The reimagining of Laperal Mansion


Anna Mae Lamentillo.jpg

Recently, First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos unveiled another of her heritage building restoration projects that serves as a tribute to the country’s past leaders, as it welcomes state and government leaders from different parts of the world.

Through its façade alone—which features a harmonious blend of classic European architecture and tropical-infused Philippine touches—one can already see that much planning and effort had been put into the reimagining of the Laperal Mansion.

Built in the 1920s located along Arlegui Street, the storied Laperal Mansion was once the residence of President Corazon C. Aquino during her term. Her successor, President Fidel V. Ramos, also lived in the same mansion during his tenure.

Prior to being the residence of two presidents, the Laperal served as the Consulate of the United States in 1945. In 1946, the newly established Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) of the post-war Philippines held office there. In 1955, it became the office of the National Library. Then in 1961, the Program Implementation Agency of the Office of the President (the precursor of the Presidential Management Staff) held office at the mansion. 

Today, through the efforts of First Lady Liza, Laperal Mansion was meticulously restored to serve as the official guest house for visiting heads of state and government. It can also be used during National Day celebrations of all diplomatic missions in the Philippines. 

The heritage mansion features rooms named after Philippine presidents. There are 13 bedrooms and five state rooms. In designing the rooms with locally-crafted furniture and art, the design teams kept in mind that they were as if writing a love letter to each past president.

Each bedroom was designed reflecting the character and leadership style of the chief executive it was named after. For instance, the Benigno S. Aquino III room features an artwork that covers the former president’s two passions, public service and target shooting. Meanwhile, the play of colors in the Rodrigo R. Duterte room reflect the immediate past president’s character—the neutral color palette with splashes of deep brown and burgundy highlights his masculinity, while touches of animal print give a touch of ruggedness and humility. 

The Joseph E. Estrada room was designed with a Franco-Filipino motif to depict the former president’s love for home designs with a slight French flair. The Ferdinand E. Marcos room has a private library and a reading nook as a tribute to his passion for literature, law and history. The Gloria Macapagal Arroyo room’s dominant blue color and accent wallpaper of flora and fauna are depictions of the former president as an ardent diver and a staunch environmentalist who championed local tourism. 

As for the state rooms, one hall was named after the Philippines’ first commander-in-chief, Emilio Aguinaldo; while another hall was named after Jose P. Laurel, the only Philippine President to have served in all three branches of the Government. The dining room is a tribute to General Douglas MacArthur, a key figure in Philippine history, particularly our liberation from Japanese occupation. Another room, the first open living space that one will see upon entry, was named after Ferdinand Magellan, whose arrival marked the beginning of Spain’s 300 year rule over the Philippines. 
Of course, the presidential guest house will not be complete without a room dedicated to one of the most important figures in Philippine history known not only by Filipinos but also revered in many nations—our national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal, whose political writings and martyrdom inspired the Philippine revolution that led to our independence.

The Laperal Mansion is a building that boasts not only of heritage but also of history and leadership stories. It is an abode that not only showcases Filipino talent and artistry, but also Filipino hospitality and resilience. It is a home that will certainly amaze and interest any foreign leader or dignitary that it will welcome and serve.