Although open to visitors by appointment, you can now tour the Malacañang presidential palace from the comfort of your home.
The Presidential Museum and Library (PML) can now be explored virtually thanks to a partnership with Google.
An online exhibit and virtual tour have been launched called “Malacañang as Prize, Pulpit, and Stage” and “Relics of Power: remembering the Philippine Presidents.”
Viewers can now walk through the two floors of the PML and explore the artefacts and memorabilia kept in the museum.
The operating platform, Google Arts & Culture, can be downloaded from Google Play or the App Store by searching for “Malacañang Presidential Museum and Library.”
PML Director Edgar Ryan Faustino told The Inquirer that he was “initially very hesitant” about the project.
“It was my great fear that the public would no longer be interested in visiting us here in the museum since they can already see the most interesting artefacts on their computers or mobile devices,” he said.
“But despite these considerations, I was convinced that this is indeed a noteworthy undertaking and deserving of support.”
He said people may even be more interested to visit the museum physically after they have experienced a virtual tour.
“Instead of thinking that interest in the museum would wane, it may even whet people’s appetites to come here and see the exhibits themselves,” he added.
Pierre Caessa, Google Arts & Culture Program Manager, said a technology similar to Google Street View was used to capture 360-degree views of the PML.
The technology used was called “Museum View,” a push-cart mounted with a camera system dubbed the trolley.
“What it allows is anyone to visit Malacañang Palace from his home, from the streets, from the bus from anywhere you want,” he said.
Kenneth Lingan, country manager of Google Philippines, said the project was also a way to preserve culture and history for generations to come.
“Google’s mission has always been about organising the world’s information to make it universally useful and accessible. Digitising artistic and cultural content is an important part of that broader mission,” he said.
“By bringing more of the cultural treasures to the fingertips of the people in the internet and helping the cultural sector share more of its diverse heritage online, we hope not to only play out role in sharing cultural knowledge in new and exciting ways but also to preserve culture and history for the generations to come.”
Presidential spokesman Martin Andanar said the collaboration was a “historic undertaking where our people’s story cab be accessible to the rest of the world through this magnificent technology”.
“We share Philippine heritage and culture with people who are oceans and miles apart,” he said.
“Every person on the planet whether they are in Africa or Antartica, as long as they have the tools, will be able to walk around the Malacañang Presidential Museum and Library.”
To take a virtual tour of the PML, click here.
To arrange a physical visit, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.