Binay opens Coconut Palace to tours a la White House | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

MANILA, Philippines—The Coconut Palace, the official residence of the nation’s second in command, is now open to local and foreign tourists, Vice President Jejomar Binay announced Saturday.

“I welcome those who want to visit the palace. The design and décor of the building reflect the rich history and culture of Filipinos. I would like to share this with the public so they may learn and better appreciate our heritage,” said Binay in a statement.

The tours are free, he said, as he urged teachers to take their students to the Coconut Palace.

On Thursday, some 300 grade school students from San Lorenzo Christian School in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, visited the palace, while 18 senior citizens from Iloilo came the previous day.

Only public tours are allowed, clarified Joey Salgado, Binay’s media affairs chief, adding that private parties, including weddings, are still banned.

Before it became the Vice President’s office and official residence, the Coconut Palace located in the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex used to be a popular venue for weddings and parties owing to its spectacular Manila Bay sunset views.

Apart from security reasons, Salgado had told the Inquirer in a previous interview that it would be hard to imagine working at the palace with caterers and wedding guests running around.

He said that unlike private parties, public tours didn’t pose as big a security risk.

“All tours will be pre-scheduled,” Salgado said, adding that the idea of opening the Coconut Palace to public tours was similar to what was being done at the White House in the United States.

Home to artwork

Salgado said guests would be delighted to see the artwork inside the palace, including a mural by Araceli Dans and bedposts designed by National Artist Napoleon Abueva.

“What makes the structure unique is the creative use of coconut and its various byproducts in its construction,” he said.

The Coconut Palace, constructed over a 14-month period from 1978 to 1981, was the brainchild of former first lady Imelda Marcos. It was designed by Filipino architect Francisco Mañosa.

For John Paul II

It was originally built as a guest house for Pope John Paul II who, however, refused to stay in it due to its ostentation.

Today it is the official residence and office of the Vice President of the Philippines.

“It’s Vice President Binay’s official but mostly ‘ceremonial’ house, a place where he receives guests, has conferences, meets the press and other such functions,” a member of Binay’s staff said.

For tour reservations, parties may contact the Office of the Vice President at 8326791 ext. 119 and ask for Donna Comia. Requests for tours have to be made at least one week in advance.

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