Malacanang Palace is to the Philippine government as the White House is to the United States. It is the architectural icon of the seat of government, well the executive branch at least.
Malacanang started out as a wooden house overlooking the Pasig river. It was purchased by the Spanish government from a private individual with the intent to serve as a summer house for Spanish Governor Generals.
After the 1863 earthquake in the Philippines, the newly built summer house became the residence of the representative of the Spanish crown. It represents the highest authority of government and power. It was said that Jose Rizal’s mother went to Malacanang to plead the Governor General to pardon her son and save him from the death penalty.