Vice President-elect Leni Robredo has made her first major decision: To hold office for the next six years in a "cheaper" place.
This means that her office will not be paying the P484,000 rental fee for the Coconut Palace in Manila, which her predecessor, Vice President Jejomar Binay, had factored into his official budget. (VP Binay has another smaller office in Makati City.)
Instead, the address the new Vice President has chosen is No. 100 on 11th Street in Quezon City.
Although the official rental fee is as yet undisclosed by the Quezon City government, which owns the property, the amount is expected to be modest, because it was no less than QC Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte who proposed that the Vice President-elect consider the property as her base.
The former Camarines Sur representative has often said that she wanted a simple place that was formal enough to hold the functions mandated for her as a vice president.
At the moment simply called the Quezon City Reception House, the place actually carries a colorful, even controversial, history.
This is the very same address where deposed President Joseph Estrada's "Boracay Mansion" once stood.
The mansion was his gift to his mistress Laarni Enriquez, with whom he has three children, Jacob, Jerika, and Jake.
"Boracay Mansion" was the monicker given to the place after the discovery that Laarni had white sand flown in from the island of Boracay in Malay, Aklan province, to the QC residence to create a beach atmosphere for her pool.
In its new incarnation, the mansion will be known as the Office of the Vice President, once Robredo starts her term at noon of June 30, 2016.
Situated just minutes away from her own QC condominium, VP Leni's 7,145 square-meter office is an expensive investment of the QC government.
The Quezon government had taken over "Boracay Mansion" following the latter's tax issues.
And because the place was reportedly in a state of ruin after years of being abandoned, the QC government demolished the entire structure, including its pool, and constructed a new structure in its place.
This new place was reportedly meant to be a guest house for special visitors and diplomats of the first-class city.
Today the structure—which can qualify as a mansion—is not yet fully serviceable as an office for the Vice President.
But this is how the OVP looks like a day before Leni Robredo's inauguration as the country's 14th Vice President.
The formal inauguration ceremony tomorrow, June 30, will be held in a tent-like space at the back of the mansion.
This is where the pool with the infamous Boracay sand used to be.
The official ceremony will be held in a tent-like court covered with canvas.
All the furniture to be placed in the mansion came from the Quezon City government and some from the Coconut Palace.
True to her words, VP Leni opted for simple furniture such as this Empire Biedermier inspired round center table and Capiz chandelier.
Shell-inlay lamps and the choice of sofa suits perfectly to what the VP wants—simple but very Filipino.
Even the art deco-inspired cabinets add accent to the mansion.
"Boracay mansion" earned its moniker because of its famous pool and white sand similar to that of a popular beach. However, no traces of the pool and sand can be seen today.