A Visit to Kotse Cafe : Car Wash and Restaurant

Lot 6 Blk 23 Mc Arthur Highway, Potrero, Malabon City , Metro Manila

It was late afternoon around 4:30pm yesterday  ( June 19, 2016)  when our small group composed of  Mr. Dennis Dy Kho , Architect Chieo Ongteco ,Mr. Philip Reyes and the author decided to have a road trip after the special edition walking tour around Intramuros and Ayuntamiento de Manila  to visit Navotas and Malabon area.

Kotse Cafe and Car Wash

We decided to visit Kotse Cafe and ate an afternoon snack at the restaurant . This restaurant opened a little over a year ago and car enthusiasts from  ( Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela )   CAMANAVA based CAR CLUBS usually held their eyeball or monthly meeting at the restaurant and car wash place.

outdoor dining area

The car wash is frequented by patrons from nearby areas and as far as Bulacan area.  The restaurant slogan Wash. Eat .Chill. Repeat is very catchy .

 lounge area

There are also some celebrities and models which also dine at this place.  The restaurant is modern ,cozy and accessible . However the space is quite small with a sitting capacity of just between 25 to 30 people .

peanut and collectible cars on display

The cashier area also sells peanuts in plastic jars . Mr. Dennis Dy Kho and Architect Ongteco lives near this place and are “suki ” or regular patrons of the restaurant .

Kotse Cafe menu board

We ordered nachos with special dip at Php 99 per plate , Kotse Cafe Burger Php 70 , Sausage Bae Php 135 and Mr. Dennis Dy Kho ordered value meal with ice tea .

afternoon snacks

value meal 

value meal consists of rice , burger steak with mushroom gravy , bacon and egg

ice tea pitcher

kotse burger 

Another must see  attraction are the cars , some of them are owned by the proprietors of the place while others are from car enthusiasts and customers.

Kotse Cafe FB

Car wash is open 24 hours Daily except Sunday (6 AM to 12 Midnight ONLY)

Cafe lounge is open from 10 AM to 12 MN Daily

Contact (02) 355 4349



A Visit to Sibil Cemetery in Bulan , Sorsogon : Reconnecting My Family Roots

Bulan , Sorsogon province -Philippines

MRRL Trading and General Merchandise

It is my first time to visit and stayed in the town of Bulan , Sorsogon , We stayed with my second cousin’s home and hardware store at C. Gotladera street . It used to be known as Manuel Trading and was recently renamed to MRRL Trading and General Merchandise   .


C. Gotladera street corner Z.  Asuncion street 

Maternal Great Grandparents

Our maternal family genealogy  can be traced over a century ago, as recounted by my maternal aunts and cousins .  The story started when my maternal great grandfather ( Lolo sa Tuhod ) – Patricio Villanueva Lim from Zamboanga province and maternal great grandmother ( Lola sa Tuhod)  Cristina Tankiko / Tangkeko ( or Tangueco )  who hails from Malabon , Rizal married resulting in the birth of 7  female and 1 male with total of 8 children . The names of the children were  Victorina T. Lim,  Dionisio T. Lim ,  Agueda T. Lim , Otilla T. Lim, Maria T. Lim ,  Rosario T. Lim , Lola Torribia T. Lim and  Asuncion T. Lim. Lola Asuncion or known as Yaya Susoy.  My great grandmother died shortly after she was born .  My maternal grandmother is Lola Torribia T. Lim was born on May 17, 1910.

They settled and stayed in the town of Bulan and their old house is one of the first that got galvanized roof. ( de- galvanizado ) . They also acquired some lands within Bulan and nearby towns . They are considered as one of the prominent families of the place.

marble stoup donated by Mr and Mrs. Juan  R. Grillego and lower marker indicates the name Mrs. Torribia Lim viyuda De Vera 1966 at the Bulan Church

The Bulan church foundation ( one of the pillar ) have the name of my maternal grandmother ( the name of the people who donated to the construction of the church had their name etched in a marker – reconstruction started from 1965 to 1967 ) Unfortunately, the marble marker had been repainted and the donors name cannot be visibly seen .

My maternal grandmother , Lola Torribia Lim- De Vera is one of the siblings of the union. ( Please visit related link : Manila Chinese Cemetery  )

Lola sa Tuhod Cristina Tankiko / Tangkeko  ( or Tangueco ) -Lim is a well -bred mestiza woman , ( Tagala – Chinese lineage ) from Malabon , Rizal – Ms. Myna Uy ( my second cousin ) recounted that she had the privilege to visit the place several decades ago and there were some long lost relatives which visited her few years back from Malabon . She somehow have forgotten the exact barangay and could not recollect . According to her , the family is landed and fairly educated . She probably died around 1912  due to miscarriage, She was between 30 to 35 years-old .She was buried somewhere in Malabon .

According to the stories of my aunts and second cousins, Some of the relatives and nephews of my maternal grandmother would visit them in the mid -1950’s ( around 1954 or 1955 ) in their upholstery store in Gandara aka Sabino Padilla street. They could only remember Mr. Moises Tankiko /Tangkeko ( Tangueco) was around late 40’s  and Mr. Rene Tangkiko/ Tangkeko ( Tangueco) in his late teens.

Lolo sa Tuhod Patricio Villanueva -Lim my maternal great grand father is a mix of Chavacano , Spanish and Chinese who hails somewhere from Zamboanga province. He was probably born around 1860 , since some of my aunts had met him . They told me that he was about 86 years-old in 1946 when they met him. He died a year later in 1947.

My maternal great grandmother died young and my maternal great grand father remarried twice the second wife died shortly . My maternal aunts could not recount her name . I think they have 1 to 2 children .

Lola Tomasa Giro-Lim ( Lola Masa ) from Bulan – They have 2 siblings – Mr. Maximiano Lim and Ms. Salud Lim .

According to the stories of my second cousins: Ms. Myrna Uy and his brothers , My maternal great grandfather  and maternal step great grandmother might have been buried somewhere within this cemetery or was it at the other Catholic cemetery.

l-r Mr.Raymond L. De Vera , Mrs. Nenita L. De Vera and Vice Mayor Tessie Lim-Guran

I think they belonged to the LIM and De Vera family clan . We also paid a visit to the current vice mayor of the town of Bulan and have a courtesy call to Honorable Tessie G. Lim- Guran and her sister whom our maternal lineage are related ( great grandfather is also the same with her ) She is known as ” Para-Bulong ”  sort of faith healer , practicing it for over 30 years ! She lived in Luyo / Loyo or Zone 8  and we saw dozens of people would lined-up and wait for her .

I knew that she would inherit some qualities , since some people would tell us that the family is quite mystical and my maternal grandmother would also conduct some faith-healing session with the locals.

entrance to the civil or sibil cemetery

We have visited the Civil or Sibil cemetery to pay our respects to our Tsinoy fore bearers and to the UY family clan members that were interred at the cemetery . However due to time constrains , We were not able to locate the exact burial location.

 Chinese Martyrs Monument of June 13, 1942 erected on June 13, 1946 during the incumbency of Salvador Escudero – provincial governor 

So Tian Syo Leocadio Corro- Merchant

So Hong Su – Principal

Yap Tiong Kiat – School Teacher

Tan Ka Leong – Merchant

Te Yan Koy – Merchant

Lim Koy Han – Merchant

So Kun Siok – Student

Lee Kim Tian – Student

Tan Lin Siu- Student

Tan Liong Siu – Student

Chinese grave with inscription

Chinese businessmen and students who were shot by the Japanese at the  gate on suspicion of being guerillas or collaborators. Here also lies as the resting place of  many underground guerillas , patriots, fighters and others , both identified and not were interred.

chinese style pagoda entrance

Those who were killed during the many military encounters in Bulan between 1972-76, and hastily buried within the cemetery grounds. .

Mr. Tony Ariado and Mr. Fenito Guan are also buried within the cemetery and  countless of teachers and brave soldiers.

One can easily identify the prominent clans of Bulan, to the west the Geronas, the Galiases, and the De Castro to the eastern portion, the Gillegos and the Gotladeras.

The Sibil / Civil is the resting place of all others, especially of the Tsinoys. In the mid 19th and early 20th century ,  it was only in the  Romano or Campo Santo de Bulan  referring to the old Roman Catholic Cemetery where masses and blessings of the dead were held, but no longer this time. They now say mass in the Sibil.

A visit to the town surely gave a some time to trace my ancestral roots and i think more will surely unravel if i can trace my lost relatives in Malabon , Zamboanga and Sorsogon. Who knows there are more relatives out there .


Different Lumpias ( Spring Rolls ) from the Philippines

Quezon City , Philippines

Chinese style -lumpia from Sincerity Restaurant, Binondo

Lumpia is a common term for any egg roll , spring roll , vegetable rolls that is Chinese in origin but through centuries of assimilation and adaptation to suit the local taste, preference, availability of the ingredients and due to health reasons  . There had been different  varieties of the lumpias in the country. It is more popularly called ” spring roll” since most of the vegetables used in the ingredients are grown in spring and it is normally eaten as a festival food during ” Spring Festival ” which coincide with Chinese New Year .

I have some relatives and friends who lives in Malabon / Navotas areas and some of them called  it ”  Sumpia” . I do not know where did they get the name but somehow the name eventually evolve .

Lumpiang Shanghai ala New Toho Restaurant ( This is one of the favorite meal of Dr. Jose Rizal) – The New Toho Restaurant  had more meat compared to the regular lumpia.

The recipes, both fried and fresh versions, were brought by Chinese immigrants from the Fujian province of China to Southeast Asia and became popular where they settled in Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Lumpiang Shanghai ala Ilang-Ilang restaurant

Lumpiang Shanghai is one of the MUST Try menu at the Ilang-Ilang Restaurant in Binondo . It is bigger compared to the other Lumpiang Shanghai in Binondo area.

Lumpiang Shanghai is not a spring roll that came from Shanghai , China.  It was more of a marketing style to lure people asking for a more specific name to the spring roll. It is sometimes called Lumpiang Baboy because of the main ingredient , which is ground pork meat. But according to some Filipino-Chinese , people name these spring roll to Shanghai because of the many Fujian, Cantonese, Taiwan dishes in the country.

Shanghai is more cosmopolitan and urban in nature which makes this dish more international appeal. Hence it was called ever since.

Globe Lumpia located in 740 Raon St. ( Gonzalo Puyat street ), Quiapo, Manila.

Globe Lumpia or Lumpiang Sariwa is the most popular spring roll hole in a wall type of eatery near Quiapo church . I usually order 2 to 3 Globe lumpia . They are one of the cheapest in Manila. Their special ingredient includes julienne papaya , jicama  ( picama/ singkamas) , sayote/ chayote with generous topping of crush peanuts, finely chop fresh garlic and their special sauce. The most busy day is friday and on weekends. It is best to accompany the lumpia with softdrink like sarsi or sprite.

The store had been there since 1956 .  The price increased from 20 centavos in the 1950’s to Php 18.00 . The restaurant can only accommodate between 15 to 20 people. I would always frequent the place since i  just lived just a few blocks away, until a few years ago. Some television shows like Kris TV, Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho , Ceasar Montano and even Dolphy are some of the famous clientele of the place.

Lumpiang Bangus – Milk Fish Spring Roll

Milk Fish Spring Rolls or Lumpiang Bangus may have traced its origin to the milk fish producing provinces of Pangasinan, Sarangani, Davao area.  The main ingredient is from milk fish fillet . This is a healthy spring roll , But compared to the regular Lumpiang Shanghai or Lumpiang Frito – This is more expensive . In a recent food fair, I also have tasted Lumpiang Tahong ( made from mussles ) from Cavite province. There is also Lumpiang Kanduli or Creme Dory spring roll. These are some of the spring rolls that i have tasted .

There are mostly fried , wrapped fresh with the cooked ingredients which consists of vegetables and some meat. Most people refer Chinese -style lumpia because of the main filling is made of sauted chopped carrots, green beans, tofu, bean sprouts , mushrooms, sayote ,crush peanuts , fried and crush vermicelli noodles, hoti ( type of green seaweed ) , lettuce leaves ,wansoy ( chopped coriander leaves) , with sweet sauce or slightly spicy sauce. Some would like more more fresh chopped garlic included in the wrapper , some do not like fresh garlic and wansoy ( chopped coriander leaves ) . BUT i loved them.

Lumpia Puso ng Saging (  banana blossom spring rolls)

Lumpia Puso ng Saging or Banana Blossom Spring Roll is not popular in mainstream Philippine culinary palate , But once you tasted it , you will be a convert . It is one of the alternatives for meat and oily deep fried spring rolls. The ingredients is quite common especially when you come from a province where there are a lot of banana plants in bloom.

The common variety of banana blossom is  the saging na saba ( a type of plantain) .  I have tasted this lumpia in a gathering of some senior citizen which prefers this type of lumpia compared to lumpiang shanghai  . This is the same with Lumpiang Kabute ( Mushroom Spring roll) In mushroon growing areas , They used 2 to 3 types of mushroom , chop them finely combined with tofu , carrots and spices. They can be a good alternative to the usual fried lumpia.

The dipping sauce is very varied too, Some use ordinary vinegar with some finely chopped garlic, shallots , chilli peppers and ground peppers. Other favorite condiments includes, banana ketchup, soy sauce with vinegar with finely chopped onions, chilli peppers and calamansi .

The banana blossom lumpia is much cheaper to make compared to the mushroom lumpia .  One big banana blossom only cost between Php 15 to Php 30 in local wet market ( depending on season and availability )

Lumpiang Shanghai by Ambos Mundos

Ambos Mundos is one of the oldest restaurant in Santa Cruz, Manila area . The restaurant offers Filipino, Chinese and Spanish dishes . One of the fave is their Lumpiang Shanghai .

Lumpiang Ubod / Sariwa by Max’s restaurant

Lumpiang Ubod ng Niyog- This is one of the most popular spring rolls being offered by Goldilocks, Max’s restaurant , Kunina ni Kambal among several others. The main ingredients are the young coconut  heart are sauteed with shrimp and pork, rolled in crepe-like wrappers made with flour , egg and cornstarch. Special coconut farms specifically for the production of palms. If unavailable , Picama /Jicama  / Singkamas can be used to substitute .

home -style lumpia

The author have tasted at least around a dozen or so variation with different types of ingredients and preparation. I have an aunt who prepares Filipino- Chinese style of lumpia with 18 ingredients .  I tried to collectively write about the different types of lumpias that i have eaten , mostly in Metro Manila . But i think that there are more than a dozen  of spring roll variants.

This is our home-style version of lumpia- It is our way of combining different ingredients and cooking styles. The wrapper is home made .

Lumpiang Tagalog by Kusina ni Kambal

The cheapest and one of the most underrated ones are Lumpiang Frito / Lumpiang Toge or Lumpia Gulay ( normally fried )  – without the wrappers, The dish is called Lumpia Hubad or Lumpia Tagalog. 

lumpiang frito  is also called lumpiang gulay ,lumpiang toge

They are commonly sold as street foods all over the country and price range from Php 4.00 to about Php 40.00 in posh malls. Spring rolls or lumpia ingredients vary from one family to another . It may also due to the availability of the ingredients.

Mann Hann restaurant serve lumpia. Delis like Little Store, DEC, or sunday market bazaar regular Yen Ching , New Po Heng near Binondo church , GLOBE lumpia in Quiapo , Maki Place, New Eastern Restaurant along Ongpin street, Sincerity in Yuchengco street ( formerly called Nueva)  , Polland , Baliwag Lechon among others.

Malabon Food Trip

Malabon City -Philippines

Last February 26, 2011 the author met Mr. Doy Arriola of Pinoy Frugal Chow, which organized the food trip. We met at the MRT North Triangle station at around past 9 am together with 6 other people. Just like any informal lakwatsa group with the same passion over food, heritage and travel. Everybody seems very comfortable with each other. After the introduction, the group decided to rent a taxicab to meet our travel guides in Malabon.

colorful buntings adds festive atmosphere to the malabon waterway

Malabon used to be a rich swampland inhabited by a few hundred of people before the Spaniards came.

Mr. Monchet Lucas -owner of the restaurant

The group went to stopover at the Pescadores Restaurant and met its owner Mr. Monchet Lucas, Architect Richard Tuason – Bautista an active member of the Heritage Conservation Society and NCCA, Ms. Cecile Manapat a proud Malabon native and a  blogger of My Malabon. and a couple of  French students doing some research on old colonial districts of Metro Manila.  Our group swell from eight to well over a dozen.

ceiling of the restaurant  with lights

Pescadores restaurant used to stand on what was once a fishpond before the reclamation during the1970’s, hence the restaurant’s name, which is Spanish for fisherman.

The restaurant is like art galleries were collections of various paintings hung along its wall. The restaurant can be rented- out on special occasions and is a popular event venue center in this side of Malabon.

blue colored vintage bottles functioned as vases decorate the dining area

According to the owner, the massive reclamation projects happened during the time of the former first lady Madam Imelda Marcos (also head of Ministry of Human Settlement and Metro Manila Governor) in the late 1970’s that eventually filled up some old fishponds and worsened the flooding situation in the area as the reclamation did not care to account how Malabon’s waterways work.

Mrs. Marcos dream of “ Metro Manila as City of Man ” eventually started several reclamation projects all over the city.  It is recommended for big groups to pre-book before coming to the restaurant .

The establishment is available for any special occasion upon appointment. The restaurant is divided into three areas: Function Room, Restaurant and the newly built Special Function Room with terrace and an outdoor garden space.

restaurant signage  fronting Letre road in Malabon

Pescadores Restaurant  Address: #4 to 6 P. Aquino Street, Malabon City
Telephone:  288-77-20, 288-62-96
Dining Hours: Lunch 11:30 am to 2:30 pm
Dinner 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Mondays to Saturdays

However, Some of Malabon’s striving industries are slowly declining due to some environmental issues like reclamation projects, pollution, climate change and rapid population growth among others.

signage of music band

The city is well- known for its colonial houses, churches, sugar cane industrial estate, fish sauce factories, community music band, tabacalera, various native delicacies, fishponds, shell crafts, convent schools and a host of a zoological center for those interested in animals and plants.

Malabon has this connection to the water thanks to its close proximity to the bay and the presence of Manila Bay’s tributaries like the Navotas (Ambion) and Tullahan River flowing around this city.

The colonial Spaniards who founded this settlement way back in 1599 and used to be part of Tondo . The new masters began to take advantage of the potential of the place they called then as “Tambobong,” a place considered before as just land where plants like the tambo (tiger grass) and Labong ( edible bamboo shoots) would strive.

Tiger grass  or Thysanolaena maxima

Thysanolaena maxima Belongs to the family Graminae.  This grass has a great economic potential and ecological importance, because it is a main source of material in the soft broom-making industry.

This native grass has a bamboo like appearance and grows up to 10 feet tall. This evergreen blooms in  late September  with foliage turning gold  by late November which is the onset of dry season .  Leaves tend to curl at night re-opening during daytime. This grass can be grown in or out of the water and is good for large ponds. The plant can thrive in full sun to part-shade and can tolerate muddy shores and is salt tolerant.

Tambobong was said to have been one of the tribal domain of Rajah Soliman, cousin of Rajah Matanda of the Kingdom of Tondo area.

Historians would still argue on the origin of the etymology, Some accounts say that the origin was derived from “ May labong “, a few would argue that is was derived from a bamboo musical instrument called “ bombong “, others say it came from compounded Spanish words “mala” and “bon/buen,” good and bad which took into account Malabon’s bad muddy shores  which  dirtied the clothes and shoes of the conquistadors , good atmosphere and rich marine resources found there.

Historians would recall that the town’s commerce and trade grew during the advent of the Spaniards colonial regime with the opening of the Manila –Acapulco Galleon trade.

Chinese ships would dock their cargo in neighboring ( Ambion) now Navotas . The Chinese cargo ships were not allowed to enter the old- Manila port (near the present day Plaza Mexico).

bicycle with passengers

Colorful bicycle ply the small streets and alleys of Malabon – the bicycle ‘s wheel is slightly elevated to prevent flood waters from reaching its passengers during high tide or rainy season.

bicycles  of Malabon

Somehow this would reminiscent people of transportation like rickshaws in other Asian countries. Some of the author’s relatives also resides in Malabon along M.H. Del Pilar Street  in Barangay Tugatog and had fond memories of the place.

old tranvia lines crossing the Malabon river -personal collection of  Mr. Daniel Santos

Old- folks would also recall tranvia lines would bring commerce and trade in the place during the Spanish, American and even up to the Japanese occupation.

Malabon had always fascinated people’s culinary palate and had an interesting architectural heritage. Our first stop for lunch is Mely’s Carinderia or simply called Ate Mely’s Carinderia “eatery”. This place retains a simple charm of an old-town eatery.  This place had a reputation as one of the best eatery in the town. When we arrived at the eatery, there were arrays of around 30 or so dishes being served.

the author together with the Ms. Milagros Tuason

Some of the eatery specialties are Tapang Kabayo, Tortang Alimango, Kare-Kare , Adobong Pusit , Adobong Manok  among others.

assortment of home cooked meals

The price of per viand serving is not so cheap compared to the eateries of Sampaloc and University Belt areas but is well upon the reach of any ordinary person.

I ordered one of the famed specialties Tortang Alimango.  The ingredient was cooked with scrabbled eggs, crabmeat flakes, ground pork, garlic and onions fried in vegetable oil. It was presented like a whole pizza cut into triangular section. The presentation is quite different from what I am used to. The most common practice is to put the meat back to the crab carapace.

tortang alimango with banana ketchup

It depends on the person on what condiments would they like to accompany the torta  (soy sauce, vinegar, hot sauce etc.) but banana ketchup, as a condiment is perfect combination.

It was the freshness of the ingredient that makes the Tortang Alimango different from other parts of the metropolis. While walking to nearby eateries, I again saw several eateries serving Tortang Alimango . I guess this is a popular viand in the area and not a sole monopoly of Aling Mely’s .

tapang kabayo with sauce

I also tasted the famous Tapang Kabayo (Horse meat) of the eatery; Compared to other tapang kabayo in the metropolis, the meat is not tough, with a lot of sauce and spices.  While eating,  we were met by Mr. Alvin Tan a blogger who arrived few hours late from the meeting place.

A few photo opportunities with the entrepreneur Ms. Milagros R. Tuason capped the first stop. The carinderia is roughly around 40 square meters and a dozen or so people can easily fill –up the available sitting space.

The carinderia also accepts catering and reservations.

Ate Mely’s Carinderia

Address: 10 Andres Bonifacio Street, Malabon , Metro Manila

Telephone # 281-63-16 / 282-62-99

turon pinipig with caramelized sugar coating

Tessie’s Puto Store- For an early snack, we visited this store. This sari-sari store serves some of the most interesting merienda items in this part of the town. The store specializes in puto (rice cake) and ( turon) .Unfortunately , when we arrived there, they have not yet cooked the puto . The store also sells quek-quek and fish balls.

The group then tried some dessert, In this part of Malabon , they had a different kind of call Turon  which they  called the turon pinipig, A triangular shape  pinipig and a thick caramelized  sugar coating .  Most of us would remember that a turon is a stuffed saba banana with nagka/ langka  (jackfruit) wrapped in lumpia wrapper then fried in vegetable oil. The turon of Malabon actually contains munggo or mung beans rather than the usual banana in it. (The banana turon actually called Balensiya / Valencia in Malabon)

Travelers and Food bloggers must try this one!

Tessie’s Puto Store

Address: Flores Street, Malabon

Contact # 281-58-04

We pass the old tabacalera factory and this vicinity also had a tiangge- style market every Saturday were live freshwater aquarium fishes, parakeets, cockatiels, finches, African lovebirds, dogs, rabbits,  plants are being sold. This is the equivalent of a weekend market in this part of Metro Manila.

roving store with freshwater aquarium fish on sale

The place is a beehive of some sorts for animal, plants and pet lovers. It is best to come to the place early .

Rufina Fish Sauce Factory

When you hear Rufina this is synonymous to one of the industries that made Malabon famous . There are also several homemade patis around the corner. However due to lack of time, the group was not able to explore the nooks and details of the factory.

Fish sauce is very important in the culinary heritage not just of our country but in all Southeast Asian and even some Asian nations.

Patis, called Nuoc Nam in Vietnam and Nam Pla in Thailand, is a pungent condiment made from fish in brine solution left to ferment outdoors. Patis is a major ingredient in Filipino cuisine though westerners sometimes call it “stinking” fish sauce. “ Patis “ is added in many foods to add taste and Pancit Malabon is no exception.

Address: 290 Cayetano Arellano Street, Malabon

Contact:  (632) 281-62-30   fax  (632) 281-56-36

house balcony full with rows of potted flowering euphorbia  hybrids

House of Mrs. Rosy Pacheco with potted orchids on the balcony

Rosy’s Pacheco Pancit Malabon

Aling Rosy Pacheco is by-word among Malabon locals.  Her restaurant has been considered the hallmark of what was the original and best tasting  Pancit Malabon is.

Her restaurant had a humble story which started as a small family eatery -type of operation more than 60 years ago.  Soon people from far flung communities could came and savor the taste of her home style pancit .  Rosy Pacheco’s Pancit became a household name as its famed Pancit Malabon . Television shows, food magazines and food bloggers would feature her restaurant.

It was unfortunate though that Aling Rosy Pacheco, the second-generation proprietor of the restaurant for almost 60 years passed on the night before. So we decided to drop by the place anyway to pay our respects to Malabon icon.

signage in front of Aling Upeng’s store

Aling Upeng’s  Que Kiam and Siopao

The local people fondly call the small sari-sari store Aling Upeng. One could easily pass this small store without knowing that they sell Que Kiam and Siopao .  Thanks for the small signage! Unlike other que kiam in the market, ingredients which are made either from, fish, pork or chicken meat. Aling Upeng’s Que Kiam / Kikiam is made from picama / singkamas with bits of pork meat which is a healthier options.

Aling Upeng’s Que Kiam with its unique sauce

Address: Cayetano Arellano Street corner Cuatro Cantos

assorted kinds of native kakanins being sold at the Visita

A visit to the nearby wet market locals called the market “ Visita” in Barangay Concepcion revealed that Aling Upeng does not have the monopoly of the product since a couple of wet market vendors claimed that they also made similar and even had cheaper Que Kiam compared to Aling Upeng .   Humm sounds market competition!!!!

stall of Nanay Ising at the Visita market, notice the tapang kabayo and que kiam

Nanay Ising Market Stall in the wet market of Concepcion sells a variety of tapang kabayo , bagoong , atsara , quekiam , tocino, longganisa and a dealer of a well-known brand of Tocino.

freshly caught marine crabs with full of aligi ( eggs ) at the Visita market

Dolor’s Kakanin which first delighted people in the late 1930’s with its wide array of food choices, in particular native delicacies like the sapin-sapin, ube, cassava cake, biko to name a few. It still is based on its original home along a narrow alley way near the Immaculate Concepcion church.

Martinez family clan home – The  light green colored walls protect the spacious art deco inspired home to be seen by unsuspecting passers-by is located in front of the famed Arny Dading’s native peachy -peachy

Arny Dading Peachy Peachy

Located on Cayetano Arellano Street near the Art Deco homes of the Martinez clan is Arny Dading the store takes pride with their Peachy-Peachy – made from cassava, this delectable mouth watering dessert is topped with cheese. This is an all time favorite pasalubong .

Address: C. Arellano Street, Barangay Baritan,Malabon

Tel. Nos. 281-06-37 and 281-06-41

The store had several branches in other parts of Metro Manila.

pianono rolls a specialty of R.B. Gregorio Bread House

Conception Bakery or R.B. Gregorio Bread House is considered as one of the most famous and perhaps the oldest existing bakery in the locality. Until recently, the bakery takes pride for having a pugon style manner of baking their breads, now they use modern equipments for baking their breads. According to one of the vendor – using the traditional pugon style baking increased their cost (rising prices for wood) and time-consuming preparation in baking the bread. The bakery started their operations in 1947.

The bakery specialties are the Pianono rolls, Spanish bread, Pan de Coco, Pan de Putok , Camachile , Broas, Pan de Sal, Cheese bread  among others.

a participant  sampling the famous pianono roll

Compared to other pianono rolls being sold in other parts of the country, the rolls are much bigger not too sweet and very soft.

R.B. Gregorio Bread House

Address: 306 General Luna Street corner Bernardo Street, Conception, Malabon, Metro Manila

Store Operation: 4am to 12midnight

Contact: 281-03-41

Church of the Immaculate Conception

The church was built way back in 1886, making it one of the oldest churches in the city. The church underwent a number of “makeover” changes in recent years, activities that were criticized by many, as they did not help preserve the church’s history. There is a huge statute of Jesus Christ within the Parish church.

statute of Jesus Christ in open arms is located within the church courtyard

A historical marker with NHI inscription showed the historical importance of the church.

He parochial school is located in 272 General Luna Street, Concepcion , Malabon .

One of the most prominent and perhaps the wealthiest part of Malabon in terms of colonial style-houses and historical value is barangay Concepcion

Rojas- Borja Ancestral House built in 1923

The lower floors of the house served as a Pharmacy several years ago.

Lugaw ni Onoy

facade of Lugaw ni Onoy

Located a few meters away from Immaculate Church is Lugaw ni Onoy this is the main specialty of the store, it serves mainly lugaw or rice porridge.

The store also serves noodles, variety of short orders from Pork Asado Rice Meal, Chili pork with rice, Buttered Chicken, Beef Brisket, Chili Shrimp, Crispy Shrimp, Sweet and Sour Shrimp, Tokwa Fish with Rice, Hototay Soup, Nido Soup, Chicken Asparagus and Soup Number 5 is made from cows testicle.

Left- Soup Number  5 ( one of the must -try soup )

Mr.Doy Arriola enjoyed the Lugaw Utak

Compared to other store that offers the same menu around the Metro, the price of Soup  number 5  in this eatery  is cheaper than those in Sta. Cruz or Binondo in Manila.

Lugaw with tokwa and brain as side dish

Its Lugaw menu is also varied from the ordinary to the exotic ones like the Lugaw Mata and Lugaw Utak, which respectively consist of parts from a cow’s eyes and brain. One can choose from an array of about a dozen lugaw meals.


The store also served halo-halo that had an average taste enough to quench the heat of afternoon sun.

author posed for a souvenir shot before crossing the river

The group then tried to cross the river and paying a small amount Php 3.00 from the banks of Malabon going to Navotas side and another Php 3.00 going back to  Malabon side.

ship dock at this portion of the river

flowering zinnas in one of the houses near the river ferry station

Zinnas are an annual or perennial plants native of the family Asteraceae. Zinnias come in 20 or so species of composite flowers. The flowers are ideal for indoor arrangements. Zinnias bloom in a wide variety of colors with large, mixed blooms.

hanging plants in plastic containers , basil, lemon grass and herbs

The houses at the nearby ferry stop had an array of plants, flowering bougainvilleas, santans ( ixora) , flowering zinnas, herbal garden and an array of native orchids like Phalaenopsis intermedia, Dendrobium cucullatum proof that residents are also fond of growing plants despite the fact some of the plants are not tolerant to salt spray coming from the Manila Bay . Somehow adaptation makes the plants hardier.

Mayor John Rey Tiangco of Navotas poster

workers  gamely pose for a group shot at the Navotas ferry boat station

group shot at the Malabon ferry boat station

House with capiz windows and air tunnel on its roofs which acts as an additional ventilation – notice the mural art on the facade of the stone house

Mr.Mario Luna House – notice the intricate floral designs made from wood

on Cayetano Arellano Street are several  heritage houses that stand proudly side by side.  Mario Luna House  built in the 1890′ s. Just like any houses on C. Arellano street. , its ground floor has become much lower than street level.

The Teodoro Luna House has been more fortunate than its neighbor because its ground floor is higher — still three or four steps up from the street.  You can  notice the graceful iron grill works  . I just wonder if the two houses owners are distant cousins ?

Ismael Lapuz and Magdalena Santos Ancestral House

The group then past walks several colonial style houses passing the old house with the main gate had an initials of Ismael Lapuz (IL) and Magdalena Santos (MS) grandparents of of GMA Kapuso Channel 7 CEO and Chairman Atty. Felipe L. Gozon.

The old house said to be built in 1881 with a spacious garden with lots  of Malunggay trees , Caimito trees ,  Mac Arthur palms  .

Paez House with iron window grills and ugly graffiti signs

Another notable house Paez House built in 1877. When the street were elevated due to floods.  Now the house looks smaller than before.

former home of Ms. Evelyn Santos- Camus , Binibining Pilipinas – International 1971 title holder

 This house located just across the Paez House is the home of Binibining Pilipinas –International 1971 and Miss International 1971 2nd runner-up Ms. Evelyn Santos Camus.  The house had since been remodeled to suit the modern outlook of its new owner.

Miss Evelyn Camus  in terno , Philippines national costume parade at the 1971 Miss Intentional pageant held in Long Beach, California,  USA

Picture is from: Maharlika sa Larawan http://www.missosology.info/forum/viewforum.php

plastic food container from Japan, China, Korea and United States on sale

This home doubles as an ukay-ukay (thrift) store selling different arrays of vintage figurine, glasses, plastics, porcelain dish, toys, vases and other stuffs from Japan and other parts of the globe.

red postal coin bank from Japan

A red postal mailbox coin holder eventually caught the fancy of the author, which decided to buy the coin holder for sentimental reasons.According to the staff , This is a limited edition postal coin bank issued by Japan Post , you need to purchase about 10,000 yen in Japan post office before they can give you this as a souvenir.

Well, whether this is a sales pitch or not ? Who cares?

cups , plates , serving dish , bowl from Japan, Korea , China and United States tuck in one corner of the house

Some of the participants also bought some interesting figurines and even toys from the store.

Benedicto Santos -Luna family clan house

originally owned by the Santos-Luna family, This heritage house is a three-story Filipino colonial period Ilustrado house built in the early  1900s. It is located at General Luna cor. Paez Sts., Barangay Concepcion and is presently abandoned and slowly deteriorating .

cartoon characters Squid ward and Sponge Bob in wall mural along General Luna street

Interesting folk art in the wall  are murals  of  Sponge-Bob Square Pant and Squid ward reminding citizens in the vicinity not to throw garbage on the street corner.

Tropicana Studio is considered as a landmark and was  opened by prominent Malabon photographer Mr. Dominador  Cruz or simply ” Mang Ador “. The photography studio started its operation in 1945.

What makes this humble studio so prominent is that it has served as the photo studio of choice of many celebrities over 65 the years, which earned him the distinction, “ Celebrity Photographer ”   Being  hired  as a  photographer of the famous LVN film studio . Soon afterward, some of rival film outlets like Sampaguita Pictures and Premiere Studio would also sought his service.

The company’s motto  “ For Excellent Photography “. Tropicana Studio stands along side with the record of their achievements.

His photo studio has become a photo gallery /museum of some sorts that displayed hundreds of star photos from the late 1940’s even up to the present.  Some of the glamor and pictorial shots by the celebrities eventually were used in movie promotions and movie postcards.

gallery of celebrities among the roster of clientele of this photo studio

This photo studio takes pride of having rare pictures of former presidents of the country.

cast of Ang TV Kids shown on ABS-CBN channel 2 circa 1990’s

According to one of the staffs, the defunct Ang TV Kids of ABS-CBN channel 2 would ask their studio to take pictorials  of their young stars.

L-R Mr. Juan Rodrigo ,  Ms. Judy Ann Santos, Ms Beverly Vergel  and Ms.Galdys Reyes from Mara Clara

The production crews would also arrange our photographers to take pictures of  the cast in the 1990’s afternoon soap opera Mara Clara . The original show was aired by ABS-CBN channel 2 from June 22, 1992 to February 14 , 1997  . Since the last airing , there had been a remake of this popular soap opera featuring new casts.

Ms. Angelica dela Cruz

celebrities like Ms. Angelica dela Cruz, Mr. Rhoderick Ramos –Santos aka (Erick Santos), Mr. Cipriano “Alwyn” Sumulong Uytingco III ( Alwyin Uytingco ) is said to frequent the place before they became stars.

Before the group left the studio, Our group  decided to have some  photo opportunity as souvenir.

Tropicana Photography Studio

Contact Person: Atty. Vergel Cruz

Address: 252 General Luna Street. Concepcion ,Malabon City

Telephone # 281-2987 /281-3167

Fax: 281-55-41

signage of Jamico’s Restaurant

Our group headed for Jamico’s Restaurant more popularly known as Judy Ann’s Crispy Pata being established in 1972. According to one of our local guide, the former name of the restaurant is Judy Ann however during the course of business registration, it was found out by the owners that they cannot use the name anymore since there was another restaurant which had the same name (Judy Ann) so they had to use the trade name Jamico

Ms. Karl Aguilar – blogger ( Urban  Roamer Journal) pose for a souvenir shot in front of the store

The house specialty is Crispy Pata! Unlike other crispy pata in town, the sweet taste of the pata makes it a totally different appeal. Jamico’s  Pata is best served hot with pickle relish and sauce.

This restaurant also boasts of being included in the “ List of Best Food Remembered “ featured on  Philippine Daily Inquirer –Lifestyle Section that mentioned their crispy pata as one of the best food in Metropolis.

crispy pata with pickle relish and special soy sauce

The quaint store can accommodate up to 60 people. Aside from the crispy pata ,  the store other specialties includes  pancit , camaron rebosado , tortang baboy, , chicken ,  lumpiang shanghai , lechon macao, bola-bola pork ,  sweet and sour pork . The restaurant also accepts catering and reservation.

Jamico’s Restaurant / Judy Ann’s Crispy Pata and Restaurant

Address: 201 General Luna, Brgy . Ibaba , Malabon City

Store Hours: 9am to 10 pm  Monday to Sunday

Telephone # 281-41-93

Malabon Cityhall

The group then headed to city center, Residents of the areas would still refer the city hall as poblacion that is dominated by the 11-story glass window skyscraper that is actually the Malabon City Hall. The new Malabon Cityhall is the tallest structure in this side of the city.

San Bartolome bell towers -photograph taken near the city hall complex

Adjacent to the building were the sports complex, San Bartolome Church and cemetery, police station, Malabon Central Market and a covered court that also serves as a function area.

Malabon Central Market

signage of Betsy’s Cake Center

Betsy’s Cake Center which opened its doors in 1962 is just located a few steps from the Cityhall . This local bakeshop predated the arrival of the more prominent bakeshops in Metro Manila. The local pronounce it “ Betchie”. Even with stiff competition from commercial bakeries and bread shops in recent years, many folks, still patronize this bakeshop not just because of its Malabon  pride but its baked products and friendly crews.

Broas one of the specialty of this bakeshop

The specialty of this bakeshop is the special and regular Broas – the only difference is the fillings and ingredients used. There price difference is not much,  only one-peso difference between regular and special.

Other specialties of the bakeshop include Brazo de Mercedes, Cheese Cakes, Sponge Cake, Mocha Rolls, Ube Rolls, Mocha Crunch, Betsy Roll and Custard Cake among others.

We saw that this bakeshop had a lot of patrons . Proof to the pudding is that this bakeshop had a following among local residents and from other parts of the metro.

The store had a small parking space and those who wanted to buy in bulk  is encourage to pre-order  their house specialties, especially during peak season when supplies may be limited.

Besty’s Cake Center

Address: 10 Rizal Avenue, adjacent to  Malabon Cityhall , Malabon City

Contact # 281-11-27 / 281-11-31

San Bartolome Church and Cemetery

The parish of San Bartolome in Malabon was first established in 1614 but the present church itself was somewhat younger. The current structure was completed in 1861 , with the columns and the twin bell towers added to it 7 years later. The sight of the church’s unique architecture would make this a familiar and beloved iconic structure.

church dome

The church was featured several times on postcards and a tranvia line that ran in front of the church.

Currently, this historic church is undergoing a “renovation” of sorts as flourishing are being added to its exterior. Old materials like adobe walls give-way for cement finishing and giving the church a more modern look. It could be a win-win solution for the parish, community and the town’s colonial church heritage.

tombstone of prominent Malabon residents are buried inside the church

Have the parish priest consulted people from the National Historical Institute, Heritage Conservation Society or other concern agencies for the church renovations? Based from what the group saw during our visit, the renovation of these structures will forever deface Malabon with history and pride.

steel scaffolding beside the church main pulpit near the altar

Right next door to the church is the San Bartolome Cemetery that is also undergoing renovations. To those who are interested in old tombstones, things don’t look good if you plan to visit that cemetery one of these days.

list of bodies exhumed at the cemetery

There are also plans by the parish to open a crematorium that according to some residents might pose a health hazards to the residents. Still more questions are being thrown rather than being solved. Will the Malabon clergy listen to the plight of these historical buildings and monuments???? Hope not.

family mausoleum

I must commend those people in Malabon for their fight to preserve the colorful past and Mr. Doy Arriola, Architect Richard Bautista, Ms. Cecile Manapat for the warm hospitality and the arranged trip to Malabon.

houses on the Navotas side


As the group entered the final leg of the day –long trip, we decided to cross the bridge that connects  Malabon and Navotas.

group picture

As the sun begun to set down, we went to Aling Norma’s Special Pancit Lug-log in order to savor the taste of their specialty, which is pancit lug-log. Pancit lug-log is the term used since the noodles are dipped into boiling water hence the name “lug-log” to dip the noodles into boiling water.

Aling Norma’s Pancit Luglog

Unlike other pancit lug-log which proliferates in the city, Aling Norma’s pancit luglog noodles are bigger, with shrimps, pork, chicharon , egg slices, chopped spring onions and sauce made from achuete seeds.

Other house specialty includes puto with salted egg and grated cheese toppings. Puto is best accompanied their pancit lug-log.

Aling Norma’s  puto

It totally depends on the person’s taste bud and whether or not he / she would prefer a more saucy appeal on their pancit lug-log or pancit Malabon .

The price of Aling Norma’s Pancit Lug-log at Php 70.00 per serving price range  is  average ( not too cheap and not so expensive)  given the fact that it had more shrimps. Just like any food trips, food tasting is not just satisfying your own taste bud but you had to rate the  cleanliness of the restaurant whether small or big,   service – how fast or slow, ambiance, friendliness of the service crew, price ,  its  total appeal and maybe historical value.

facade of the restaurant

The store can accommodate between 50 to 70 people at anytime. Reservation is highly encouraged for those planning to go and eat at the restaurant.

Those who like to order in bulk (bilao style) they encourage to  pre-order by phone.

Norma’s Pancit Luglog

Address: L. R. Yangco Street, Navotas City

Contact # 282-47-40 /282-12-80


My Malabon blog : www.mymalabon.com

Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malabon

Malabon Cityhttp://www.malabon.gov.ph/