Everyone of course knows who GMA is. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo; former Senator of the Philippines, former Vice President, twice President of the country, and now Pampanga Congresswoman. Her political stint had left a bitter aftertaste to the Filipino people which led to her confinement to the wheelchair, neck braces and all.
But before all those political controversies, Gloria also used to be a kid; probably not as ordinary as you and me, but perhaps like the next rich kid around the block. And during Iligan City’s Waterfalling Adventure Tour 1.0, I got to see a little bit of that side from the place she once played around in, the Macapagal-Macaraeg Ancestral House.
From the age of four to eleven, the 14th President of the Philippines made the simple-looking cream-colored house her home in Iligan City. The house is owned by the Macaraeg’s, the clan from her mom’s side of the family tree; more specifically that of Gloria’s grandfather who was a highway engineer assigned in Mindanao.
And most days of those three years are probably spent inside the small playhouse at the ancestral house’s gardens. I checked the mini-playhouse of the future president and was totally creeped out by what I saw. The small space looked like a small bedroom complete with tables and chairs filled with blank-eyed dolls, staring at nothingness. Cue music from the X-Files.
A marker by the National Historical Institute proclaims the Macapagal-Macaraeg Ancestral House as a Heritage House in 2005. And there are a few who are not entirely convinced that it should’ve been so. They claim that not only didn’t the Former President Diosdado Macapagal take residence there, but more importantly, the 50-year required period has not yet elapsed since the death of the said Former Philippine President.
Well, I really have no idea what to make of all these, but I’m just glad that the place has already been turned over to the City of Iligan and converted to a museum. I guess, the earlier the better. At least there won’t be any need for extensive renovations if ever it fall into disrepair in the coming years.
It’s surprising to see a fairly modest house for Gloria’s grandparents. It wasn’t as opulent as one would expect a house that produced not one, but two presidents of the country. Of course the place looked above average to the regular middle-income homes, as apparent with its furniture and fixtures; but still, it doesn’t look over-the-top and as lavish as say Marcos’ home in Ilocos Norte.
Glimpses of two Former Philippine Presidents can be seen throughout the house; from small trinkets, keepsakes, photographs, sculptures and paintings.
And about those paintings, who can ever forget Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s almost FHM-ish canvass near the house’s stairwell? It was surprising to say the least. It’s probably the thing that would forever be seared into the heads of visitors checking the Macapagal-Macaraeg Ancestral House in Iligan City.
The Macapagal-Macaraeg Ancestral House
Address: Brgy. Buruun, Iligan City, Lanao Del Norte
Contact Number: (063) 223-6992
Entrance Fee: Donation
Open Hours: Mon to Fri - 8:00AM to 5:00PM
Sat & Sun - 9:00AM to 4:00PM | Lunchbreak at 12:00NN
GPS Coordinates: +8° 11' 28.48", +124° 10' 44.08"
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