MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has chosen Bahay Pangarap in Malacañang Park as his official residence.
This was confirmed to Rappler by his longtime aide and now Special Assistant to the President, Secretary Christopher “Bong” Go through a text message on Wednesday, July 6.
Duterte will be the second president to use Bahay Pangarap as his official residence, after former President Benigno Aquino III.
Go said Duterte will be moving into Bahay Pangarap next week.
Bahay Pangarap (House of Dreams) is located in Malacañang Park within the Presidential Security Group compound in Manila. It is on the other side of the Pasig River facing Malacañang Palace, making it only 5 minutes away from Duterte’s office.
How often will President Duterte swim in Bahay Pangarap's pool? File photo by Jay Morales/Malacau00f1ang Photo Bureau
Originally a single bedroom house, 3 rooms were added when Aquino moved in in 2010 – a guest room, a room for household staff, and a room for close-in security. It also has a swimming pool.
Like its former occupant, Duterte refuses to live inside the main Malacañang Palace building. If Aquino’s reason was that the Palace was too big for a bachelor like himself, Duterte told media in previous press conferences that he thought the Palace was “haunted.”
He said that in his previous visits to Malacañang, he would get creeped out by the portraits staring at him from the Palace’s many rooms.
Duterte has said he will divide his days between Manila and Davao City, his hometown. His two families – one with former wife Elizabeth Zimmerman and one with common-law wife Honeylet Avanceña – are based in Davao City.
One of the reasons Duterte cited for his decision to fly back to Davao City every now and then is in order to spend time with his youngest child Veronica who is enrolled in a Davao City school.
File photo by Jay Morales/Malacau00f1ang Photo Bureau
Duterte’s new Manila home boasts of a rich history. The present Bahay Pangarap building was constructed by Architect Conrad Onglao in 2008 to replace the original structure built in the 1930s, according to an explainer in the official Malacañang website.
That original structure was one of the first buildings built in Malacañang Park. It was a resthouse meant to serve as a venue for leisure activities and social events of the President and the First Family. This presidential rest house was designed by architect Juan Arellano.
In the early 1960s, then First Lady Evangeline Macapagal renamed the rest house Bahay Pangarap or “House of Dreams,” after renovations of Malacañang Park.
In the 90s, Bahay Pangarap became the club house of the Malacañang Golf Club. Then First Lady Amelita Ramos tapped architect Francisco Mañosa to restore it in 1996.
After the original structure was demolished in 2008 to give way to the present Onglao-designed house, it was used by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as the venue for a Christmas reception.
Then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also stayed in Bahay Pangarap when she visited the Philippines in 2009. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.