I have a confession to make: I do not know much about the late President Manuel Quezon--aside from seeing him on a twenty peso bill, knowing it was during his time that Commonwealth law had been implemented and that it was after him that the city where I live got its name. Apart from those I've mentioned, I knew very little about this guy most commonly known as Don Manuel. I recently went to the Quezon Memorial Circle and found out there's something new in there that's worth checking out for--especially those who want to find out more about the late Philippine President Manuel Quezon. The newly built Quezon Heritage House speaks more about the great president's character as well as that of his family.
The Quezon family once lived in a house originally located in Gilmore Street, New Manila. The ancestral house stood as mere witness to the trying times of the late President and the resilience of his family after his passing. It is the only house associated with the Quezon clan, a testament to the bygone era so inextricably entwined with the birth of an independent nation. The Quezon City local government unit heads together with the descendants of President Quezon had put on all their efforts to rebuilt and transferred the original house to the newly constructed Quezon Heritage House found in the heart of Quezon Memorial Circle. From the huge doors, the bed linens, the good 'ol treasure trove or what we Filipinos call "baul" or treasure trove, bathroom tiles, all the way to the wooden floorings--they were all original--they were builtin each and every piece, just like a puzzle to make sure that the Quezon Heritage House will look exactly as it was in its original location. Of course, there had been some changes among the items that can no longer be retrieved such as the jalousie window that was damaged, as well as the images of Jesus and Our Lady of Miraculous Medal which the Quezon family decided to keep (so guests can only see photos of the said images instead of the real thing).
Coming to the Quezon Heritage House is like going to your grandparents' house in the province. But it feels like getting to know Don Manuel and his wife Dona Aurora for the first time. It gives one a taste of history, an idea how the First family lived and in the process learn bits and pieces of the Quezon family's secrets. Did you know that President Manuel Quezon married his own cousin? Yes, you read that right. Dona Aurora and Don Manuel were cousins. Dona Aurora Aragon Quezon was not only the country's first lady but she was also the Philippine National Red Cross' founder. She was a key leader during her time.
President Manuel Quezon's so-called Achilles' heel was his being a chain smoker, thus he later developed tuberculosis. Thus, when you come and visit the Quezon Heritage house, you'll find two rooms with a common rest room: one for Don Manuel and the other for Dona Aurora. The Quezon Heritage House also shared the late president's favorite recipe called Cocido Espanol--a heirloom chicken recipe which every guest can actually try to cook at home since the Quezon Heritage House had the special recipe posted on the walls (in English and Filipino).
There were so many things I've learned about the great man where my city got its name. The late president Quezon isn't no longer just someone I see on my twenty peso bill. He became real to me more than ever after visiting an imitation of his original ancestral home. He's like a "lolo" to me. I feel proud to live in a place named after the great man that he is.
Come and visit, former Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon's Heritage house located at the Quezon Memorial Circle. Yes, just a stone's throw away from his final resting place--The Quezon Tower (that symbolizes Birth, Life and Death) at the heart of the Quezon Memorial Circle. At this time, entrance to the Quezon Heritage House is still FREE. But according to the tour guide, the management are still thinking if they'd be asking for a fee in the future for house's maintenance.
Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this post. Opinions expressed are my own.