Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Vamos A Malolos: Looking Back at Our Glorious Past When the Philippine Republic Was Born

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Where do you start when you have so much to say?

The city of Malolos from the province of Bulacan has so many rich historical and cultural discoveries that it is a huge enigma why not so many people are aware that it is in this city where the first democracy in the continents of Asia and Africa was founded, specifically at the Barasoain Church. This is where the first Philippine Republic was proclaimed.

At the press conference that we attended at Bahay na Tisa restaurant during the media launch of Vamos a Malolos held last December 15, Mayor Christian Natividad passionately shared his sentiments that after more than a century, of us proclaiming the very first Republic of the Philippines, it seems we have all forgotten about the real significance of that moment, and we are now just contented that every January 23 we are just going to raise the flag of the Philippines, while the President, Vice President, House Speaker, Senate President, Supreme Court justices, and other honorable guests from the government, will all be coming to Malolos to attend a short program, and that's it. Nothing more.

Everyone goes back home until the same event next year when we would be doing the same thing all over again. Is that how it should really be?

If we don't look at back at our past, how would we be able to understand ourselves? If we are not going to look back at the important events that took place a long time ago, where do we intend to go? Which direction are we heading?

The Barasoain Church is the most popular tourist sight in Malolos
The Barasoain church altar partially dressed up for Christmas time
We can help each other drumbeat the advocacy of patriotism, of loving our own history of reliving our glorious past. This is not just the glorious past of the city of Malolos, but this is the glorious past of our own republic of the Philippines. We are all a part of it.

However, most of the time when we talk about history, a huge a majority of us are falling asleep. Just like back during school days, when the professor talks about history, many of us will do our own thing except listening.

We should be passing these patriotism to the next generation. If we will not bridge at this point in time, the glorious past of the city of Malolos with the current times, it may eventually be forgotten. When are we going to connect the significance, when all are forgotten?

Not many of us knows that the very first military academy was in Malolos. This is also where the very first law school was established. This is also the home of the first university of the Philippines. What is sad is if even the very own residents of Malolos are not aware of these facts.

These are just some of the many historical significance of Malolos.

Mayor Christian Natividad passionately shares his dream of Malolos
Press conference VIPs led by Mayor Christian Natividad, Vice Mayor  Gilbert Gatchalian and other government officials. Guest artists include Ali Forbes, Joonee Gamboa, Lhar Santiago and Nikko Seagal Natividad

We should all get the attention of our national leaders, and the people as a whole, to give importance to our significant past. We should give what is due to our ancestor, to our forefathers. Let us give them what is rightfully theirs. Let us give what is due to our country, a historical past originating in the city of Malolos, that unfortunately, is quickly becoming a faint memory.

Vamos a Malolos! (which means Tara sa Malolos, in Tagalog and Let’s go to Malolos, in English) is the city’s Tourism Slogan projecting Malolos as a historic-cultural tourism destination in this part of Luzon. It is phrased in Spanish to connote Malolos as a historical city that established its crowning glory during the Filipino-Spanish war when the first democracy in the continents of Asia and Africa was founded at the Barasoain Church in Malolos.

Moreover, most of the historic places in Malolos are named in Spanish like Barasoain Church, Ferro Caril, Paseo del Congreso, Pariancillo, Casa Real de Malolos, Inmaculada Concepcion Church (Basilica Minore), etc., even the city’s name Malolos was once called “Los Malos” which means The Rebels.

Our tour guide was so well-informed about the history of Malolos, and may be even the controversial issues as well.

Back at the bus during our trip from Manila to Malolos, the tour guide shared with us three origins of the name of Malolos, as well as three origins of the name of Bulacan, plus other trivia that only our forefathers could really confirm the accurateness. It is so sad that there are historical facts that we could not verify the original source since there was really very little form of documentation back then.

The tour guide also mentioned that the recipe for the original Malolos Ensaymada was lost because the woman who made it failed to share or write it down to pass on to the next of kin. The secret died along with her so our generation forever lost the recipe. What is a real heartbreak is finding out there are a lot more bigger stories of our past that remain untold because of limited interest or support.

This was given to us at the bus before we left Manila and it probably symbolizes the Freedom dove
Patriotism instilled in our hearts should resonate within the rest of our bodies, to the mind and soul. The very moment we receive the corsage shaped like a bird wearing the red and blue colors of the flag, we knew we were not just to promote tourism for the country but the seemingly missing awareness within all of us regarding how significant January 23, 1899 really is.

As a tourism centerpiece program, Vamos a Malolos aggressively promote the city during the last Quarter of every year when the period of the historic Malolos Congress also came about that culminated in the proclamation of the First Philippine Republic.

To take advantage of this historic period, the Arts, Culture and Tourism Office under the Office of the City Mayor (CMO-ACTO) dubbed the said months as the Tourism Calendar Season of the city to entice tourists to visit and enjoy the historic City of Malolos throughout this period.

Hence, various arts, culture and tourism events are laid down to prop up the City in the local and international arena. There are three highlights in the program, these are: PARANGAL SA KONGRESO (September), PISTANG PASKO SA MALOLOS (December) and FIESTA REPUBLICA (January).

Emilio Aguinaldo monument can be found inside the Barasoain Church premises

Malolos marker Biyak na Bato found in the premises of the Barasoain Church

Aside from the famous Barasoain church, our visit in the city of Malolos allowed us to tour some of the heritage houses of the city including the former home of Alberta Uitangcoy, one of the legendary Malolos women who filed a petition to General Valeriano Weyler for women to be allowed to study the Spanish language. The women of Malolos were also said to be aiding the katipuneros during those times.

Alberta Uitangcoy, one of the famous Malolos Women,  Heritage House
The president, a descendant of one of the Women of Malolos, discuss the history

The Women of Malolos
More portraits of the Women of Malolos
The Women of Malolos depicted as talking with General Alvariano Weyler

We also passed by the former home of including the former home of Dr. Luis Santos where a Fernando Amorsolo painting can be found on their living room ceiling. The mural was created when Amorsolo was still young but talented already. It also has a water fountain in its garden created by Guillermo Tolentino.

You would know the owner was a doctor (ophthalmologist) because there were several medicine books in the cabinets still on display.

The heritage home of Dr. Luis Santos


We had a filing lunch after the press conference where I had the opportunity to taste authentic Malolos cuisines like Callos, Okoy, Nilagang Manok and their version of Hamonado. Surprising enough, this is one of the rare times when all dishes served was a real treat for me. Each one was really superb in taste. First time also that I was able to finish a plate. Usually I would have left-overs because I would not like one or two dishes.

We also got to taste the tasty but a little oily Empanadang Kaliskis served at one of the heritage homes we visited. Our pasalubong from the event was composed of Atsarang Dampalit, Gurgurya (I liked this so much), and Binanli (similar to galletas from biscocho family).

An astonishing presentation reliving history and a lot of symbolism

Our activity culminated with the short presentation of Malolos history involving Emilio Aguinaldo done at the premises of the Barasoain Church. The Giant Lantern Parade, participated by the different barangays of malolos, immediately followed after.


This is the very first time I saw a great number of huge and ingeniously-designed lanterns resourcefully made from quite a number of interesting material. It was sort of drizzling that afternoon but the parade continued regardless of the situation. It is admirable that many would still continue to dance in the parade even though they were drenched in the rain.

I couldn't post all the giant lanterns since there were so many so I will just post the rest at the Wazzup Pilipinas Facebook fan page at

As members of the media, the purpose of our visit is to help the city in raising awareness on the importance of the historic founding of the Malolos Republic, to promote the city as a heritage/ historical city in the country, to encourage Filipinos and other peoples of the world to visit the historic city, and to establish the city as a History Center of the Philippines.

With the papal visit coming a few days before the January 23 schedule of their Fiesta Republica celebration, it should be a positive advantage for the city if they can attract the visitors coming to witness the arrival of the Pope, especially the foreign guests, to drop by Malolos as part of their side-trip as they take the opportunity to roam around the Philippines.

Photo ops with Mayor Christian Natividad (right) with Nikko Seagal Natividad and Ali Forbes
Photo Ops with a performer portraying Inang Bayan
Photo ops with Joonee Gamboa

It is with great hope that the Department of Tourism, as well as the other government organizations and even the private and non-government establishments would actively recommend the city of Malolos as a preferred historical and cultural destination just like Intramuros.

Your Pambansang Blogger ng Pilipinas with the Philippine flag - at the back is the Barasoain Church

The city of Malolos is just a one-hour ride from Manila so it would be very convenient for many to travel a few more miles to visit the very historical place where the first republic, aka the Malolos Republic, was born. The Fiesta Republica set on January 17 to 23 is a week-long activity featuring various socio-historico-cultural events that culminates in the celebration of Araw ng Republikang Filipino 1899. This will be the best time to go to Malolos and witness our rich history unfold once again right before our very eyes.

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