33 PM  

Blogger ipanema said...

That would be lovely Eric, please take more photos of the butterflies. By the way, my children say you have beautiful photos. Sometimes they read with me. :)

I think with the wide windows and sliding doors, there's no need for airconditioner.

I used to pass by it and it looks so dim. However, with these photos, it's beautiful inside.

Like S.A., I'm another fan of your blog. No one can take us around Metro Manila like you do Eric. You do all the 'works' and we enjoy reading. :) As I've mentioned in one of my comments in my blog, one can't really share what one doesn't have.

Thanks for sharing all these.

September 11, 2006 2:47 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thanks, Kyels!

You must take Carlos' tour of the Cultural Center complex which includes the Coconut Palace. You will know some juicy stuff about the Philippines' version of the Kennedys :)

September 11, 2006 3:03 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Oh, thank you, Ipanema. Actually, I must give credit to all of you also for inspiring me to go out there and dig up some light-hearted and fun features about the Manila we all love :)

The palace does look dark and gloomy from the outside. But the inside, Ipanema, is amazing, especially at the back where you have an unobstucted view of Manila Bay!

September 11, 2006 3:07 PM  

Anonymous kyels said...

Ah, all righty. I shall keep that in mind too Eric.

But how do I find Carlos? Just wondering.


September 11, 2006 5:20 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Here's the URL to his site, Kyels:

September 11, 2006 5:25 PM  

Blogger Sidney said...

I am a bit puzzled to see that many people don't know their own city.
Carlos, Ivan, you and some others out there in bloggosphere are doing a great job to make people want to discover & walk in Manila.
The Departement of Tourism should hire you !

September 13, 2006 12:59 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

And I'm barely scratching the surface, Sidney. I'm sure there are more historical places out there, plus the provinces. But it's great to share things with fellow bloggers as I discover them :)

September 13, 2006 1:34 PM  

Blogger jessamine said...

i've been here once in 2005. it is indeed beautiful and shows how Imelda wanted to please the pontiff and other foreign guests how she lived that time.truly proud that it is owned by the government now and was able to see the amazing sunset just across the swimming pool carmat

December 05, 2010 12:22 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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