Honoring restoration done well
Palacio de Memoria, the stately landmark along the scenic stretch of Roxas Boulevard, has been named as an awardee under the Adaptive Reuse category of the prestigious Philippine Heritage Awards (PHA).
The PHA is a conservation recognition program for special achievements and important contributions, as well as services in the heritage preservation and conservation efforts, in accordance with Section 37 of the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009 or Republic Act No. 10066. The prizes, awards, and citations are given by the President of the Philippines upon the recommendation of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
The PHA has six categories, namely Adaptive Reuse, Conservation—Built Heritage, Conservation—Movable Cultural Properties, Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, Heritage Education and Interpretation, and Heritage Programs Support. Following its first conferment ceremony in 2018, the PHA awarded three distinct projects across two categories this year.
The Adaptive Reuse category is reserved for projects that utilize buildings, built-structures, and sites of value for purposes other than what they were originally intended to. This award recognizes engineering integrity and efforts to keep the authenticity of the building or structure design in order to conserve the site.
Meanwhile, the Heritage Education and Interpretation category named three winners this year, including the Partners for Indigenous Knowledge Philippines for its “Keeping Alive the Wisdom of The Cordillera Indigenous Peoples” project, the “Kagikan Project” of the Local Government of Tagum, and the restored Palacio de Memoria, which evokes interest and promotes awareness of the old Manila culture.
The Palacio, a fully restored Pre-War mansion, was lauded for its authentic European-style and unrivaled collection of antique furniture and art pieces, and commended for its respect and understanding of the key decorative elements of the structure. The mansion’s conservation was successfully retained thanks to a thoughtful rehabilitation process. One of its distinct features is the terrazzo flooring, which is attributed to the National Artist for Architecture Juan Nakpil. The NCCA cited the sustainable economic and maintenance model employed in the building, while also reworking the floorplans to make it compatible as auction and events venues, as the key factors that made the repurposing of the building a true success.
Sitting on a three-hectare property, this seven-story heritage home is both a showroom of the Old World culture and lifestyle, as well as a venue for various gatherings and milestone events. The Palacio welcomes visitors who wish to tour the place and enjoy a day of arts appreciation. The Palacio, which serves as the main highlight of the grounds, is home to numerous collections of fine arts from across the world and different eras, featuring paintings, rare furniture, and collectibles of various forms decorating its halls and walls. It houses impressive ballrooms, dining, and function rooms, including the famed Los Tamaraos Ballroom attributed to Juan Luna, and features original neoclassical arches and columns, as well as the Art Deco terrazzo floor depicting Filipino folk scenes. The Ambassador’s Dining Hall on the ground floor, the Villaroman Function Room on the second, and the Bunker Bar on the sixth are being rented out for themed and intimate gatherings.
The third and fourth floors of this heritage home serve as a treasure trove of artifacts from all over the world. Inside the complex, visitors will find the Lounge Mosphil, a decommissioned aircraft that has been retrofitted into a vintage mid-century jazz-lounge. There is also the Palacio de Memoria Museum, a well-curated capsule exhibit of historic Catholic paintings, icons, and artifacts, which offers a glimpse of the Spanish colonization to the Philippines. Outdoors, visitors will marvel at the spacious and landscaped gardens known as El Jardin de la Fuente and El Jardin de Dewey, both open for event use.
Palacio de Memoria is set to host two more events in December, including an outdoor picnic party hosted by Galleria de Gunita and Pasko sa Palacio.
To fully appreciate the beauty of Palacio de Memoria, a splendid place in the middle of urban must-sees, inquire and book a tour by visiting its website. Follow Palacio de Memoria on Facebook and Instagram pages to see the latest updated schedule of activities.