This is the Macaraeg-Macapagal Ancestral House, in Iligan, Lanao del Norte. As the name implies, this simple yet elegant and historical structure has housed both Presidents Diosdado Macapagal and Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo. The house has been found significant enough by the National Historical Institute, that it was declared a Heritage House last 2002.
It’s been some time since I first heard about this ancestral home, and it’s also been some time since I wanted to visit it. Just very recently, I had my chance on a visit to Iligan City (which was about 77 kilometers away from home). My original objective was not of the tourist type, in fact I was just there to have my car maintained and serviced. It was a long drive, though, and my hands felt all pins and needles during the journey. So when I was nearing the town of Linamon, where the Macaraeg-Macapagal house stands, I thought I’d take a little breather and check an item off my bucket list in one fell swoop.
The Macaraeg-Macapagal Ancestral House is considered as one of the city’s top tourist destinations, frequented most often by students but also visited by a lot of locals. It’s unfortunate that there aren’t many foreigners who know about the house, though, as it certainly contains a piece of the country’s history. Aside from being the site of a few cabinet meetings and seminars attended by its illustrious occupants, the house is also a good looking glass into how the lives of these two Presidents had been when they’re off the limelight.
The house is laid out in a typical Filipino fashion, with a cozy living room downstairs. There is a framed portrait of President Diosdado Macapagal on the wall, holding his daughter. This is an echo of the sculpture that stands outside, where the elder Macapagal is guiding his daughter on a swing. On the way to the second floor, there is a rather revealing painting of President Macapagal-Arroyo in her younger years. There are also lots of antiques in the house, particularly an old TV — the type that opens out like a cabinet.
Speaking of antiques, GMA’s old play things are still enshrined in her playhouse, giving us a glimpse into what childhood must be like for a President’s daughter. The huge dolls sure look pretty! The whole house itself is also something to behold, built as it is with various Philippine hardwood like narra and molave.
Perhaps most precious are the gifts given to the two President by the leaders of the world, all enshrined here. These range from jewelries to swords! Indeed, the Macaraeg-Macapagal Ancestral house is worth a visit for those with curious minds.
If you ever make your way to Barangay Buruun in Iligan, make sure to drop by this ancestral house. The minutes you spend here could be moments of inspiration from the many things you can see and appreciate.