Binay plays tour guide as Aquino visits ‘palace’ | Inquirer News

Binay plays tour guide as Aquino visits ‘palace’

THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST President Aquino listens to his “tour guide,” Vice President Jejomar Binay, who walks him through Coconut Palace, his designated official residence in Pasay City. Also called “Tahanang Pilipino,” it showcases artworks, Philippine history, and, of course, the durability and beauty of the coconut. MALACAÑANG PHOTO BUREAU

Vice President Jejomar Binay as tour guide?

Only at the Coconut Palace, his official residence, and “only if the tourist happens to be the President of the Republic of the Philippines,” his staff jested.


On Thursday, Binay actually played tour guide to President Benigno Aquino III, who made a 10-minute visit to the palace within the Cultural Center of the Philippines, also the principal workplace of the country’s second in command. It used to be the former guesthouse for official visitors of the Marcos regime such as the late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and Hollywood stars Brooke Shields and George Hamilton.


10-minute call

The President arrived at the Coconut Palace at 10:25 a.m. and left 10 minutes later, Joey Salgado, Binay’s media officer and spokesperson, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Salgado said Binay hurriedly met the President at the compound entrance, ushering him to the second floor where the Vice President played tour guide, showing him the paintings, among others things.

At the second floor of the complex, Salgado noted that the President commented about the size of the bathroom once used by the late President Ferdinand Marcos, which he said is “as big as the palace lobby entrance.”

“The President also checked out the bedrooms. Then he walked to the balcony where he viewed Manila Bay. They proceeded to the Vice President’s office downstairs and then to the library, where he looked at some of the books. After that, he left for Sofitel hotel to attend a labor department-related event,” said Salgado.

No politics


Asked if the President and the Vice President talked about politics even briefly, Salgado replied, “definitely no politics.”

“For the record, they only talked about the paintings, the decor, the intricate details at the dining table and the balustrade at the staircase with its intricate carvings,” he said.

In late November, Binay opened the Coconut Palace to local and foreign tourists.

The former Makati City mayor said in a statement that he “would like to share the palace with the public so they may learn and better appreciate our heritage.”

The tours are free but engaged couples who plan to hold their wedding reception at the bayside facility will have to go elsewhere.

Before the Vice President moved his office to the building, a four-hour reception at the palace cost P100,000, while a simple tour would cost P100 per head.

No party place

According to Binay’s staff, no more private parties will be allowed at the edifice “as per instructions of the Vice President.”

Aside from security reasons, they said it was “hard to imagine working here with caterers and wedding or birthday guests, among others, running around.”

In June 2010, Mr. Aquino offered Binay the Coconut Palace as his official residence.

Aside from the lavish mansion built during the Marcos era, the other option was the old City Hall of Makati City, where Binay held office during the early years of his stint.

Before moving to the palace in early 2011, the Office of the Vice President rented a portion of the seventh floor of the Philippine National Bank Financial Center in Pasay City.

The palace was built in 1978 on orders of then First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos.

The facility, which stands on a 2.7-hectare property, is estimated to be worth at least P1.2 billion.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

The Government Service Insurance System, which owns the property, has spent over P10 million preserving the look and feel of the original edifice, designed by Filipino architect Francisco Mañosa, and made of several types of Philippine hardwood and coconut shells.

TAGS: Government, Politics

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.