Friday, January 25, 2008


Carlos Celdran has sadly broken the news last week that the Coconut Palace in the CCP Complex has been closed for now.

e said, "My Living La Vida Imelda Tour was unceremoniously re-directed because the Coconut Palace has suddenly switched hands from the Department of Tourism to its 'rightful owner', the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS)."

However, the 15-day shut down of the Coconut Palace -- supposedly, for inventory purposes -- came without any specific date for its reopening. And according to some of Carlos' sources, "there is talk of it becoming a casino."

Outrageous, I think!

And Carlos is absolutely right, -- the Coconut Palace is one of our world class tourist attractions. Hopefully, its new administrators will seriously consider keeping it as such and not turn it into another casino.

Now I feel fortunate to have joined the Living La Vida Imelda Tour a year or so ago that included Coconut Palace. It was a wonderful and enlightening experience which I blogged about, A Peek Into Her Madness.


posted by Señor Enrique at 7:35 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yikes! I haven't been there since grade school. If they turn that place into a casino it might loose its cultural appeal.

January 25, 2008 8:07 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ay, sayang. I've always wanted to see the interior of the coco palace. Now I will just have to admire it from the outside. You're indeed lucky, Eric for having joined that tour.

I remember actors Cesar Montano and Sunshine Cruz had their wedding reception here. Really grand and picturesque. :)

January 25, 2008 8:09 AM  

Blogger nutart said...

I also had the chance to attend a wedding reception in the Coconut Palace. Imelda Marcos for all her Marie Antoinette extravagance may (for me) have been instrumental for Philippine Renaissance. A lot of artists were given opportunities to excel. The Coconut Palace is one such example. Coconut lumber is always considered inferior because of its sponginess and vulnerability. I really do not know how they were able to maintain the coconut palace though. But I was (I guess) the only one of the wedding guests closely peering at all the wood inlays and carvings of the place. The craftmanship was just so fascinating!

January 25, 2008 9:18 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I visited the Coconut Palace and I must say it's really awesome. She really did build something outstanding and the rooms are really unique from one another. It's outrageous for them to close it down for now because this is one of the touristy spots ... Hopefully they'll re-open it again to the public.


January 25, 2008 9:44 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

We really don't need (another) casino.
I fear it will close down for ever and they will let it decay with time.... :-(

January 25, 2008 12:35 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is sad. One of the things that we sorely lack is appreciation of our history and culture. If we condemned Imelda because she put up walls to hide from her international guests the poverty and squalor of our squatter areas, we should be also condemn those who wish to turn the Coconut Palace into a casino. The Coconut Palace and all the other Imeldific projects should be part of the itinerary of all students of Philippine history, instead of Wowowee or some other inane noontime shows.

January 25, 2008 3:48 PM  

Blogger Christina said...

Who can we present concerns to in government? This hurts Philippine tourism and heritage. Everyone should care.

January 25, 2008 10:40 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

that will be absurd when they turn that into a casino, the coconut place is a unique beauty on its own... i've been there long ago, i dont have a camera then, wish i could go back when they hopefully re opens....

January 25, 2008 11:41 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sayang 'yan! I hope the powers-that-be do not turn this into a casino...grrrrr.

January 26, 2008 5:35 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Right on, Traveler!

Now, I wished I had gone back as planned. There was a big party being set up during the tour I took with Carlos and wasn't able to take as much pictures of its beautiful grounds :(

January 26, 2008 6:58 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

It's really a beautiful creation, Rhoda. And to think that they only had a very limited amount of time to build it.

It's Filipino ingenuity at its best!

January 26, 2008 7:00 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Yes, indeed, Elizabeth. Even some of the furniture were made from a coconut tree. I really had no idea that one can make great use of its wood. Stunning!

I just wonder how come not many homes were built using this particular kind of wood.

January 26, 2008 7:01 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That's right, Kyels -- those rooms were something else. each one just as different yet as beautiful than the other. I also like the way it was designed so as to create proper ventilation throughout.

January 26, 2008 7:03 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That's possible, Sidney, but I hope they have the good sense not to allow it to decay.

And reopening it as a casino is just sinful, really. I don't think the interiors are that expansive to accommodate such purpose. God forbid they gut it out. Sheeesh!

January 26, 2008 7:05 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That's right, Bugsy -- that despite the horrific era of the Marcoses, no one should just destroy the Imeldific projects.

As Bernadette has said, Imelda did a lot of good as well in our creative sector that promoted its immense growth unlike in any other administrations.

January 26, 2008 7:08 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

If the plan is indeed to turn it into a casino, Christine, chances are it will become a casino. I say this because gambling generates incredible amount of money and this will assure, say GSIS, of a good and steady income from rent and a piece of the gambling profit.

And the other side of gambling, as we all know, is extreme pain and sufferings of the families of those gambling addicts, whose homes are first to go when the losing streak begins to become unmanageable.

January 26, 2008 7:11 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I was actualy thinking of doing a late afternoon to early evening shoot inside the Coconut Palace, Lino. The fact that it faces the Manila Bay gives a sunset another gorgeous perspectives with those beautifully maintained garden and tress in the foreground.

January 26, 2008 7:13 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Talagang sayang, BertN! If it does become a casion, it will only reinforce the image of some of our officials -- arrogance and indifference.

Huwag sana matuloy. I think Coconut Palace makes a good enough income from renting out its facilities for events and receptions.

January 26, 2008 7:17 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hope coco place won't turn into a haven for thieves,heard of this--gambling
is just plain stealing by mutual consent! i really would like to see
the place as it is next time i'm there. senor thanks for the amusement.

January 26, 2008 8:13 AM  

Blogger Amadeo said...

One wonders if the people in Luzon, and mostly maybe those in the cities, are aware of the very extensive use of coco-lumber as building material.

What used to be the most common softwood lumber in the market which was Philippine lauan has been replaced by coco-lumber making it then the veritable backbone of the construction industry in the provinces. It prices especially well against those now imported from other countries in the region.

Thus, the need for some kind of resurgence of the coconut industry, if only this time as building material.

Who knows this palace may be renamed as the poor man's palace.

January 26, 2008 10:16 AM  

Blogger pusa said...

too bad nd pa ko nakakapunta dun! and pleaseee no more casinos!!!

btw, i have an award for you here

January 26, 2008 10:50 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's why when couples are considering the sunset and the bay as their background on their wedding, the coconut palace is the no. 1 venue to held it if the moolah is not an issue.... just like the big stars wedding... :)

January 26, 2008 11:23 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Many thanks, Pusa! Truly appreciate it.

Hopefully the palace gets reopened as it once was and not as a casino which we do not need.

January 26, 2008 11:45 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I had no idea that coco-lumber is a widely used building material, Amadeo. I'm simply amazed at the hundreds of benefits derived from this tree.

By the way, is Lawanit the brand name of lauan?

I remember when my father took me to buy a piece of it. He had a friend visitng from the province ( a carpenter by trade) build me a pool table (played with wooden flat circular discs as opposed to billard balls).

This Coconut Palace is a gem, Amadeo. Ordinary folks wouldn't realize that most of it was made from coconut lumber.

January 26, 2008 11:51 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Ayayay! I hope not, either, Tina. Look at what happened to the old Army & Navy Club. Most of its furnishings and lighting fixtures disappeared when turned over to the city. What a shame!

January 26, 2008 11:53 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That's right, Lino. If ever they reopen the Coco Palace to the public once again, which I hope they do, better go and take pics even if only the exteriors. Maganda talaga!

January 26, 2008 11:55 AM  

Blogger Photowalker said...

Haaay!! I often shoot at CCP and I totally miss this place.

January 26, 2008 6:44 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I remain hopeful, Photowalker!

January 27, 2008 6:56 AM  

Blogger  gmirage said...

Wherever did my comment go? Anyway I forgot why I wrote then but I was saying how cozy this photos you took are. Just by looking at this, one sees the rich past of the Philippines, at the time when houses are made and designed beautifully with wood (coco to be exact).

Ah I remember: Bahay kubo nagiba na! Pati coco palace pala! =D

January 27, 2008 6:15 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

This is really beautiffuly designed, G. Mirage. Wish I could take an aerial shot of the entire place, too.

If you want to get a glimpse of its interior, check out my previous entry:

Thanks and enjoy your day!

January 28, 2008 7:05 AM  

Blogger Unknown said...

Eric, mag-hunger strike tayo sa harap ng coconut palace kung gagawin nga itong casino!:D

Lauan, by the way, is a hard wood. We also call it Philippine mahogany. Lawanit on the other hand is a bonded particle board, similar to plywood, MDF, hardiflex, etc.

January 28, 2008 2:30 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Sobra naman na kung gagawin nilang casino itong Coconut Palace.

Know what's Ironic, Luna? Last week, during one of my photo sorties, met a young kid who confided that his schooling was interrupted when his parents had to sell their house to pay of most of his father's gambling debts -- 2.5 million pesos! I wonder if PAGCOR has some funds set aside to help those who want to kick their gambling addictions.

Thanks for the information on our local lumber wood. I just learned something new ... again! :)

January 28, 2008 3:49 PM  

Blogger  gmirage said...

Yes Senor, Ive seen your previous entry though I did not leave a comment...I ever missed an entry of yours when I stumbled upon your blog =D Its an interior that exudes tranquility...*sigh* sayang...

January 28, 2008 5:30 PM  

Blogger Amadeo said...

I recall that game, Eric. And it may still be played in the provinces. As differentiated from pool/billiards also, the table was a square and talc was used to smoothen the surface. I played that game before billiards.

And Lawanit also started as a brand name for that type of compressed wallboard. And if I remember correctly initial production was done here in some plywood factory in Northern Mindanao.

Now with regard to Philippine lauan or mahogany, with its many varieties, typically could not qualify as having qualities of hardwood. That is why it is typically called the poor man’s mahogany. But there are varieties that would be considered hard like the now rare red lauan.

Over-logging has decimated lauan timber stands in the old homeland. Thus, I believe the ban on it is still in force. Still you have illegal cuttings getting into the markets, but of very poor quality due primarily to improper or inadequate drying. Sadly, many of the lumber you now find in the market are imported.

While before Philippine lauan was known throughout the world, used especially as plywood veneer, here in the US the lauan you can buy comes still from Southeast Asia but not the Philippines.

January 29, 2008 12:49 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Am most certainly impressed by your knowledge on our local hardwood, Amadeo. You ought to be with an investment banking concern over there as a futures analyst or something, considering your knowledge on many things :) Thank you for this information.

Another local wood I only became aware of upon my return to Manila is Jamilena (sp?). Since there is a ban on molave, many furniture makers have resorted to using it. Supposedly, its tree doesn't take long to grow as compared to say, molave.

I still see that game often near a sari-sari store being played in some parts of our city, Amadeo. But of course, billard/pool halls have invaded our local neighborhoods when they used to be only in the commercial districts or within college/university areas.

January 29, 2008 5:41 AM  

Blogger Amadeo said...


Growing up in Mindanao where one of the primary industries then was logging, one becomes familiar with logs and lumber, plus I worked in the bank where we processed log exports.

Anyway, gemilina is a fast-growing tree and one can now find them in the market to replace the lauan, still there is so much to be desired in its quality and durability. And prior to this, planters were also encouraged to try another fast-growing tree, falcatta.

But then again, this all boils down to government neglect of Mindanao and its rich resources. Now, Sen. Zubiri wants to produce ethanol undoubtedly out of the two sugar centrals owned by his family in Bukidnon. And we can't even produce enough to feed the hungry multitude.

January 29, 2008 9:56 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Unarguably, mismanagement of our natural resources could eventually yield dire results. Not really knowledgeable of the politics behind it, but I think government neglect is simply outrageous.

I also hear that some Bukidnon farmers had invited Sen. Zubiri for a debate. Apparently, they're also questioning his desire to produce ethanol (which would greatly benefit his family's plantations).

January 29, 2008 10:41 AM  

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