This room, the largest in the Palace, is used for large dinners and large assemblies, notably the mass oath takings of public officials and the annual Vin d’Honneur. Orchestras sometimes play from the minstrels’ galleries at the two ends of the hall. This is the room where the lying-in-state of former Presidents is held. On February 25, 1986, President Ferdinand E. Marcos took his oath of office here before addressing the public from the balcony of Maharlika (now Kalayaan) Hall.
Three large wood and glass chandeliers illuminate the hall. Carved and installed in 1979 by the famous Juan Flores of Betis, Pampanga, the chandeliers are masterpieces of Philippine artistry in wood.
The Hall used to be much smaller, built in 1936 where there used to be a smaller courtyard dating back to Spanish times. The Hall was in effect merely an extension of the Reception Hall. It had a coved ceiling similar to those to those of old Philippine homes, and glass doors opening to verandas on three sides overlooking the Pasig River and Malacañang Park. The room at the time boasted the largest Czechoslovakian chandelier in the Palace, purchased in 1937. (since 1979 this has been in Bonifacio Hall) Many an al fresco party was held here, with round tables set on the azoteas and veranda for dinner and the Ceremonial Hall, doors thrown open, cleared for dancing. This is the hall where Presidents also lie-in-state during state funerals. The azoteas, verandas and the intimate pavilion in the middle were combined in 1979 into the present enormous hall.
On June 19, 2003, Proclamation No. 407 named this room the Rizal Ceremonial hall in tribute to the martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal, whose death sentence was passed in Malacañan Palace.