Sunday, July 25, 2010


Washington DC Consul General Domingo “Ding” Nolasco showed us the "brand new" Old Chancery building at 1617 Massachusetts Ave. NW, just across the street the current Philippine Embassy building.

It now houses the Philippine consular services in DC. They started processing applications for the e-Passport earlier this month.

It serves the needs of Filipinos in Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland, and as far south as Florida and Louisiana, and states in between.

Mr. Nolasco showed us the security features of the new passport that cuts a traveller's face time with immigration officers in airports anywhere in the world.

Filipinos applying for the e-Passport must appear in person. The passport itself is made exclusively by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas printing facility in the Philippines, and shipped by diplomatic pouch to Philippine consulates-general across the US.

The Old Chancery was acquired on November 15, 1941 from Mrs. Stella Stapleton, wife of Daniel Stapleton, owner of two platinum mines in Ecuador and Colombia.

Mrs. Stapleton helped build Father Flanagan’s Boys Town in Nebraska.

The National Catholic Welfare Conference held meetings at the former residential building, and many welfare and religious projects were reportedly conceived and developed there.

Although the Philippines acquired the property in 1941, the Office of the Resident Commission did not move in until 1943.

When the Philippines achieved independence and became a Republic in 1946, the Office of the Resident Commissioner became the Embassy of the Philippines, and the building became the Chancery.

Incidentally, the Old Chancery directly fronts two streets -- in 1961, on the 19th Anniversary of the Fall of Bataan, in a ceremony attended by Chief Justice Earl Warren (who later chaired the commission that investigated the Kennedy assassination), two small streets along Scott Circle were renamed Bataan Street (behind Daniel Webster’s statue) and Corregidor Street (across Bataan Street).

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