Bulacan Culinary and Heritage Tour part 2

 

Malolos City , Bulacan province -Philippines

Malolos Cathedral also known as Our Lady of the Immaculate Concepcion Minor Basilica

After we toured the Malolos Cityhall, Our next stop was the Malolos Cathedral which is just a few meters away from the Barasoain Church . The church a neoclassical church completed 1817  destroyed by earthquake in 1873, burned in 1899, and was rebuilt 1902-1936.   A large Statue of  Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception stands out even from afar.

Malolos Cathedral interior

Since it was also the practice of rich dioceses during the Spanish colonial regime to name the church under Immaculate Concepcion.  The church is favorite place for weddings, renewal of vows and place for pictorials. The Malolos Cathedral convent served as the presidential palace of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy, during the First Philippine Republic from September 15, 1898 to March 31, 1899.  Gen. Aguinaldo used the convent as his office.

Siar Tree ( Peltophorum pterocarpum  ) is native to tropical southeastern Asia  and northern Australia

Within its parking space stood  a living century-old tree  Freedom Tree ( Kalayaan Tree) which is a living witness to the Spanish revolution.  This is locally known as SIAR ,according to the locals living near the cathedral. This tree used to be commonly planted as ornamental shade tree within the plazas and main avenues with its bright yellow-colored flowers.

historical markers

Unfortunately, It also had its disadvantages, Since  it is a large tree – It can be uprooted when there is a strong typhoon . The century-old tree was examined by tree specialists few years ago and its health is declining due to the bad practice of leaf burning near its tree trunk and thus it was prohibited .

Filipino statues during the revolutionaries represented by Gen. Gregorio del Pilar , Gen. Isidoro Torres; Don Pablo Tecson, Fr. Mariano Sevilla, & Doña Basilia Tantoco.

We went to the ka-mestizohan district .   It was patterned after the old intramuros area where streets are narrow and some of the rich Filipinos ( Chinese , Spaniards , Mexicans mix ) settled.

Pariancillo street

We walked the historic streets of Estrella and Pariancillo .  There is the the Ejercito House which was the Department of War of the First Philippine Republic.

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On the left side of  Pariancillo St. is the Cervantes House which is the Tiongson House with its intricate windows.  ( Pariancillo street was named after the famed Parian district of Manila ) This is where Chinese immigrants and localized Filipino-Chinese settled and allowed to trade before they were moved further north of the Pasig river . The early pioneers were the merchant and mestizos from Manila.

Gobierno del Pilar de Malolos building also known as Meralco building

The group also passed by GOBIERNO del Pilar de Plaza de Malolos or called
Adriano House has been beautifully restored and today and serves as the Meralco Building.  Unlike other buildings around the area, a visit within the compound requires a written permit since this is a private building .  There is a historical marker within the grand staircase in front of the old building.

It was then the Gobierno Militar de la Plaza. Now Just across it is a structure with
sealed half-moon balconies that once served as  jail or (carcel ) .

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casa tribunal walls with ferns and weeds

CASA TRIBUNAL served as town hall of  Malolos in 1859. its now a blank
wall only 4% remains of the structure.

Alberta Uitangcoy – Santos House

This is the 1914 Paulino and Alberta Uitangcoy-Santos House in Malolos, Bulacan.
our group were extremely privileged to visit the house of the acknowledged leader of
the group, Alberta S. Uitangcoy, “iDING”(1865). It is the home of one of the notable Women of Malolos who started a signature petition for Governor General Valeriano Weyler for women in Malolos to have a school in which they can learn Spanish  in 1889.

The lower floor used be a Pharmacy store

the house was burned down and a second house was built,  This second home, completed in 1914, is what we get to visit today. Within the grounds of the house, it had an old well.

 old well

The house was restored few years ago by Ambassador Bienvenido Tantoco Sr. who’s fore bearers owned the house. Now, the house serves as a venue place, lifestyle museum.

The site also serves as an office for the foundation

The Women of Malolos Foundation Incorporated  ( WOMFI )or   (Kababaihan ng Malolos) relatives and kins were direct descendants of the original Women of Malolos whom Dr. Jose Rizal wrote letter.

 

Ms. Rheeza Hernandez briefing the participants

We were served hot pandesal, coffee and home-made ham in our brief stop-over at the house. We toured the rooms and their wonderful array of old clothes , furniture sets ,kitchen sets, commemorative pins and wood works.

Jamon de Bulakenya/ Hamon de Bulakenya 

Jamon de Bulakenya / Hamon de Bulakenya – It is made from choice cuts of pork belly  ( liempo ) . The use of  pineapple juice ( 2 cups) , beer ( 1 cup ) , 1/4 cup wine , 4 tablespoon sugar , 2 tablespoon of salt , 1 tablespoon of prague powder .  They used to put salitre ( Sodium nitrate ) as preservatives but it was gradually changed.

The difference between this ham compared to the commercial ones that we have tasted , Is that it is mildly flavored and is quite tender. It might be due to the fact that pineapple juice were used for marinating the ham . (pineapple juice contains enzyme bromelian which tenderized meat ) The beer and the wine also somehow neutralized the taste of the ham. The ham is also available for sale at Bistro Maloleño.

pressed ceilings  / hammered iron ceiling  is locally called pinukpok , pukpok 

  Tin -plate ceilings were popularized during the time of Queen Victoria in England. These are mass produced from thin rolled tin-plate – sheets of tin were stamped one at a time using rope drop hammers and cast iron molds.

They were traditionally painted white to create the illusion of hand-carved or molded plaster. Built to withstand the test of time,  many colonial era homes still bear witness to the durability of these ceilings, especially in the absence of moisture damage, which lead to corrosion.

I have seen some nice tin works on the Villavicencio house in Taal , Casa Manila in Intramuros ( probably bought from demolished colonial houses from San Nicolas district in Manila) .

a more colorful and elaborate pressed ceiling at the Santos -Bautista home

The simple interiors were made from choice hardwood panels gave way to white colored steel ceiling art work known as ” pinukpok ” or ” pukpok” by hammering sheets of iron to form intricate design patterns.   It used to be imported from the United States or Europe in which the plates of iron were installed  at the the ceiling of rich aristocrat homes in the late 19th  to early 20th century .

wood mold with intricate pattern

When the rising cost of materials and technology led to local people copying the designs and technology of pressing tin , thereby reducing the cost of materials .  Hence towards the early 20th century there are more homes which were able to afford these iron ceilings.

Using hardwoods as molding material , locally trained carpenters would hammer out thin sheets of iron . They are still labor intensive to make and according to some seasoned architects and interior stylists . They cannot be bought by ordinary wage earners.

beside the present marker , now stood a modern mansion

Women of Malolos marker – an old house once stood

On the left are the ruins that mark the place where Jose Rizal’s historic letter
To the Women of Malolos was read.

Bautista-Santos House

The Bautista-Santos House is ornately sculpted with neo-classical touches is also known as the Secretaria de Fomento.

gazebo

It had a large garden with makopa trees , gazebo and neatly manicured lawn. According to one of the present owners of the house, the garden can be rented-out for special functions like weddings, pictorials and special events.

tour participants carefully listened to the architectural details of the Don Antonio Bautista house

There is a popular myths that if makopa trees were planted extensively in one’s backyard. There will be high chances that there will be spinster and old gentlemen in the family.

  side entrance

 Don Antonio Bautista was an aide of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. 

life-sized statue of Mother Mary dressed in period finery 

The house is indeed a treasure trove of old items and family heirlooms such as paintings done by well-known artists , antique vases, life-sized santos ( saints)

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There were a lot of furnitures , some of which are centuries-old

dining area

The living room area had a lot of paintings from known artists of that period.

Katipunan flag owned by Gat Andres Bonifacio

There is  an old Katipunan flag which is mounted on a wooden frame with shells and mother of pearls that was previously owned by Gat Andres Bonifacio and was kept by his wife Gregoria de Jesus.

The flag was given as a token of gratitude to Mr. Antonio S. Baustista when she visited  him on April 28, 1931 .

We then walked and passed several old colonial houses which dates from late 19th century to the late 1950 and 1960’s.

Dr. Luis Santos house

Another very interesting architectural wonder is the house of Dr. Luis Santos – He is one of the prominent personality and he is the son of Alberta Uitangcoy-Santos . The house was probably built around the early 1931 and was finished in 1933 . This was the start of the art deco style of architecture in the country.

marker

Don Luis Santos was an eye specialist who cured Maria Rizal ( sister of Dr. Jose P. Rizal) , Fabian dela Rosa ( artist ) and among prominent families of Malolos.

an area which is converted into a library

The house command a very imposing view of a bygone era which reflects the art deco architecture and with its dark wooden panel interiors  speaks of the affluence of the Malolos families of the early 20th century.

Participants of the tour  (  field of architecture and interior design ) assume that the owners had used 3 to 5 kinds of hardwood tree species .

 

 bookshelves  with an unidentified wooden female sculpture holding a lamp

Since our tour group were composed by architects, landscape professors, plant enthusiasts, heritage advocates ,  photo enthusiasts, travel , art historians and bloggers. The caretaker carefully noted some of our suggestion.

 

art deco elements and floral carvings on staircase supporting frame

An apotheosis was painted by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo

The magnificent art works done by Mr. Fernando Amorsolo solicited a lot of amazement from our group. The dark woods highlighted his pastel colored art works.

an old piano , family photos and a Fabian de la Rosa painting

Another master of Philippine painting is proudly displayed at the dining room area .  It is entitled “El Kundiman ” 1932 by Maestro Fabian dela Rosa. The painting shows a beautiful maiden in period traje de mestiza dress performing a kundiman song and entertaining visitors .

Fabian de la Rosa (May 5, 1869 – December 14, 1937) is an artists ,uncle and mentor of Fernando Amorsolo .

sanggumay orchid painting

When the caretakers of the house opened the lights, it further illuminates the beauty of the paintings. It took us a while to marvel and gaze .

Some of the participants also marveled at the intricate art deco grill works and stained glass windows.

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peacock design steel works adorn the doors

Dr. Luis Santos bust and wooden sala chair

Some of the items we saw inside the house were given as gifts or tokens to the family by their friends and patients .

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Santo Entierro – Dead Christ covered by purple cloth 

In one of the rooms inside the house, There is a place with a bed and a life-sized body of Santo Entierro which is covered in purple cloth .

The usual highlight of Good Friday is the Santo Entierro (“holy interment”), which is the name of both the rite and the wooden sculpture of the dead Christ lying supine used in the ritual.

 

fountain sculpture in the garden was done by National Artist Guillermo Tolentino

a pocket garden with ground orchids, pinsarai , miyagos and large taklobo as an added accent

The garden boast of several fruit trees like kamias, mangoes , santol , guavas among others.  Flowering plants included , ground orchids, portulaca ( Vietnam rose)  and a couple of native orchid species like Dendrobium anosmum ( sanggumay)  and Dendrobium crumenatum ( dove orchid )

 private altar where Our Lady of Lourdes is dedicated

Our group also marveled at the wood ceiling with floral and art deco elements .

 The bathroom is also very interesting part of the house . It was painted by Fernando Amorsolo and it created an illusion of being inside an aquarium or fish tank , according to one of the architects which join the tour. It is one of his rare works of art.
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spiral staircase
Beside the kitchen area, There is a door which had a spiral wooden stairs going to the third floor of the house. This is like the secret room of the house or viewing deck .
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outside view
According to the local historian ,  It is where violin was played during the owners time which serves as a form of entertainment . The room was simple and there are windows which command a magnificent view outside . You can see the surrounding houses and buildings.

The house is not open to the public and we have to pre-arrange our visit days and even weeks in advance.  We were supposed to meet the descendants of Dr. Luis Santos during our visit .

Unfortunately , the meeting was called off in the last minutes due to conflicting schedule .

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 Bistro Maloleño
After a short photo opportunity , the group decided to eat a late lunch at Bistro Maloleño– This is one of the culinary restaurant ” MUST” place to visit . The restaurant and venue place touted as the “Home of Authentic Bulacan Heritage Cuisines”. With the goal of preserving the traditional the traditional cuisine of Bulacan.  The restaurant opened its doors to the public on April 15, 2013
In fact , QTV Channel 11 a sister company of GMA channel 7 top rated show ” ANG Pinaka-YUMMY in Bulacan ” hosted by Mr. Rovilson Fernandez . Viewers and food critics ranked this place as number 2 in Bulacan province and hailed number 1 in Malolos . The restaurant can accommodate between 65 to 75 at any given time.
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Jacobina with white sugar on top – This is more popularly called ” Pinaso” meaning to burn or scorch
Jacobina is a special sweet biscuit pudding made from Jacob’s crackers ( imported from the United States) topped with white sugar and using hot steel turner scorching the surface, the white sugar will eventually turned into brownish in the process of caramelization or glazing.

 I usually refer this dessert as a type of pudding , but some would compare this as a mixture of leche flan , creme brulee or leite creme by the Portuguese.

 This reflect the influences of Spaniards, French , Mexican, Portuguese and Americans  gradually making it as our own unique dessert.
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Pinaso or Jacobina
Normally , this type of biscuit pudding is served only on special occasions like birthdays, debuts , Christmas , New Year or whenever there are foreigners or balikbayans . They usually get the best portion .
 There were a lot of theories and opinions with regards to the creation of this dessert. Some say that this is to extend the shelf life of the biscuits, since they are hard to come-by , hence every piece is important .

Others would say that egg yolks which were byproducts of construction during the Spanish era  were made into different kinds of delicacies . Egg white is normally added as a binding agent together with lime and sand.

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Mrs. Milagros Enriquez is well known and respected authority on Bulacan cuisines and food that were served to heroes and famous personalities
 
Ms. Rheeza Santiago Hernandez told us that most of the cuisine that the restaurant offers were authentic dishes that her aunt taught to the proprietors of the place.
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Our group were treated to a lunch buffet meal and a short lecture /demonstration on how to make the famous jacobina and sweet jamonado.
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mixed vegetables – chopseuy

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Our lunch buffet meal consists of Fried rice , Pochero ala Marcelo H. del Pilar
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Giniling na Baboy ala Cubana , Chopseuy , Tinolang Manok and Ice tea.
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tinolang manok

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Mr. Freddie Talbenito
The group were able to meet the proprietor of the place Mr. Freddie Talbenito who happens to be a coin and paper bill collector.
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Philippines banknote collections featuring Barasoain church
His collections of different banknotes and coins were added attractions to the place. I have him some interesting tips on how to improve his collections and tips on how to present his collection.
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crispy kare-kare
They also have their own family recipe which are  added to the long list of food that were favorite of our national heroes .  Examples  of the family owned-recipe are Seafood Bulaqueño, Crispy Pata Kare Kare , Bulalo Calderetta , Sweet Chicken
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sizzling chicken on platter
The restaurant also accepts catering for all occasions like birthdays, parties, debuts , baptism , conventions .
Address: 1 Valenzuela St., Bulihan Capitol View Park, Malolos, 3000 Bulacan
Phone:0942 824 7876 / Landline : +63 (44) 305-0645
Operational Hours:10:00am to 10:00pm Daily
After the hearty lunch and brief lecture , We went to another culinary icon and 2 more towns within Bulacan province.
Please try to visit these links:
Website Link:

References:

Hand-outs and leaflets provided by the Bulacan Tourism office .

Ocampo , Maria B.  Kalayaan tree: a living witness to Aguinaldo presidency, June 4, 1993

Enriquez, Milagros – Santiago : Kasaysayan ng Kaluto ng Bayan, (Zita Publishing Corp., 1993)

Agoncillo, Teodoro. History of the Filipino People. Garotech Publishing, Quezon City. 1990.

Lansigan, Nicolas P. Living Links with our Past. Herald Printing Services, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila. 1983.

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