We recently visited the Palacio De Memoria, a restored pre-war mansion that stands prominently along Roxas Boulevard in Paranaque City. It was built in the late 1930s, and was originally a seaside two-storey building. Its first owners were Don Antonio Melian y Pavia, and Dona Margarita Melian y Zobel de Ayala.
The Battle of Manila damaged the mansion, and after the war it was sold to Dr. Francisco Villaroman. The Villaroman family enhanced the place by adding 5 upper floors. The Villaromans also built a tower at the top of the mansion in the 1950s. This tower, which initially served as an observatory, was later used to store the engine of the original Otis elevator. Later, the mansion was abandoned, and looting became rampant. The Otis elevator was looted as well.
In the early 2000s, the mansion and its sprawling 1.3 hectare grounds were sold to the Lhuiller family, who started restoration activities in mid 2010s. It now houses the PDM Museum, front and back gardens, a cafe, and a retro-fitted airplane – the Mosphil Lounge. This is now a well known venue for events.
D and I had been eyeing a tour of this place since we were on lockdown. We almost forgot about it unti I saw a post on social media about this place. I found in their website that guided tours are by appointment. We got the self-guided tour and headed there on a Monday morning, and we had the place all to ourselves for a good 30 minutes.
Everything was carefully designed and the furniture and artpieces curated. We were in awe by the overall sophistication and style of Palacio de Memoria. We were also delighted with the Mosphil Lounge (it’s my first time to set foot in a private plane, after all).
Our self-guided tour took less than an hour, something I’d happily go back to if given a chance. Once we stepped out of the gates, the hustle and bustle of the city quickly engulfed us. But the worthwhile trip sent us off with refreshed and inspired minds, and we’re excited to revisit the past through restored and/or maintained treasures like this in the weeks to come.