AURORA | Doña Aurora Quezon's House in Baler


Dona Aurora Quezon's House in Baler

Alongside Museo de Baler, I was not able to get inside Doña Aurora Quezon's House when I first visited Baler years back. I spent some lazy time in Quezon Park back then where the house was just a few blocks away. There's a sight of the house from the park but I was so sick that fateful day (I got hospitalized the next morning) that my body and mind had not wanted anything but to get home. It was only in my recent visit that I was able to check what the house was in store for its visitors.

On a corner lot along Rizal and San Luis streets in downtown Baler stands this abode where another noteworthy child of the town grew up. Aurora Quezon is a first cousin and eventual wife of Manuel Luis Quezon, former Philippine President and Baler's most admired son. Though she was a spouse of a man whose political career is well-known and achievements are beyond ordinary, Aurora is a beloved figure in Philippine history in her own right.

READ ALSO: Museo de Baler and Quezon Park, Windows to Baler's Rich Past

Historical marker dedicated to Aurora Quezon
Historical marker dedicated to Aurora Quezon

Aurora Aragon Quezon was born on Feb. 19, 1888 to Pedro Aragon and Zeneida Molina. She lived a simple life with her parents and siblings in their humble bahay kubo (nipa hut) in Baler which was then under Tayabas province (now Quezon province). Apart from being the first presidential spouse to be given the First Lady honorific, Aurora was a civic leader working in background during his husband's political life. She was among the campaigners who had pushed for women's suffrage which they attained in 1937.

Doña Aurora continued with her humanitarian activities even after President Quezon died in office in 1944. She was instrumental in the formative years of Philippine Red Cross and became its first chairperson in 1947, a position she held until her tragic death in 1949. When the Philippines gained independence after World War II, her husband's political party offered her to run for Senator in 1946 elections but she declined; and the Congress had offered her a pension that she also declined, saying she could not accept it while there were so many war widows and orphans suffering at that time.


On her way to her hometown on April 28, 1949 to inaugurate Quezon Memorial Hospital, she and her eldest daughter was killed in an ambush along Baler-Bongabon Road in Nueva Ecija province. After the incident, U.S. President Harry Truman offered his sincere condolences and Philippine President Elpidio Quirino immediately declared a nine-day mourning period.

Old photograph of the original house
Old photograph of the original house

The present house was primarily made of concrete, wood and nipa thatching; it's more like a bahay-na-bato, a noble variation of bahay kubo, because it uses stone blocks as foundation unlike the ordinary bahay kubo (the original house was) that uses wood or bamboo stilts.

At the house's silong (space beneath the raised floor) was where the information desk was stationed. Upon entry, the staff asked if we already visited Museo de Baler because the entrance fee in Museo includes access to Doña Aurora's house.
Silong of Dona Aurora Quezon's House
Silong of Doña Aurora Quezon's House

Outside the house, the historical marker dedicated to Aurora Quezon was installed. Housed within the walls are some furniture, kitchenware, paintings and old photographs pertinent to Baler and the Quezon couple. It also has a small library and reading room.

Some kitchenware on display inside the house
A photograph of Manuel and Aurora inside the house

With only a few keepsakes inside, the house doesn't seem to function as a museum exhibit but just a shrine to commemorate the life of Doña Aurora Quezon. Most of Quezon memorabilia are displayed in Museo de Baler.

Though there's not much to do there, the house is worth a visit. I mean, who doesn't want to relive some history by stepping upon the place where the woman who gave name to the province you're in spent her childhood days?

Doña Aurora Quezon's House
Address: Rizal St. Poblacion, Baler, Aurora
Operating Hours: 8 AM–5 PM
Entrance fee: PHP 30.00 (inclusive of entrance to Museo de Baler)

READ ALSO: 11 Things to Do in Baler



DJ RIVERA

Filipino, dad, office guy, hobbyist. Writes computer programs on weekdays, works on just about anything on weekends. Click here to know more.

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