Malolos City and Bulakan town – Bulacan province
After the sumptuous late lunch at the Bistro Maloleño . Our group then quickly rode the van and we went to the famed eatery / bakery that is known for their empanadas and other delicacies from Malolos. There is an old tin signage sponsored by Coca-Cola company with Bulakenya’s Eatery .
People would would still remember the place as Bulakenya ‘s Printing Press . The eatery at one time also serves some home cooked meals and is also selling soft drinks.
A tarpaulin poster posted “Mercy’s The Original Empanada de Kaliskis since 1820.” It was a quaint store, with a sprinkling of tables. The place can probably accommodate up to 20 people .
I have some friends and relatives who always go to Malolos and the empanadas were very popular pasalubong . Since it is quite popular and production is limited – Those yummy empanadas can quickly ran out of stock.
Tita Mercy Antonio , Miss Tessie Luriaga with Chef Giney Villar
We were met by Aling Tessie Luriaga (Mercy’s cousin) and Tita Mercy Antonio ( as almost everyone called her ) . They gave us a quick demonstration to us on how they fried them, one by one, in a pan half-filled with oil. To keep the crust intact, she bathed the empanada continuously with spoons of hot oil from the frying pan, until the rippled layers of pastry turned golden. Each piece took three to five minutes to fry.
Empanada de Kaliskis ( flaky or scaly empanada)
Our group which consists of around 20 people and We pre-ordered some empanadas few days before we went to the place . Some of the participants upon tasting the newly cooked empanadas have doubled and even tripled their orders . Unfortunately , They only made a few extras and almost everyone is on a panic mode or buying spree of other delicacies . We even called the occasion PANIC Buying !
participants were busy buying pastries and empanadas
Unlike the ordinary empanadas that is common in Metro Manila and in most places . The crust was flaky. It was more like layer upon layer of thin wrappers. The fillings have shredded pieces of sweeten chicken meat , diced potatoes with a slice of egg . It was a delicious treat of varying textures; crunchy at first bite, followed by mouthfuls of soft, tasty chicken filling, then ending with more crunch.
I think the secret is the dough, ingredients , lard and deep frying them to perfection.
Tita Mercy Antonio – one of the culinary icons of Malolos
For the sake of marketing and to differentiate their empanada , Aling Mercy eventually decided to call it Empanada de Kaliskis (aptly named as the crust resembles fish scales or flaky). The name was suggested by a family friend – This was according to Ms. Rheeza Santiago Hernandez – niece of the the late food historian Milagros Enriquez.
According to Tita Mercy and the people within the bakery ( probably relatives ) . It started around 1820 when sisters Agustina Domingo de Jesus (great grandmother of Tita Mercy) and Justina Domingo learned to cook and bake for the Spaniards.They were probably kitchen aide on call whenever there are special occasions . Hence this is not your ordinary type of pastry offered during that time.
The sisters were often invited to cook for the prominent families of Malolos on special occasions. Their empanadas were popularly called Empanada de Malolos.
Agustina passed the knowledge on to her daughter Trinidad de Jesus Antonio (Mercy’s grandmother) , who later gave up sewing to sell empanadas.
They made Trinidad promise to hand the recipe down to members of their family who would be interested in carrying on the tradition. They also gave instructions that, should no one be interested, the recipe should end with the last person in the family who has it.
Eventually, the recipe were handed down to Mrs. Lucila Antonio (Mercy’s aunt), who taught Mercy how to make it at a very young age. Tita Mercy recalled helping her aunt at age seven.
Tita Mercy Antonio with the author
She and cousin Tessie Luriaga are now the keepers of the family’s secret recipe. But Aling Mercy hopes to pass it on to her sister Connie Antonio Cervantes, as she is the one with children.
Now at 92 years-old , She is still actively cooking the empanadas and other pastries that their family is known for.
According to the old time residents of the place, There are still a lot of heirloom family recipes that were lost in time due to many factors. Some families refuse to pass them to other members of the family or clan . Others were lost as time passes, replaced with modern way of recipe which is faster to prepare and to make.
some of the participants took a photo opportunity beside one of the culinary icons of Malolos
Famous People :
Philippine Presidents that have eaten their empanadas included Manuel L. Quezon, Sergio Osmeña, Carlos P. Garcia, Elpidio Quirino, Ferdinand E. Marcos and Joseph Estrada.
This is aside from the prominent families , celebrities like Mikael Daez , Chef Giney Villar , balikabayans and even foreigners .
Gorgoria biscuits and Biscocho de Sebo – Malolos variety
They also have other specialties which includes Gorgoria and Biscocho de Sebo (also called Kurbata) because it is shaped like a necktie or bow tie . The difference of Malolos gorgoria is the spelling , size, flavor and how it is cooked compared to the one in the town of Bulakan which is spelled Gurgurya .
I bought 1 box of the empanada , gorgoria and biscocho de sebo as pasalubong.
Mercy’s Original Empanada de Kaliskis
Address: M. Tengco Street Santo Rosario, Malolos City
Operational Hours: 9:00am to 6:00pm
Tel. 0916-4364835 Ms. Tessie
After the endless photo opportunities and chitchat with the culinary icons of the place , We finally bid farewell and give them warm hugs and kisses from our group. It is time to go to another town – Bulakan, the former capital of the province and is also known for their great foods, ancestral houses and birthplace of another Philippine hero- Marcelo H. del Pilar .It took us about 30 minutes to reach the shrine.
Marcelo H. del Pilar 10-foot statue is made of cement and bronze which highlighted his life . It is flanked by two bas -relief panels that show his life story. Apolinario Bulaong created the statue and the panels.
Mr. Joey Meneses Rodrigo
Mr. Joey Meneses Rodrigo – We were accompanied by one of the local tourism officers of the town . Sir Joey is related to 2 important families of the town – Meneses and Rodrigo . He is related to the current mayor – Hon. Patrick Neil F. Meneses and former senator and statesman Francisco ” Soc” Rodrigo.
Marcelo H. del Pilar monument and tomb
We were greeted by the curator of the shrine and the group took some time to roam around the place. They are making the shrine more interactive . The shrine and monument is located at Sito Cupang , Barangay San Nicolas , Bulakan .
The shrine and monument stands on a 4,270 square meter lot with an imposing 10 feet tall statue erected in his memory . The statue of Marcelo H. del Pilar serves as the final resting place of the Philippine hero. Del Pilar’s remains were returned to the Philippines from Spain in 1920 and were interred in Manila North Cemetery for 64 years. In 1984, his remains were transferred to the Marcelo H. del Pilar National Shrine.
The two-storey house was constructed in time for the 1998 centenary of Philippine independence from Spain.
Museo Del Pilar marker
The museum -library through the assistance of the Bulakan Municipal Government and President Fidel Valdez -Ramos -presidential social funds constructed and inaugurated on Aug. 30, 1998 for the hero’s 148th birth anniversary. The original house was destroyed several years ago .
Marcelo H. Del Pilar family line
Beside the house there is a family mausoleum. Our group pay homage by silently passing the mausoleum and took time to light some white candles.
the family mausoleum also contained the remains of the relatives and nearest kin
Note : The shrine collects no fees and is open to public from Tuesday to Sunday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For large tour group, a pre-arranged booking is required .
Origin of Bulakan town:
The town of Bulakan is about 18 kilometers away from the present capital Malolos. The town used to be the former capital of the province .To avoid confusion on the name the New Provincial Administrative Code of Bulacan (Ordinance no. C-004) of 2007 states on Chapter 2, Section 15 that the word “Bulakan” stands for the municipality and first capital of the province while “Bulacan” refers to the province itself.
The town of Bulakan, being the first capital of the province, gave the name to the province as customary to the other provinces of the early Philippines (like Cavite, Cavite; Tayabas, Tayabas (now Quezon) or Batangas, Batangas). It was the hub of economic activities and the inhabitants enjoyed excellent trade with Manila, primarily due to its proximity to the city and accessibility through its wide and navigable river.
Bulakan Church / Our Lady of the Assumption Church or more popularly known as Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion Parish Church
intricately carved door
interior of the church
Compared to the 2 other churches that we have visited , the interior of this church is much simple and with less ornamentation. There is also a small parochial museum beside the church entrance .
There was an ongoing wedding so our group just quietly took photos of the notable art pieces and church arts.
Bulakan Cemetery or Campo Santo de Bulakan
We wanted to have a different kind of tour so we decided to visit the old cemetery and pay homage to the famous people and clans that shaped the town. What a nice way to see the different architectural styles and tombs.
stone arch which leads to the older parts of the cemetery
The cemetery is smaller compared to other old cemeteries that are located in Metro Manila . But there is a lot of history that unraveled in this journey. This cemetery was founded during the Spanish regime and old adobe perimeter walls are still intact .
The tour was planned several months ago and thus our group had cooperated with the municipal tourism officer.
This is a crucifix metal statue
( modern style ) Tansimsim clan
We marveled at the different architectural styles of the public cemetery . The crucifix scene looks like the works of the famed metal sculptor Eduardo Castrillo .
Buyson clan tomb with interesting architectural style
Gonzales Buyson family mausoleum is one of the more imposing mausoleum at the cemetery. According to the local folks , they are some of the early pioneers and entrepreneurs of the town.
Ycasiano family tomb – Dr. Santiago Ycasiano y Bello ( below) , Cesar Ycasiano y Rivero (upper left ) and Francisco Ycasiano y Aguilar
What makes this family tomb interesting is a lady paying homage guarding them tomb with wreath
Enriquez- Ramos mausoleum
The mausoleum looks like a miniature chapel in gothic style architecture with nice grill pattern.
Rodrigo family mausoleum
The Rodrigo family mausoleum lies the remain of former Senator Franciso ” Soc ” Rodrigo and his immediate family members .
Senator Franciso ” SOC” Rodrigo tomb
Sir Joey Meneses Rodrigo took the initiative to explain to us some of his major legislation and his contribution to the welfare of the nation.
Lava-Baltazar family mausoleum
Lava-Baltazar family clan members are well-known political figures of Bulakan town . One of the current sanggunian or council members is a direct descendant .
Mr. Vicente Lava ( born 1894 to July 1947) is a communist leader before the war and merged with Socialists in country to form the Hukbalahap movement together with Taruc brothers .
He was a Professor of the University of the Philippines. and He became a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in 1938.
Lava organized in 1940 and 1941 headed the League for the Defense of Democracy, an organization of the progressive intelligentsia. From 1942 he was a member of the political bureau and, from January 1942 to September 1944, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines. From 1946 he was a member of the executive committee of the Democratic Alliance, a bloc of democratic public organizations.
Citation : The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc.
Enriquez Family Mausoleum
This is the family mausoleum of the famed culinary icon Milagros Santiago- Enriquez (birth : November 21, 1923 death: June 8, 2008 ) of Malolos , Bulakan town and Bulacan province .
she was interred on the left side second row of the family mausoleum
The group pay homage to the culinary icon by lightning some candles and Ms. Rheeza S. Hernandez told some interesting stories about her maternal aunt.We quickly end our cemetery tour since it is getting late .
We saw a small group of people holding different saint images having a simple procession along the narrow streets . Some of the participants are children . Some of us candidly took some souvenir shots.
participants riding a pedicab
I remember that this might be a simple transfer of icon from one house to another . You can sense the religiosity of the people .
Lava Ancestral House with interesting entrance arch
The tour group was met by the current owners of the ancestral house Honorable Rosalie Lava ( incumbent councilor ) and her husband – former municipal vice- mayor Mr. Jose B. Lava .
Honorable Rosalie Villanueva Lava- incumbent councilor of Bulakan
Mr. Jose Lava
He was delighted to know that there were some academe and professor that are graduate of the University of the Philippines. They graciously toured us in their home and they even told us that there are some instances that television station would rent the house for their television series ( teleserye) .
The couple even prepared Filipino- style spaghetti , kutsinta and juice.
The gesture caught everyone by surprise ,Since we just ate barely 2 hours ago. According to our hosts , It was their custom to serve people from Metro Manila -their homemade spaghetti since it is popular and special.
We felt the warm hospitality and affection by the couple . Our aim was just to visit the ancestral house and pay homage to the Lava clan.
Senator Franciso ” SOC” Rodriguez Ancestral House
The ancestral house is quite big and had a spacious garden . Unfortunately , We were not able to enter inside , since it was last minute decision to include the house in our itinerary. the group decided to take a group photo to mark the end of the Bulakan town tour.
Senator Francisco ” SOC” Rodrigo (January 29, 1914 – January 4, 1998) is playwright, lawyer, broadcaster, and a Senator of the Third Congress (1955–1957), Fourth Congress (1958–1961), Fifth Congress (1962–1965), and Sixth Congress (1966–1969) of the Republic of the Philippines. He is related to Marcelo H. del Pilar and Gregorio del Pilar
It is past 4:00pm and we still have 3 more places to visit (Enriquez Ancestral House Euro Bakery and Guiguinto Plant Center.
Ms. Rheeza S. Hernandez welcomed the guests
We traveled about 20 to 30minutes going to the ancestral house of the famed Enriquez family . They are respected and one of the pioneers of the place. A lot of their clan members were supporters and members of the revolutionary forces.
Please try to visit the related links for Bulacan Culinary and Heritage Tour Part 1 , Part 2, Part 4
Bulacan Culinary and Heritage Tour Part 1 : https://renz15.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/bulacan-culinary-and-heritage-tour-part-1/
Bulacan Culinary and Heritage Tour Part 2 :https://renz15.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/bulacan-culinary-and-heritage-tour-part-2/
Bulacan Culinary and Heritage Tour Part 4: https://renz15.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/bulacan-culinary-and-heritage-tour-part4/
Beto E. Reyes blog: http://beto-reyes.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-enriquez-family-of-bulacan-bulacan.html