Malabon Tour, Food Trip and Old, Heritage Houses
The tour's designated meeting place was Pescadores Restaurant (pescadores means fishermen in Spanish) at the corner of Letre Road and Dagat-dagatan Avenue, where a hearty lunch was served gratis to all guests. Notable of the food served were the unique patis-flavored adobo (usual adobo recipes use toyo (soy sauce) and not patis (fish sauce)) and Pancit Malabon, the eponymous comfort food of the city closely related to pancit luglug and pancit palabok.
After a brief introduction, the group was arranged into more manageable groupings and proceeded in convoy to our destination.
On passing the bridge, Tutubi was able to snap a photo of Asilo de Huérfanos (Asylum of Orphans) made of adobe. It was at Asilo de Huerfanos where the newspaper of the Philippine Revolution and subsequently of the Philippine-American War, the Antonio Luna-guided La Independencia, was said to be first printed as displayed on the newspaper's masthead. (In reality, this was just to mislead the Spanish authorities, the printing press was located in a clandestine location in Manila, the same printing press of the earlier La Libertad (Kalayaan) paper ordered closed by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo).
Picture of Asilo de Huérfanos taken through the tinted window of the van
The group first visited the San Bartolome church with its Greek-style columns and saw the ghastly renovations being done that practically erased the original features of the heritage church.
Across the street is Betsy's Cake House to have a taste of their broas, soft and delicious unique to malabon though quite pricey (for the penny-pinching Tutubi) at P17.50 a piece. The works of a contemporary of Fernando Amorsolo (a Philippine National Artist in painting), silent artist Serafin Serna, were on display with his conservative style of painting.
After a short pilgrimage to Concepcion Church, with it's large ceiling paintings, a tour of old heritage houses ensued, first with the Dionisio house (still beautiful but unoccupied), the beautifully preserved Borja House, the sinking Gonzales House that features adaptive re-use of floodwater turned into a lagoon teeming with fish, and three Luna houses, one of which has a ceiling painting by Fernando Amorsolo. (The group weren't able to enter the house where Amorsolo's painting is present due to the owner's request not to be disturbed owing to a recent stroke). Nearby is also Dolor's Kakanin famous for their sapin-sapin.
Borja House in front of Concepcion Church
Luna House, with a ceiling painting of Fernando Amorsolo
Gonzales House dated 1877, notice the half-submerged window and the 1877 date prominently displayed
Old Spanish heritage houses of Malabon, like typical bahay na bato (stone houses) architecture, are usually two-storey structures. The ground floor is made up of brick stones or adobe while the second floor made of wood. Use of capiz (a kind of mother of pearl) on large windows to allow light to enter the room (Capiz is to the Philippines; Paper is to the Japanese) aided by high ceilings, ventanillas (small windows) or wood balusters permit efficient air circulation and ventilation suited for the tropical climate of the Philippines. The floorings on the first floor are usually made of piedra china (Chinese granite) and the wooden, balustered stairs usually narra or mulawin. Walls and ceilings are mostly made of wood adorned with highly detailed designs reminiscent of a genteel bygone era.
A detour at Angel Cacnio house and gallery, housing various works of art by Angel Cacnio and his son Ferdie Cacnio, later spiced by an inside look at the famous Rufina Patis Factory introduced the guests to the hidden gems of the city.
A visit to the Martinez house, a short walk from Rufina Patis Factory where the guests were treated to a feast of Malabon specialties: pancit malabon, sumpia (how people of Malabon call their fried lumpia), puto sulot (a uniquely Malabon dessert made of glutinous rice), bibingka (rice cake that Tutubi found to taste better than Ferino's bibingka), puto bumbong (violet-colored glutinous rice steam-cooked in bamboo tubes served with grated coconuts and margarine), pichi-pichi (yellow, translucent, steamed grated cassava (or cassava flour) served with grated coconuts), kikiam (que-kiam), and tamarind-looking camachile biscuits.
After the Patis saga, an encounter with the oldest existing house in Malabon, the 1861 semi-submerged Raymundo house on the banks of Malabon River, which in reality used to be a strait separating the islands of Malabon and Navotas before a man-made activity that changed the geomorphology of the place, called reclamation, took place.
Raymundo House 1861
the Raymundo house from outside
The original Raymundo house original shown in the picture with a grand staircase. the first floor of the house is now submerged
The last stop of the tour was at Bahay Parokyano an art gallery catering to Malabon's grassroots artists.
Malabon has indeed many heritage houses needed to be preserved for posterity, various food unique to the city and historical sites that need to be promoted. It's such a shame the local government hasn't been promoting their city to the full potential and do away with the "mala-venice sa baha" image.
Tutubi and his friends extend their gratitude to the organizers of this event: Richard, Monchet et al.
For more pictures of Malabon, you may visit Richard's Multiply site.
How to get to Malabon:
Commute: In Monumento, accessible to buses on EDSA, or LRT Monumento station, there are jeepneys plying Malabon via Letre road to take you to the city proper and also pass by Pescadores Restaurant.
driving directions by car from EDSA going to Monumento, take Samson Road and go straight until you see the fork on the road (Letre Road), you'll see Pescadores Restaurant on the left.
posted by backpacking philippines @ 9:38 PM,
- At Oct 26, 2007, 10:38:00 PM, J said...
Sayang we weren't able to take pics of the townspeople's markers when the floods came. Nice post ;)
We should come back i miss their bibingka :D
- At Oct 27, 2007, 4:39:00 PM, carlotta said...
those are lovely, lovely spanish houses. my lola's house is also one sans the year on the gate.
in paris, the houses/apartments also have the years posted on their gates and dating from the 1800's as well.
- At Oct 28, 2007, 4:23:00 AM, said...
thanks 4 visiting our place and posting it. hope you have a nice time in malabon., richard thanks 4 sending this to me
- At Oct 28, 2007, 5:38:00 AM, pieterbie said...
Looks like a pretty special place.
- At Oct 29, 2007, 11:46:00 AM, orange said...
Your post is very informative complemented by pictures that were professionally taken :)
- At Oct 29, 2007, 1:56:00 PM, Mari said...
It's good that these houses were preserved and left the way they were build. Our older buildings which were updated or remodeled to a modern look has lost its originality.
Great post, Tutubi.
- At Oct 30, 2007, 10:15:00 AM, tutubi said...
ei J, we'll be back there for the malabon culinary tour. btw, what do you mean by townspeople's markers? :(
carlotta, dapat feature mo picture of your grandma's house
richard, we'll be back there for the bibingka and puto sulot :)
pieterbie, i nice place if not for the flooding :(
orange, thanks for the compliments :P
mari, that's the problem with the 2 churches there. they're renovated/ remodelled thus lost their authenticity. no respect for heritage conservation
- At Oct 30, 2007, 1:20:00 PM, Baldagyi Hatipoglu said...
sana sumama 'ko. may mga points of interest pala sa lugar na yan. did you get the history of pancit malabon?
- At Oct 30, 2007, 2:03:00 PM, tutubi said...
baldagyi, wasn't able to get history of pancit mainly because the organizers were more into heritage conservation. we're planning an "unplanned" food trip there one of these days, most probably summer when there's no more rain. trust me, masarap yung bibingka malabon :)
- At Oct 31, 2007, 12:00:00 PM, niceheart said...
First time I've heard of patis-flavored adobo. Which one do you prefer - cooked in patis or toyo?
- At Oct 31, 2007, 1:00:00 PM, kneeko said...
nice post... wheewww malapit lang sa amin yan... i stayed in sangandaan, kalookan for 8 years before moving to qc on 1999.
i have friends and classmates (in UE-Kal)from malabon... i experienced walking in the streets of malabon during rainy seasons wheeeeww... i've been there also in concepcion.
nang may pwesto ang cousin ko sa palengke ng sangandaan, we used to go to malabon 2am, sa bagsakan ng mga isda.
thanks for sharing the photos...
- At Oct 31, 2007, 1:30:00 PM, tutubi said...
niceheart, the adobo sa patis is good but i still prefer the toyo one. i grew up with it, mybe that's why.
kneeko, my friends are planning an "unplanned" culinary tour of malabon one of these days. may babalikan kami. malapit lang naman sya wag lang uulan :)
- At Oct 31, 2007, 5:30:00 PM, kegler747 said...
Great photos! Sana may picture din ng kanilang infamous Pancit Malabon :)
- At Oct 31, 2007, 5:42:00 PM, tutubi said...
i have picture of pancit malabon but taken at martinez house. Sadly, poor lighting inside the house didn't permit it to be good. I will just wait in revisiting Malabon again for this authentic pancit Malabon :)
- At Oct 31, 2007, 6:28:00 PM, dodong flores said...
Oh, my gush!
Didn't know there are interesting old houses in Malabon, too! Pumunta pa ako ng Taal town to see old houses, meron naman pala sa malapit lang. But of course, I wouldn't be able to make the tour by myself alone. Kaya dapat makakasama ako sa mga guided tours.
I had been to Malabon always in the mid-1990's kasi may friend ako doon living in Flores Street. she could have told me of the interesting facts about her city :)
Thanx for posting this tour and it we seems that again we were traveling with you...
- At Nov 6, 2007, 8:11:00 PM, Ruy said...
IO never imagined Malabon to be this interesting. Wow.=)
- At Dec 12, 2007, 12:38:00 PM, said...
Thanks for visiting my blog. Yes I missed Malabon. We don't own an old house like those but I'm always fascinated when I see those houses. I still visit Malabon sometimes, and what I really miss the the most is the food. I miss Nanay's pancit Malabon (for me it's the best), Dolor's kakanin (most famous, but not the best anymore, there are others in Malabon that taste better and more authentic), the bagoong, boneless tinapang bangus, etc. And did you know that the Luna house is made of those huge knots and bolts and that they have a room for wakes? But of course it does not function like that anymore. Thanks for posting this, It sures brings back a lot of good memories :)
- At Dec 12, 2007, 12:44:00 PM, said...
by the way, if you're back to betsy's again, you should also try their burger. one of my faves. and if you're going to the public market sa bayan, ask for vergel's tapang kabayo. yum!
also, did you know that in Malabon turon does not contain banana? it contains mongo and the one with banana is called valencia :)
and patis from malabon is the best. we still buy patis from there and not in supermarkets
- At Dec 20, 2007, 7:07:00 PM, bessiebride said...
Hi Munting Tutubi,
This is the daughter of Betsy. You are welcome to Betsy's anytime, sans budget. Please let us know when you are planning this impromptu visit to Malabon. We will be more than happy to provide more paintings of Papa's works and his sketches.
I also would like to commend Atty. Monchet Lucas for organizing this trip with Terry. I live in Malabon, but only now, have these glorious houses have been opened for viewing.
Art and Food. What could be better?
- At Dec 20, 2007, 9:24:00 PM, philippine dragonfly said...
buge,thanks for the heads up. one ofthsedays i'll re-visit the place :P
bessiebride, i definitely will re-visit probably in summer. Monchet's initiative isreally worthy of emulating.kudos to them organizers with pride of place!
- At Apr 10, 2008, 9:10:00 AM, said...
malabon, i grew up there. still miss it. where can one find this tour? is there a phone # Memories...M
- At Apr 21, 2008, 5:41:00 PM, said...
sana napuntahan din ninyo yung tugatog cemetery, where the (in)famous statue depicting the triumph of a devil over the archangel michael (or miguel)will be found, the malabon zoo, the famous store of dolor's kakanin, sunset at the palaisdaan (fishponds). i grew up there, and you should be back during the flood season. and also, you should check out a barangay in panghulo, wherein the people have managed to live to aged old floodwaters that didn't go away.
- At May 10, 2008, 6:15:00 PM, said...
I live in Malabon all my life (51 years). Even with floods, people here will still stay or keep their houses. There is something about Malabon that people here can't leave the town for good. If people here decides to leave the town, it is more likely a migration to other country. Most people here are related through marriages. My paternal grandmother (Agrifina), the owner of Borja House (Manuel), the paternal grandmother (Basilisa) of Judy Ann Santos' father and Dr. Mauro Borja (whom a street in Malabon was named after) are siblings. Two daughters of Manuel Borja were married to a Luna and a Gonzales who are also owners of old houses. The only son of Manuel Borja (Dr. Alberto Borja) is married to a daughter of Mr. Ildefonso Santos, who is a very well known Filipino writer and author (Remember "Diwang Kayumanggi"?). His colleage, Mr. Rufino Alejandro, also a well known writer, lived right next to our house along Naval St. in barrio Flores. My mother (Lydia) is a cousin to Betsy's mother (Tiya Bella)... After having said the above facts, it's also the people in Malabon and not just the foods that we adore our place.
- At Aug 4, 2008, 11:17:00 AM, said...
everytime I pass by the place...i feel the past when it stood so mighty elegant before the eyes of its happy owners..nice to have you featured it...there are a lot more who seemed to be left vacant by its owners..gone perhaps? or left because its always flooded...wheeewww, how agonizing to see these old houses submerged in floodwaters..or left leg-deep or waist deep below the upgraded roads. please explore some more.
- At Aug 6, 2008, 5:42:00 PM, said...
This is a very good item. This would uplift our image from the perennial flooding KAMANAVA. Gosh, even taxi cabs will not take you when you're going Malabon. (Good tip:just say to bring you to Monumento...when you're there then tell him to go straight Sangandaan...then go further straight till you reach the town...)
Mayor Tito Oreta must be informed about this and his Tourism dept must have at least an organized tour. We do have a lot of things to be proud of.
It's interesting to note that there's the Panghulo covered Tennis court with a swimming pool which you can rent out for a whole family day affair. (It's beside the Silver Swan factory)
Am proud to be a product of St. James Academy...the one and only co-ed school run by Maryknoll sisters. And did you know that the Arellano University in Manila is now chaired by Francisco (Koko) Cayco... SJA batch '70 or '71?
By the way, I still am residing here in Malabon.
- At Oct 10, 2008, 12:59:00 PM, said...
hi.., could you direct me on how to go to the tennis court if i were in monumento...
- At Aug 23, 2009, 8:29:00 AM, said...
Hi tutubi! This is very informative and it made me want to visit Malabon when we go home. My family is from marikina but I've lived most of my life in baguio. I am very interested in 'bahay na bato' houses (good pictures by the way) and food so I've listed the 'to visit in malabon places' down like Pescadors and Betsy's. Can you recommend a good, easy on the budget accommodations in the area?
- At Aug 23, 2009, 6:06:00 PM, backpacking philippines said...
anonymous, have to ask my friends there for malabon accommodations...do come back after a few days so i can post the answers to your request. all i can think of now are hotels in caloocan like kabayan hotel on rizal avenue which is just a jeepney ride away from malabon
- At Aug 24, 2009, 10:24:00 PM, backpacking philippines said...
anonymous, learned from a friend that there're no hotels in malabon, motels only. so if you're looking to tour malabon, you can stay at any quezon city hotel like the newly-opened eurotel in front of SM City North EDSA or Sogo joined with the MRT. Malabon is just a bus away from EDSA via buses with signboard UE/Letre. HTH
- At Jan 26, 2010, 12:45:00 AM, said...
im also a product of malabon from a big clan of cruz family i hope that the local government gives respect and valued the historical sites,the great heritage,and introduce it to many schools to educate the young one about thier roots and helps the people of malabon promotes their crafts and deliciuos food thanks to richard and his friends.. God Bless!! "Proud to be Malabonians".
- At Jan 26, 2010, 10:15:00 AM, backpacking philippines said...
levinsky, it's good that malabaon has heritage advocates there to help preserve the homes. I intended to cover the malabon pagoda on december 8 and 9 last year but can't due to priorities. will do so when those dates fall on a weekend
- At Mar 19, 2010, 10:20:00 PM, said...
pano po bang pumunta ng Brgy. Panghulo Malabon? kung galing ng Pasay?
- At Mar 20, 2010, 7:49:00 AM, backpacking philippines said...
anonymous, try the LRT to Monumento. from there you can take jeepneys going to Malabon with jeepney terminals near Victory mall. EDSA buses with signboard UE/Letre can get you near your destination too. ask around
- At Jul 10, 2010, 11:49:00 AM, said...
i also grew up in malabon, gone for a while, but came back here. i could say there's nothing place like home. how i miss the malabon especially the foods: pancit malabon, kakanin, rellenong bangus, turon, kare-kare,binatog, tatampal, puto sulot at bumbong, bibingka, etc.. i also missed the floods. how happy i am to know that during the time of typhoon ondoy, the floods in malabon is not so deep as compare to other city (but i'm very very sad for other city during that time).
- At Apr 7, 2012, 9:07:00 AM, ezer said...
TAGA MALABON AKO
by: Ezer Tiongson
Sa silangang bahagi nito may lugawan ni Ogo
Usok ng kapaligiran ng lechon ng mga taga Hulo.
Sa dating ospital ni Tanchoco sa kanto
hanggang sa pinalitang Gregorio Sanciangco o Arellano.
Sa mga barangay na may bilang na beinte-uno
nahandiyan ang Maysilo, Potrero at Panghulo
Dito sa lugar ako namulat, natuto at naluho
tagal sa pagkabata sa kinagisnang lugar na Flores at Hulo.
Puto at kutsinta ni Dolor, Anday at mga De Guzman
Di kita kailan man malilimutan.
Matatamis mong kakanin na hatid sa bayan,
lagi kang laman ng busog kong tiyan.
Sa sarap na tinapa na gawa sa Tanza,
sa malamig mong sorbetes sa harap ng Farmacia Moderna.
Sa mga turnilyo ni OBD at tindang mekaniko at piyesa
hanggang sa pangangailangang pambahay sa bodega ni Suya
Sa ganda ng kuha ng litrato ng Tropicana,
sa kalikasang dating sa inuman sa Balsa.
sa malutong na pulutang gawa ng Judy Ann's na crispy pata
o sa pagsalo-salo sa pagkaing serbisyo ng Mary Jays kusina.
sa umagang hatid-tinig ng magtataho o periodiko, mga minatamis o di kaya mais
puyat ka man o hindi, halina't lasapin ang sarap ng panghimagas na nais
Sa sarap ng miryenda ng mga Valeriano sa Flores
sa puto sulot o bungbong at labong ng taga-Tinajeros
Sa mga gabi ng ensanyo ng tugtog ng Banda-Kuatro
Sa musikang hatid ni Mang Pinong sa piano,
sa mga kwento sa harap ng tindahan ni tatay Momoy Francisco
na laging pinakikinggan ng abang lingkod ninyo.
Lahing kinamulatan ko sa lugar ng lambatan o pante'
sa tanyag na pampalasang Rufina patis o fish sauce,
sa katakam-takam na pancit malabon ni Nanay at Aling Rosie,
hanggang sa katakamtakam na kikiam ni Mang Jose.
Sa bango ng laba at almirol ni Lola Gracia
Di patatalo sa kaputian at hinhin ng Nanay Atang o Donata
Sa talim ng liston ng plantsa ni Lola Ida
At sarap ng luto ni Lola Eced ay wala ka nang hahanapin pa!
Sa mga ala-alang natanim, namayapa man o lumipas
Fishfond Restaurant na ngayo'y Pescadores.
Sinihang Concepcion, Leonor, Estrella at Filipinas,
at ang huling Ultravista ni aling Miling Blas
Asuncion man o Goodman's, kay kapitan Sito o dating Suan Tan ng Flores
Ahenteng Maning Tabasa o sa lakas ng pasyong pabasa sa Longos
Bota para makapaglakwatsa o maghintay ng kati ng ilog para makalayas.
hangang sa pagtawid ng bangka sa ibayo ng siyudad ng Navotas
Sarap langhap ng tinapay ng gawa ng La Illustre
Amoy hanggang dulo ng daang Letre
Halina mga pare at mare,
bumili na at isawsaw natin sa kape.
This is my Malabon, the place I was born........