Malacañang Palace

Malacañang Palace is the home of the President of Republic of the Philippines, the symbol of the nation, and also his/her official office. It is located at 1000 José P. Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila. The house was built in 1750 in Spanish Colonial style. In Spanish Era, it is also the home of Governor-General of the Philippines. It was purchased from a Spanish Aristocrat named Don Luis Rocha, and was purchased by a Spanish Colonel and again purchased by the state, thus became the home of the representatives of Spain in the Philippines.

Yes! It is true. The building was built since the Spanish time. So, it might be true that there is an unknown entity there. Then, what are they?
Male and female figures disappearing into walls. Pianos playing by themselves in the dead of night.

Empty chairs turning, heavy curtains parting, plates vanishing from where you put them. --- Philippine Daily Inquirer

Pres. Noynoy Aquino once said,
No one wants to live in Malacañang proper, because of the eerie environment.
Actually, he prefer to live in the other side of Pasig River - on Bahay Pangarap.
I don?t like the ambience of Malacañang Palace. There's this big balete tree in front [of the state entrance] ... And the guards say sometimes, the pianos start playing by themselves and someone is [heard] marching [down the hall].


[Taken from a News Website:]

Strange things

The strongman's son, Senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr., narrated tales of ghostly goings-on during the family's 20-year stay in the Spanish-era Palace.

There's no doubt about it, many strange things are really happening there, the senator told the Inquirer.

Everybody who lived in the Palace, during and after [our stay], including the security and the staff?everybody has experienced something, he said.

Eduardo Rozon, chief steward during the Marcos regime, and Bernardo Barcena Jr., a guard posted at the door to the private quarters of the then first family, vividly recall both frightening and hilarious encounters with the unknown in Malacañang.

From their stories recounted to the Inquirer last week, it appeared that ghosts haunted not only the numerous state rooms but also the Marcoses? private quarters, and even the adjoining building known as Kalayaan Hall.

The chandeliers clanked, the plates in the china room tinkled, and staff members felt their hair rising.

The ghostly occurrences always happened in the wee hours?between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m., when the Palace was quiet and deserted, according to both Bongbong Marcos and Barcena.

During that witching hour, it was common for the staff to see figures appear at the Reception Hall, the massive corridor framed by pictures of all Philippine presidents, and the Ceremonial Hall, the biggest room in the Palace where the most important state functions are held and which served as balcony during the Spanish and American eras.

Never their faces

You just see them. You think they're your colleagues but they're not. And they always had their backs to us; we never saw their faces, said Barcena, who is now on his second term as barangay councilman in Bagong Nayon in Antipolo City, the housing project awarded by the Marcoses to their household staff.

Barcena once walked up to who he thought was a colleague leaning on a panel in the Ceremonial Hall: I was just a few meters from him when he vanished.

Frightened, Barcena hurried to tell his colleagues about the experience.

Rozon, who supervised the Palace waiters, recalled one night when he was at the Reception Hall and noticed that the door to the Music Room was ajar.

(A bedroom during the Spanish time, the Music Room has since been used by first ladies as a sitting room for important state guests.)

Rozon said he wondered to his companion what would happen if the half-open door would suddenly close. Then the door did close! We ran downstairs! he said, laughing.

Barcena swore that in the same room with no one else around, they heard the piano play and saw the first lady's chair turn by itself.

Intrigued by the stories, Bongbong Marcos and his friends decided to go ghost hunting in the courtyard of the private quarters, which had a fountain in the middle.

Knock, knock

A friend reached for a doorknob, but the door opened before he could touch it. They scrambled upstairs, the senator recalled with a chuckle.

It was also common for the family members to hear someone knocking on their doors, always at around 2 a.m.

During the renovation of the Palace, Bongbong Marcos said, he used a room adjacent to the State Dining Room as his temporary quarters.

(The State Dining Room, originally a ballroom during the Spanish and American times, has three Commonwealth-era chandeliers and 40 carved chairs around a long dining table. It is now where Cabinet meetings are held. Its large French mirrors were installed in 1877, according to the book Malacañan Palace, The Official Illustrated History.)

Knocking awakened Bongbong Marcos one night, and when he opened his door, he saw no one there. Suddenly, one of the antique chairs stacked leaning against the dining table righted itself!

I couldn't sleep anymore that night, he said.

The ghosts also apparently liked telephones.

The senator said his mother Imelda had been roused from sleep by the ringing of the phone in her bedroom, also during the wee hours.

The next morning she would ask who called her at that time, and of course nobody did, he said.

Rozon said the ringing phones even sparked quarrels among the guards, each suspecting his colleagues of pulling a prank.

Seeing things

It was President Marcos who reportedly kept seeing people who were not actually there.

Coming home from school once, Bongbong Marcos and his two sisters were told by their father about an experience the previous night in the President?s Study, which once served as Quezon's bedroom.

A household aide walked into his office past midnight, and Marcos ordered him to fetch something.

When the aide did not return, Marcos asked the guard where he had gone.

Sir, there is no one here, the guard said.

Rozon told another version of that story of Marcos wondering why a household aide was still in his study well past midnight.

He peered through his glasses to look closely at the aide, who disappeared into the wall, Rozon said.

Bongbong Marcos said his sister Imee had also seen Quezon's ghost in one of the state rooms.

Undersecretary Manolo Quezon of the Malacañang communications group recalled a story of how his grandfather's ghost paced the Palace during times of crisis. (But ?no one I have met, or heard this story from, ever described him as menacing, or cursing, the grandson said.)

He said it was supposedly one of the reasons the Marcoses had the Palace reconstructed in 1979, doubling its original size.

Another story from the current staff in the Palace is they sometimes see the lights on late at night in the Quezon Room (now the Executive Office) in Kalayaan Hall, he said.

The ghosts may be the lost souls of people slain during World War II, Bongbong Marcos said, adding that the Japanese Army used Malacañang as headquarters and that people were killed in some of the rooms there.

Father Brown et al.

One person believed killed by Japanese troops was an American priest whose ghost has since haunted the Palace as ?Father Brown? and who, Bongbong Marcos said, was wont to wake dozing Palace guards with a variety of tricks.

Then there is a Chinese manservant who has appeared to Palace staff and guests.

Bongbong Marcos said a guest from Italy recounted being awakened by a Chinese servant at around 3 a.m. and told to attend Mass with the Marcoses.

The first family asked around and was told that the ghost had been known to appear as early as the time of President Manuel Roxas.

The ghosts are apparently a mischievous lot.

Said Elmer Navarro, whose father Federico, now deceased, was a household aide during the Marcos years: The ghosts played tricks on him. When he put down the plates and turned away, they would be gone when he looked again. Then he would find the plates elsewhere.

Barcena said he and his colleagues reported their experiences to their superiors, and were told, with a shrug: Those are house guests.

Mr. Brown

The most popular of the Palace ?guests? is the benevolent kapre said to inhabit the balete tree that makes President Aquino uncomfortable.

Rozon, now 69, said the kapre had been known as Mr. Brown (perhaps confused with Father Brown) since Quezon?s time, but that some staff members also referred to him as Mr. Jones.

Mr. Brown was not bad. He didn't harm people, Rozon said.

The story goes that household aide Mariano Dacuso, now deceased, was relaxing and reading the papers in the Tea House (where a mosque now stands) when he found himself being lifted along with his chair.

He was lifted almost to the ceiling so he told the kapre, Please put me down. Then he ran to us, Rozon said.

Then there was a cabbie who got the scare of his life when he asked for a light and looked up to see the kapre chomping on a cigar.

Shaking in fear, the cabbie ran to the quarters of the servants, who told him he had found Mr. Brown.

Rozon also said that when the social secretary's staff worked overtime typing letters, they would hear someone else typing in the next room, which was empty.

Whenever something mysterious happened, it was always blamed on Mr. Brown, he said.

Elmer Navarro, who lived in the old servants? quarters as a child, said the kapre was feared even by the military.

Sometimes, he recalled, ?you could see smoke wafting from the tree.?

Bunye's story

Ignacio 'Toting' Bunye, now a member of the Monetary Board, has his own story to tell:

From Day One of my assumption as press secretary in 2002, I have been warned about creepy happenings in ... Malacañang. Not being the superstitious type, I readily dismissed such stories.

But it is not uncommon to hear about various offices being blessed every now and then, supposedly to ward off any unwanted unearthly visitors.

One senior official even had the windows and doors of his office plastered with small medallions of the Blessed Virgin as added insurance.

And then it happened!

One night after a late dinner at the Ceremonial Hall, I passed by my office to pick up some stuff before going home. It must have been past 9 [p.m.].

My office, at that time, was ... what used to be [Marcos?] bedroom. To reach it from the Ceremonial Hall, one passes through a series of doors and hallways, starting with the Music Room, then through the Ramos Room, another connecting room, and finally the Marcos bedroom.

As I walked to my office, I had a funny feeling that somebody or something was following me. I could feel my hair rising and my heart ... [pounding] faster.

In the still of the evening, the footsteps on the wooden floor were very audible. As soon as I reached my office, I locked the door behind me (as if it would have mattered).

The Thing

Bunye said the footsteps slowly but progressively moved closer.

He continued: Then I heard the doorknob turn and I felt the slight push on the door. After a while the footsteps started to move away, but seemingly in circles.

What I have heard is now happening to me! I quickly said three Our Fathers, three Hail Marys and three Glory Be's.

Somehow, I felt emboldened and I decided to leave in a hurry. I told myself: Mr. Ghost, you can scare me but you cannot hurt me!

My first view of The Thing from a distance was of a white-haired man wearing a dark suit.

The Thing must have sensed my presence because he immediately turned around. He said: Toting, paano ba lumabas dito (How do you get out of here)?

Secretary Raul Gonzalez seemed as relieved as I was.

The then newly appointed justice secretary had followed me through the secret door and somehow had gotten lost in the Palace labyrinth.

The two men later learned it was Gonzalez?s footsteps, and not those of a ghost, that Bunye had heard.

Real or imagined, ghosts have the run of Malacañang, making it truly a place not for the faint-hearted.


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