Recently, I was able to step inside Malacanang Palace, the official residence of the President of the Philippines and where the seat of power of the Republic is located. It was a rare occasion that you get into the Palace and supposedly get to meet the President. This was this once in a lifetime chance, when I was invited as a blogger to cover the Design Against the Elements launch.
As their website simply puts it, the "Design Against the Elements is a global architectural design competition meant to find a solution to the problems presented by climate change. Spurred by the devastation wreaked in the Philippines by tropical storm Ondoy (Ketsana) and driven by a powerhouse multidisciplinary group of organizations from the private, institutional, and government sectors, the project aims to draw together the most innovative minds in the fields of architecture, design, and urban planning to develop sustainable and disaster-resistant housing for communities in tropical urban settings."
The winning design will be built as a prototype disaster-resistant and livable eco-village in Taguig City, Metro Manila. The village will be the first green and disaster-resistant community in the country. It will provide a model that can be studied and replicated in similar areas. The finished project will house a marginalized community living in an environmental danger zone, giving them a sense of security, ownership, and awareness of sustainability that can be practiced at all levels in their everyday lives.
Contest details, mechanics, and everything you need are found in this website.
The President was supposed to be there, but at the last minute, it was announced that she cannot make it. And so, we were breaking protocol (they said) to proceed with the ceremony without the host, the President, in the hall.
For me it was better because I wouldn't want to see the President, not this current one, at least. The Malacanang, as an architectural structure, is really awesome and filled with history. You cannot help but really bask in the awesomeness of the Palace.
This is the hall where we usually see of the President walking down in pictures. This leads to the hall where all the official activities/functions of the President is held. The hall is filled with portraits of all the past Presidents of the Philippines. Adjacent the hall, we see the famous painting Blood Compact of Juan Luna. It's so huge and amazing!
A food blogger is always a food blogger. This is what we were served during the event. Since it was Friday, and the Palace is observing Lent, there was no meat in the food that was served.