The former First Lady Imelda Marcos ordered a palace built for Pope John Paul II, who visited the Philippines in 1981. But the Pope declined the offer of the Palace, saying it was inappropriate to stay there when there are so many are poverty-stricken people in the country. Other notable guests of the Marcoses, like Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, Brooke Shields and George Hamilton, were pleased enough with the place.
The architecture and design of the Coconut Palace are all related somehow to the coconut and its significance to the Philippine’s culture and society.
Highlights include a room lined with mother of pearl, 101-coconut shell chandelier, and the dining table made of 40,000 tiny pieces of inlaid coconut shells. From being an ostentatious guesthouse, the Coconut Palace now serves as a museum with a butterfly garden and orchidarium.