You would think that being the Summer Capital of the Philippines, the most important person of the country would have a house in Baguio City… and if you think this, you are in fact right. The Mansion House of Baguio is the official summer residence of the President of the Philippines. It is said to be older than the city itself and is among the most photographed and most visited landmarks in Baguio City.
From the Mansion House, the name was cut short to be known as only the Mansion. This massive building was built in year 1908 as the summer homes for United States Governor-Generals who were the American administrators of the Philippines at the time. It was destroyed during the battle for the liberation of the country in 1945. It was then rebuilt and significantly improved in 1947 and has since been the home to different Philippine Presidents whenever they go up to Baguio for their official visits, engagements, international conferences and seminars or simply a vacation.
The Mansion previously served as the seat of the Second Session of Economic Commission of Asia and the Far East in the year 1947. It has also been the venue for the first meeting of the South East Asian Union which was more popularly known to as the Baguio Conference in 1950. It was started and convened by then Philippine President Elpidio Quirino.
The elegant and elaborate main gate of the Mansion is said to be a replica of the main gate of the Buckingham Palace in London, England. Vehicles that enter the compound pass through a massive circular driveway which is usually open during official functions and activities. With its amazingly beautiful garden and polished lawn, it is a favorite sightseeing and picture-taking spot for many of its visitors.
The Mansion is located on the eastern part of the city along Carlos P. Romulo Drive. It is found right across the Wright Park where tourists can explore one of the most romantic parks in the country.
Getting to the Mansion is easy by use of a private car, taxi or jeepney. Pass through the Leonard Wood Road and see the Teacher’s Camp and Botanical Garden pass by. Upon reaching the Pacdal Circle, head towards the road that climbs gently uphill, which is to the right of the Wright Park Riding Circle. Park your vehicle along Wright Park Drive, which is located directly across the Mansion. Cab drivers around Baguio will undoubtedly know where the place is and will charge you about 50 pesos coming from Session Road. Those who opt to ride a jeepney should take the Plaza-Mines View route from the Central Business District, which costs about 8 pesos per person.
Any time of the year is a good time to visit the Mansion. During clear days and sunny days, it provides a perfect backdrop to your photos. If you’re lucky enough, you might catch days where the President of the Philippines is not in residence. Tourists are then allowed to enter a little past the gates to take that picture-perfect photo of the Mansion House.