Relics of Power: remembering the Philippine Presidents

Presidential Museum and Library

Malacañang is the home not only of the supreme authority but also of remarkable artworks and souvenirs from our rich political history. 

Remembering the Philippine Presidents
The Presidential Museum and Library exists to afford public visitors the opportunity to visit the headquarters of the executive department and promote the appreciation not only of the history, role and heritage of Malacañan Palace but also of the great institution of the Philippine Presidency and the legacies of the sixteen Filipinos who to date have held the highest office in the land. 

Anastacio Caedo, contemporary of National Artist for sculpture Guillermo Tolentino, produced miniature full-body sculptures of the Philippine presidents, of which those of Emilio Aguinaldo, Manuel L. Quezon, and Elpidio Quirino are in the Presidential Museum and Libary Collection.

A sculpture of President Manuel L. Quezon created by Anastacio Caedo.

A sculpture of President Elpidio Quirino created by Anastacio Caedo.

On June 12, 1898, President Emilio Aguinaldo read the proclamation of the independence of the Philippines from the balcony of his mansion in Kawit, Cavite. This printed copy, published years after, was signed by Aguinaldo on August 6, 1956.

The original ornate executive desk of President Manuel L. Quezon was crafted by Vidal Tampinco in the 1930's and features the coat of arms of the Philippine Commonwealth between two female half-figures.

This oil portrait of President Manuel L. Quezon was executed by American artist Leon Gordon and was installed in the Reception Hall of Malacañan Palace until it was replaced by a portrait of the President done by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo. Prior to this painting, Gordon made a portrait of Quezon which was featured on the cover of an issue of Time Magazine.

Three Czechoslovakian chandeliers were purchased by President Manuel L. Quezon in the late 1930's and were installed in the rooms at the west wing of the Executive Building, now Kalayaan Hall.

To prove the sincerity of the Japanese Empire to grant the Philippines its independence after it has successfully waged war against the United States, the Second Philippine Republic was inaugurated on October 14, 1943 with Jose P. Laurel as president.

During the Commonwealth era, the Bureau of Adult Education of the Department of Public Instruction distributed these posters of the president and vice-president for display at schools throughout the archipelago.

Poster of the Vice President distributed by the Bureau of Adult Education.

This car flag featuring the signatures of President Sergio Osmeña and General Carlos P. Romulo was acquired from the estate of General Douglas MacArthur's former driver. The placement of the red stripe, which is usually below the blue during peacetime, signified that the nation was at war.

This oil painting by Spanish painter Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida entitled "Las Nereidas" was given to Malacañan Palace by American philanthropist Alma de Bretteville Spreckels during the administration of President Elpidio Quirino.

The president as the captain of the ship is an enduring image in the Philippines. At least four of these mantle pieces, three of which used to include a clock, are in the collection of the Presidential Museum and Library. President Arroyo's, instead of having Juan dela Cruz behind the president, has a luminous figure of Jesus Christ.

A gift to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo entitled “Steering the Nation Towards a Brighter Future."

During the brief sojourn of Chilean painter Claudio Bravo to the Philippines, he was commissioned to paint the portraits of various Filipino personalities, including President Ferdinand Marcos. It is said that a member of the Presidential Security Group acted as the model for the body of the president.

This medal, the collar of which features the seals of the provinces of the Philippines, was minted for the Regular Batasang Pambansa in 1984. The pendant shows the seal of the President of the Philippines used by President Ferdinand Marcos.

During the 1986 People Power Revolution at Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA), this chalkboard with a sketch of Camp Crame was used to show President Marcos the location and strength of the reform troops.

President Corazon C. Aquino was honored by Time Magazine as its woman of the year in 1986. This resin bust copied the photograph featured on the cover of the said issue of the magazine.

A caricature bust of President Fidel V. Ramos by prosthetic expert Maurice Carvajal emphasizes the president's ears and his ever-present cigar.

One of President Joseph Ejercito Estrada's trademarks, the wrist-band is said to hide a scar. During his presidency, the wristband featured the seal of the president.

An ashtray, a souvenir of the "Kilusan ng Bagong Pilipino" (Movement of the New Filipino) features the image of President Joseph Ejercito Estrada during his incumbency as mayor of San Juan, Metro Manila.

Julie Lluch, a sculptor personally selected by President Arroyo, crafted this bronze bust of the president in 2008.

Credits: Story

Presidential Museum and Library, Malacañang, Manila

Presidential Communications Operations Office, Malacañang, Manila

Photo credits: Presidential Photographers Division, Malacañang, Manila

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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