A Heritage House in Quezon Memorial Circle
Our former President used to live in it, and we bet you don’t even know it’s right in the middle of the city. Visit it now, entrance is free!
The popular Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City is a national park that offers visitors and QC residents dozens of things to do. They could visit the Quezon Memorial Shrine that houses the remains of Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon and that of his wife Doña Aurora, check out the new QCX museum, stroll at the numerous gardens, bring the kids to the playground, or eat at the many restaurants there.
But there is one more surprise at the Circle, and it’s a delightful one—right beside the complex of Max’s, Tropical Hut, and Serye restaurants and almost hidden from plain sight by the main parking lot is the Quezon Heritage House. This yellow-and-cream, two-story house is a beautiful example of neoclassical revival design, and is reconstructed from the original house of the Quezon family formerly located on Gilmore Street in New Manila.
Unlike the Doña Aurora Quezon Memorial House in Baler, which is the former First Lady’s ancestral home, the Quezon Heritage House is the only existing house in the country that is directly associated with President Quezon. The original house was offered in 1927 as a weekend home for the Quezon family, and it provided a relaxing atmosphere away from the President’s political life. Quezon died of tuberculosis in New York, and his family purchased the house after World War II.
In 2013, the Quezon City government worked on the transfer and reconstruction of the family house in Gilmore to its current site in the Circle. About 60% of the structure and interiors are from the original house, with furniture and memorabilia such as old photos, suitcases, and paintings donated by the Quezon family. It is a historical treasure—the Philippine Red Cross was founded in this house, as well. And aside from being an example of beautiful colonial architecture, it gives us a quaint peek into how a great political family lived in that era.
The 1920s two-story house is generally done in a neoclassical revival style with a few Spanish-colonial elements. Seen at the right of the photo is the Doña Aurora plant, a flowering shrub named after Doña Aurora Quezon, the former First Lady. The shrub can also be found throughout the grounds of the house.
Some Spanish-colonial decorative elements can be seen in the house, such as these original Machuka tiles in the balcony leading to the second-floor entrance, and the sampaguita glass transom panels above the main door.
In the second-story of the home is the main living and dining area. Most of the furniture pieces are from the original house in Gilmore Street, and were donated by the Quezon family. An archway with keystone and callado panels (wood tracery panels) separates the receiving area from the formal dining area.
This unusual plant box in the dining room was a gift to Doña Aurora from the Tapia family, and it was given to her in 1941 right before they had to flee to Corregidor for safety.
On the left side of the dining room is a wrought iron window grille that is actually a fire escape. When you release the lever, the window opens to a ladder that allows for a quick escape to the ground floor.
President Manuel Quezon’s bedroom is also located on the second floor. It is simply furnished with an ornately carved Ah Tay bed, dresser, and aparador. Displayed in the glass case is one of President Quezon’s white suits. Because he had tuberculosis, his room was separated from the bedroom of Doña Aurora’s by a shared bathroom. Quezon’s nurse resided in the small guest room next to it.
This intricately designed wrought iron spiral staircase is an original piece from the Gilmore house. It leads to the ground floor.
The servants’ quarters, drivers’ lounge, working kitchen, and other guest rooms are located on the ground floor of the house. In this ground floor dining room, Doña Aurora held the very first meetings for the Philippine Red Cross. She was the first chairperson of the Red Cross in the country.
Post-war, Doña Aurora slept in this ground-floor bedroom in an Art Deco-style bed.
This side door decorated with wrought iron leaves leads to the rear of the house. At the back of the heritage house is a reflecting pool and a social hall (not seen) that opens to the rest of the Quezon Memorial Circle.
The Quezon Heritage House is located at the Quezon Memorial Circle (near Max’s and Serye restaurants area), Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City. It is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday, 9am to 4pm (closed for lunch break 12nn-1pm). Admission is currently free, but donations are welcome.
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