The Ramon Magsaysay Museum & Ancestral House | Zambales


There have been a few points in our history where it may be said that the Philippines can’t seem to catch a break. One such event occurred on March 17, 1957, when a plane carrying President Ramon Magsaysay crashed on Mount Manunggal in Cebu, ending a promising term in which Magsaysay became popular because of his accessibility to the common people. Magsaysay, who was known as "My Guy" because he was everyone's buddy, is widely regarded as the best head of state the Philippines has ever seen. However, as luck would have it, he passed away in office and in life far too soon, leaving behind a legacy of greatness we could only hope could be replicated by current and future leaders.

Rasel Elazegui Alvarez
Mambo, mambo, Magsaysay. Remember that classic tune?

A Reminder of Greatness

What better way to ensure that Ramon Magsaysay's excellence is not forgotten than to have a museum built in his honor? Furthermore, having a central location that houses and highlights his services to this nation could enable more people to learn about him and his enormous impact other than history books, articles published about him, and documentaries.

Levy Amosin
This museum is worth stopping by going to and from the beaches of Zambales

Fittingly, the Magsaysay family's ancestral home in Castillejos, Zambales, where the young Ramon spent years that coincided with a period that largely influenced his character, was renovated by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and reopened as a museum in December 2016.

Marky Ramone Go
Felt good sitting behind a President's desk.

The two-story museum displays several of Ramon Magsaysay's personal belongings. The galleries on the first floor feature vintage photographs taken with other prominent personalities such as Emilio Aguinaldo, Carlos P. Garcia, and Richard Nixon. A stack of telegram messages between Magsaysay and other well-known people, such as Carlos P. Romulo, are stashed in a folder on another desk.

Milet Miranda
Take advantage of the museum's VR feature for a better experience

There's also a glass-encased exhibit of some of his favorite outfits, including his old Air Force uniform and a few barongs he wore as President. The.45 caliber handgun reported to have been used by Magsaysay during an encounter with Japanese soldiers in the Zambales hilltops stands out in the World War II area.

Elal Jane Lasola
The museum is one of NHCP's 27 recognized museums in the country

His numerous honors and recognitions received during his stellar career as a soldier and public servant are also displayed near his desk, placed beneath the Presidential Seal, including the Order of the White Elephant from Thailand, the Order of Saint George from Greece's Most Exalted Order of George, and a Guest of Honor Medallion from the Philippine Youth League's Leader of the Year Awards.

Julianne Uy Soriano
Some of the old photographs on display

All in all, the Magsaysay museum is divided into three main sections: Magsaysay's Life, Magsaysay's Family, and Magsaysay's Death and Legacy. Another feature of the museum is the Ramon Magsaysay 360-degree VR Experience written by Ed Geronia and produced by the NHCP. Using headsets provided by the museum, visitors can view various scenes depicting a number of important moments in Magsaysay's life including the moment when he uttered his iconic line "Malacañang is the palace of the people".

Where to go in Zambales
The former President's barong tagalogs and Air Force uniform

I grew up in a house where both my parents were deeply involved in following the state of politics in our country.  I used to recall seeing them in frustration while they tell me about the Martial Law days and would often mention, “If only we can have another Ramon Magsaysay as President”. It dawned on me then how Magsaysay’s brand of public service has since become this barometer of how a great President should be. Sadly, people like him only come around as often as Halley’s Comet nowadays.

Kazane Windy
Thousands lined up the streets of Manila to mourn Magsaysay's untimely passing

We can only hope that this museum will further spread the legacy and example set by Ramon Magsaysay when it comes to truly serving the people so it may inspire legions of leaders cut in the same cloth as Ramon Magsaysay.