The Museo ni Manuel Quezon (Quezon Memorial Shrine) is one of the main attractions of Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City. In contrast to Quezon Heritage House, which showcases the home life of Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon and his family, Quezon Memorial Shrine is more about the political life of the man known as the “Ama ng Wikang Pambansa” for instituting a national language.
This entry is the second part of a two-part feature of Quezon Memorial Shrine. This features not only tailend of the Commonwealth government but also the life of President Quezon who succumbed to tuberculosis before the end of World War II in the Philippines. To those interested in the first part, please read Museo ni Manuel Quezon (Quezon Memorial Shrine), Part I.
More than halfway through the Commonwealth Government, World War II arrived on Philippine shores. With the imminent Japanese occupation, President Quezon evacuated to Corregidor, then to Australia, and finally settle in United States of America where he established a government-in-exile.
With Metro Manila in ruins and most of the neighboring provinces devastated by Japanese forces, Filipino and American soldiers retreated to the island of Corregidor, considered the last stand of the Fil-Am forces.
Malinta Tunnel is a man-made tunnel system constructed under Malinta Hill, Corregidor Island. The tunnel’s main passage runs through Correigor from east to west and measures 836 feet long and 24 feet wide, with 13 lateral passages on the north and 11 on the south. Completed in 1934, it was considered the safest bombproof shelter for civilians and troops, having been reinforced with a double-track electric carline on the east-west tunnel, concrete walls, flooring and arches to which blowers were added to provide fresh air circulation.
Government departments such as the headquarters of Gen. Douglas McArthur, a 1,000 bed hospital and a massive storage were housed on different levels.
Here, on 30 December 1941, Manuel L. Quezon and Sergio Osmeña took their second oath of office as Commonwealth President and Vice President, an event marked by grim bombing and artillery shelling outside the tunnel.
By early 1944, the American forces led by Gen. Douglas McArthur were conducting their island-hopping operations in the Pacific. Victory after victory in battles against the Japanese and the reoccupation of countries they had invaded filled the news. By July, the liberating forces were fewer than a thousand miles away from the Philippines.
President Quezon, who was in New York, was kept abreast of the events and the news while he planned the economic rehabilitation of the country. But by the middle of the year, his health deteriorated. The tuberculosis that had afflicted him since the 1920s worsened.
On the morning of August 1, 1944, President Quezon died, surrounded by his family and doctors. The next day, his remains were brought to Washington D.C. where they lay in state at St. Matthew’s Cathedral. The Allied foreign embassies in Washington flew their flags at half-mast. On August 4, a state funeral with full military honors was given to the late Commonwealth President that was attended by high officials from the Commonwealth-in-exile and the American government.
For more facts and photos about President Manuel L. Quezon, please read Museo ni Manuel Quezon, Part I.
For more information about President Quezon and his family life, please read Quezon Heritage House.
For more information about the Circle, please read Quezon Memorial Circle.
Where: Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
When: The Museo ni Manuel Quezon (Quezon Memorial Shrine) is open for public viewing from is open Monday to Sunday, from 8am to 5pm.
How much: FREE! But I encourage the guests to donate. There is a donation box just before the door of Gallery I.
How: From any MRT station, ride a train bound to Quezon Avenue. From the train station, go to Eton Centris where an area is allocated for jeepneys (the most common mode of transportation in the Philippines). Ride a jeepney bound to UP, Philcoa, Fairview or Commonwealth. The trip will take around ten minutes. Alight the vehicle near Quezon City Hall. Use the Belmonte Underpass to get to the QMC or wait for the guard to signal the pedestrians to cross from the side of city hall to the Circle.