Ramon F. Magsaysay

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7th President of the Republic of the Philippines

[ 1953 – 1957 ]

– President Ramon F. Magsaysay
May 1956

President Ramon F. Magsaysay was an icon of the masses who hailed from Iba, Zambales. During his younger years, he discovered an interest in records, which he would listen to on the family gramophone. Jose Rizal’s “Last Farewell” in Ilocano, was his favorite. He had an obsession with photographs of cowboys. President Magsaysay spent his leisure time reading newspapers and Sunday magazines. He took a particular interest in Tolstoi’s stories and Baltazar’s “Florante at Laura,” whose verses he would recite while taking a shower.

Like many from a bygone era, he loved the outdoors. He adored it so much that during his presidency, he would often meet the press in the open-air balcony of Malacañang Palace. Nestor Mata, a journalist said, “In our press conferences, we could feel the breeze of the Pasig River.” The room is an extension of the mansion’s old-world elegance, but influenced by the former president’s modesty and love for nature. The mural that embraces the entirety of the room, is the perfect depiction of President Magsaysay’s connection to a rural way of living. Green also happens to be his favorite color.

The splashes of white with accents of old rose make for a timeless appeal, befitting of the former president’s relevance in today’s world. He loved horse-back riding, target-shooting, and driving. He enjoyed getting his hands dirty, and was often seen tinkering with the Presidential limousine’s internal parts.  President Magsaysay was the undisputed champion of the masses and was the first to wear a “Barong Tagalog” at his inauguration.

Magsaysay promoted and supported local products and industries. The former First Lady, Luz Banzon-Magsaysay once mentioned that her husband, on multiple occasions, was adamant in serving exotic Filipino dishes and Basi (wine from Ilocos) in state banquettes. Of course, she vetoed this, and won every single time. The bespoke furniture in the room have handles with “palay” (rice crop)carvings to represent his special bond with farmers. Throughout the space are pieces that depict his love for fishing and farming. The intricate, yet simple details, are a manifesto to the man who championed the people.

Designed by :

Jose Luis “Tito” O. Villanueva
February 2024

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