Tag Archive: Laurel

Back at the National Museum to attend the Museum Foundation’s Lecture Series on Batanes. No less than Architect Toti Villalon gave the lecture with a few prominent residents of Batanes in the audience. But we were more than an hour early for the lecture. So we found ourselves meandering from hall to hall, trying to avoid the student crowds who filled the Hall of the Masters.




The National Art Gallery/ National Museum with the Clock Tower of the Manila City Hall in the background.



We were drawn to the Amorsolo portraits — thinking how lucky those high society people were to pose for this National Artist. But one particular portrait got our full attention. Having just visited the newly-restored Old Senate Hall within the National Art Gallery (the same building used to house the Legislature), we were pleasantly surprised to find a hunk of a statesman in the twice-elected Speaker of the House.




Guess who? No less than the Speaker of the House (twice elected) Jose B. Laurel Jr.



With those looks, it’s tempting to think the Legislature consisted mainly of women. But this Presidential son (he is the eldest of 9 children of ex-President Jose P. Laurel) and Vice-Presidential brother (Doy Laurel, the man who withdrew his presidential ambitions in favor of Cory Aquino to run and win as Vice President) earned every laurel (pun intended) on his head. He made a bid for the Vice Presidency himself, but lost to Diosdado Macapagal, who went on to become President and whose daughter likewise became President. These days, they call it political dynasty. But the Laurels have all proven their worth, and for a “political clan”, remains low-profile and unassuming. Surely, their patriarch, President Jose P. Laurel, knew how to raise a BIG family.




Died not too long ago. Lived a quiet life though his family remained in the political limelight.

The Laurel House

Ever heard of it? It is right along Shaw Boulevard near Cherry’s Foodarama. A 3-storey 50+ year old Mansion sitting on a 6,000 square meter prime lot in Mandaluyong.  The heritage house used to be the residence of the illustrous Laurel Family, which includes a former President (Jose , 1943-1945) and a former Vice President (Salvador, or “Doy” to many, 1986-1992).

In those days, this palatial house and lawn must have been one of the grandest in the entire metropolis. I’ve seen some in the Malate and Ermita areas, and a number too in the New Manila Area and San Juan. But I like the layout of this white house sitting right in the middle of a very spacious lawn complete with a wooden bridge over a pond, surrounded by old balete and royal palm trees.

For a while,  the house looked destined to ruin as the gardens needed trimming and the house demanded a fresh coat of paint.  It was even reported that the ceiling was about to collapse on the dirty tiles and flooring.  For some 7 years, the house went unoccupied.  Then Senator Manny Villar bought the house from the Laurels and converted it into the Nacionalista Party Headquarters. Some sprucing up here and there, but the architecture, the layout , the garden fountain and pond were all retained by the new owners. Not one tree removed or even moved, thank God! The history and dignity of the house was retained. And that includes the 2 markers found in the house.   The first notes the date when the Laurel patriarch built the property in 1957. The second commemorates the visit of Indonesian President Sukarno, who twice slept at the mansion.

You bet the once-hallowed grounds became real busy back in 2010; but of late, it is almost sad passing by this former residence poorly lighted at night. Not much activity these days, except for a few charity events and political affairs. 

Mea culpa. A Bad Shot, but it's my only night shot of the garden.

No, the property is not open to the public. But who knows, you may get invited to some affairs still held in these grounds.

The house used to be called Villa Paciencia.  And yes, that is how it is spelled, in honor of the late President’s wife, Paciencia Hidalgo. It is one of the three residences that Laurel built. There is  a house in Tanauan, which the Laurels consider their ancestral home, and another in Paco, Manila, called the Villa Peñafrancia.