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Historical Realness

Quezon's house reveals stories and designs of a bygone era

Updated

By Kathrina Paz Elefante
Images by Romeo Mariano

Heritage houses—especially if they are preserved near its original state—are a great source of design inspiration. To find one, you don’t even have to travel out of Metro Manila. The Quezon Heritage House is a beautiful and historic two-storey structure that served as the weekend home of President Manuel L. Quezon and his family.

Since it is the only existing house in the Philippines that is directly associated with President Quezon, the local government saw the need to preserve it—a physical and experiential piece of history.

Originally located along Gilmore Street in New Manila, the lot where the house once stood was part of the estate of Doña Magdalena Hemady, the matriarch of the Ysmael clan who were influential business figures back in the day. The family offered it to President Quezon just after he was diagnosed with tuberculosis.

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Since it is the only existing house in the Philippines that is directly associated with President Quezon, the local government saw the need to preserve it—a physical and experiential piece of history.

In 2013, construction workers began disassembling the original structure in Gilmore, carefully taking off the Machuca tiles and other parts of the house, to transport it to its current location inside Quezon Memorial Circle. Visiting this museum-home today is like walking back in time with its Spanish colonial elements as about 60 percent of its features are still in their original form.

PIECE OF HISTORY The main living area and dining area still retained the original furniture; the intricate wrought iron spiral staircase still in its original form

PIECE OF HISTORY The main living area and dining area still retained the original furniture; the intricate wrought iron spiral staircase still in its original form

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The main living area and dining area are located on the second floor with many of the original furniture and fixtures featured such as cabinets and the antique plant box given to Doña Aurora Quezon, the president’s wife, for her birthday in 1941.

PRESIDENT'S PLACE The bedroom of President Quezon where he reportedly recovered from an illness

PRESIDENT’S PLACE The bedroom of President Quezon where he reportedly recovered from an illness

President Quezon’s bedroom can also be found here, which is decorated with a carved narra bed frame, a dresser and one of his white suits placed in a glass case. His room was separate from his wife’s because of his illness, which was the cause of his death in 1944.

The intricate wrought iron spiral staircase, still in its original form, leads you down to the receiving room, guest rooms and kitchen. More personal items are on display here such as luggage, the late president’s hat and pair of boots, and Doña Aurora’s journal.

More than a house, it was a refuge for a leader who took on the challenge of building an independent nation—a reminder that home and family brings comfort amidst challenging times.

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