Tips and Guides

Duterte Complains About Funerary Malacanang Lamps

Check out our suggestions for modern and brighter lighting alternatives

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Designers know that lighting can make or break a room—the right type of lighting could add a moody ambiance, or give the space a bright and lively vibe. But what will you do if the lighting in your place of work reminds you of a funeral parlor?

This happened at a recent function held at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall at Malacañang Palace where President Rodrigo Duterte complained about the “funerary” lighting in the hall, according to this Facebook post by the Philippine Star.Parang funeraria, palitan ninyo yan,” (“It’s like you’re in a funeral parlor, change it,”) the President said.

He was referring to Rizal Ceremonial Hall’s classical-style, candle-bulb wall sconces (wall-mounted lamps) made out of crystal drops. In most Filipino funeral parlors, these types of classical lamps are commonly used for lighting and decoration.

The Rizal Ceremonial Hall is the largest room in Malacañang, and is used as a venue for important Presidential events, such as the swearing in of Chief Justices and Cabinet members. It is interesting to note that it is also the room where the lying-in-state of the remains of former Philippine presidents is held. The remains of President Ramon Magsaysay, who died in a plane crash in 1957, were laid here before his burial.


According to Malacañang’s official website, “Three large wood and glass chandeliers illuminate the hall. Carved and installed in 1979 by the famous Juan Flores of Betis, Pampanga, the chandeliers are masterpieces of artistry in wood.” The town of Betis is well known for the impressive skills of its wood carvers.

With its magnificent central cove with coffered ceiling details, the hall remains impressive-looking to this day. We offer our unsolicited design advice, and give our suggestions for more modern-looking (and brighter), Pinoy-themed lighting alternatives:

Ornate details. The intricate wrought iron detailing seen on this lamp is reminiscent of the calado ornaments in traditional bahay-na-bato.


Espanola Wall Lamp, price available upon request, Azcor

Simple lines. The sleek form of this wall sconce can definitely modernize a room. We’d suggesting using indigenous Filipino fabric like pinya or banana fibers for its shade.


Buzzel Wall Sconce, price available upon request, Keystone Lamps

Modern capiz. This Filipino material made out of iridescent mollusk shells is a popular material for local lamps. Capiz gets a modern twist in this sculptural, geometric lamp.

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Capiz Zigzag Sconce, price available upon request, West Elm

Another bit of advice would be to install indirect lighting sources like cove lighting in some areas of the ceiling, to add brightness to the room. 

Main images are from the official Malacañang website.

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