Located in the nexus of Vicente Sotto and F Ma. Guerrero Streets, the Coconut Palace (also known as Tahanang Pilipino) is just one of the projects spearheaded by former First Lady Imelda Marcos within the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex. The building’s price tag, which translates to millions of dollars today, is enough reason to recognize the excesses of the Marcos administration. One can still argue though how this edifice showcases Filipino artistry and ingenuity–especially in the use of coconut for its construction.
1. The Coconut Palace was designed by renowned Filipino architect and National Artist, Francisco Mañosa.
Born on February 12, 1931 in Manila, Francisco ‘Bobby’ Mañosa is considered as one of the most successful Filipino architects and has been recognized for his contribution to the development of Philippine Architecture. His designs highlighted Philippine design motifs that made use of local materials including coconut and hardwoods.
Aside from the Coconut Palace, he is also behind the design of the EDSA Shrine, San Miguel Corporation Headquarters Building, the Pearl Farm Resort, and the Lanao del Norte Provincial Capitol, among others.
2. Its construction was spearheaded by then First Lady Imelda Marcos.
3. It was built in 1978 at the cost of Php 37 Million–which was partly funded by the coconut levy fund. The fund, which was collected for the development of the coconut industry in the country, was used instead to fund pet projects by the former first lady. It was also discovered that Marcos, and his cronies, diverted the funds for personal profit by purchasing stakes in companies including the United Coconut Planters Bank and San Miguel Corporation, among others.
4. In his visit in 1981, Pope John Paul II declined to stay in the Coconut Palace stating how it was too opulent given the widespread poverty in the Philippines.
5. The Government Service Insurance System currently owns the Coconut Palace.
6. It became the official residence of the Office of the Vice President during the term of Jejomar Binay. Finding it to steep for Php 500,000 per month, his successor, Vice President Leni Robredo opted to hold office at the newly renovated Quezon City “Executive House” instead.
7. It was built using several types of hardwood including tugas, narra, balayong, and the Imelda Madera, or Imelda wood–a specially engineered and chemically treated coconut lumber used as the solid foundation of the building.
8. The seven rooms that comprise this edifice were named after different provinces in the country: Zamboanga, Pampanga, Marawi, Bicol, Mountain Province, Iloilo, and Pangasinan.
9. Since its inception, the palace hosted a notable people including Brooke Shields, George Hamilton, and former Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi.
As of this writing, however, the Coconut Palace is not open for visitors.
The Manila Project
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