The Malacañang Palace (officially Malacañan Palace, colloquially "Malacañang" or "the Palace"; Tagalog: Palasyo ng Malakanyang; pronounced [malakɐˈɲaŋ]; MAH-lah-KUH-nyang), is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the Philippines. The original structure was built in 1750 by Don Luís Rocha as a summer house along the Pasig River. It was purchased by the state in 1825 as the summer residence for the Spanish Governor-General. After the June 3, 1863 earthquake destroyed the Palacio del Governador (Governor's Palace) in the walled city of Manila, it became the Governor-General's official residence. After sovereignty over the Islands was ceded to the United States of America in 1898, it became the residence of the American Governors, with Gen. Wesley Merritt being the first.
The official etymology from the 1930s says the name comes from the Tagalog phrase "May lakán diyán" ("there is a nobleman there"), and as it was originally the home of a wealthy Spanish aristocrat merchant by the river. The Spaniards meanwhile claimed the name came from the term "mámalakaya", referring to the fishermen who once laid out their catch on the river bend where the Palace now stands more mundane claim is that the Palace actually got its name from the old name of street along which it was located, Calzada de Malacañáng (English= Street of Malacañang).
History of the Palace
Spanish colonial era
The Spanish Captains-General (before the independence of New Spain, from which the Philippines was directly governed) and the later Governors-General originally resided at the Palacio del Gobernador (Governor's Palace) fronting the city square in the walled city of Intramuros in Manila. Malacañang Palace was originally built as a summer mansion in 1750 by Spanish aristocrat Don Luís Rocha, and was subsequently sold to Col. José Miguel Formente in 1802, and then was sold to the government upon his death in 1825. It became the temporary summer residence of the Governors-General when the heat became unbearable in Intramuros with its gardens and a verandah along the wide river. After the earthquake of June 3, 1863 (one of the strongest in Manila) destroyed the Governor's Palace, the head of state permanently transferred to Malacañang.
The Palace Halls
Official visitors to Malacañang Palace use the Entrance Hall. Its floor and walls are of beige Philippine marble. Straight from the entrance hall are the doors to the Grand Staircase leading to the state reception rooms. To its left is the Palace chapel and the passage to the right leads to Heroes Hall. The doors leading to the Grand Staircase depict the Philippine mythology of Malakas (Strong) and Maganda (Beautiful), the first Filipino man and woman who emerged from a large bamboo stalk. The present resin doors were installed in 1979, replacing wrought iron and painted glass doors from the American period depicting Lapu-Lapu and the other Mactan chieftains who felled Ferdinand Magellan.
From the Entrance Hall, one walks through a mirrored passage hung with about 40 small paintings of famous Filipinos painted in 1940 by Florentino Macabuhay. The adjoining large room was originally the Social Hall, intended for informal gatherings. It was renamed Heroes Hall by First Lady Eva Macapagal, who commissioned Guillermo Tolentino to sculpt busts of national heroes. In 1998, the National Centennial Commission installed three large paintings specially commissioned for the place. The one in the vestibule is by Carlos Valino, while the two others are by a group of artists headed by Karen Flores and Elmer Borlongan.