Tuesday, August 31, 2010

More old photos of San Bartolome Church

Because of its long history and grandeur, San Bartolome Church is obviously the most photographed church in Malabon.  Thanks to some wonderful people who shared their old photos with me, I now have a mini-gallery which I would like to share with you as a way of capping the month of San Bartolome's feast.

Circa 1800s (Photo from PIO/Malabon and a  Facebook friend)

Circa 1800s (Photo from Arch. Richard Bautista)

Circa early 1950s after the war.  Note that up to this time, the church walls and its columns still have the original adobe exposed.  (Photo from Ramon Manapat, taken by his father Nelson)

Circa 1970s showing the Parish Rectory and Multipurpose Building (Photo from PIO/Malabon)

Circa late 1960s/early 1970s.  By this time, the adobe walls and columns had been plastered and painted.  (Photo taken by Ramon Manapat)

Note as of April 8, 2014:  Please see comments below regarding period in which this photo might have been taken.   (Photo from PIO/Malabon)


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fiesta time at San Bartolome

August 24, 2010 -- The San Bartolome parish celebrated its 396th feast today. The first parish priest of San Bartolome Parish Church, Fr. Luis Gonzales, was assigned there in 1614,  1 so this is apparently the basis for counting the years of its celebration, not the date the church was constructed.  

It was part of an agreement between Nicolas Acerda Manapat, heir of the original land-owner Agustin Sigua upon whose land the church was built, and the Captain General and the Archbishop, that once the church was finished, the patron saint of the church will be the same as the name of his compadre Bartolome Mangay Mansano.  2   It should be safe to assume that Bartolome Mangay Mansano was named after San Bartolome or St. Bartholomew.

St. Bartholomew was one of the Twelve Apostles of Christ.  In St. John's Gospel, he is called Nathaniel.    He preached in India, which, during those days covered a wider area in the Near East.  He was said to have been skinned alive then beheaded.  In Michaelangelo's painting, the "Last Judgement" found in the Sistine Chapel, St. Bartholomew is shown holding a sheet of his own skin in his left hand and a knife in his right hand.  3/   Because of this, he has come to be associated with a knife, the instrument of his martyrdom. 

And this, in turn, is why on his feast day, every type of bladed instrument - balisongs, bolos, kitchen and butcher's knives - has traditionally been sold at the San Bartolome town fiesta.

When the Katipunan was exposed through the confessional on August 19, 1896, the Spanish government threw a cordon around Manila, putting checkpoints and sealing all exits. Group movements were tightly monitored. Bonifacio issued a call for a general meeting in Balintawak to discuss the situation.

By pretending to be on their way to attend the fiesta of San Bartolome in Malabon, Katipuneros from the provinces were able to slip through the Spanish checkpoints.   They congregated in Balintawak, and on August 23, 1896, the eve of the feast of San Bartolome, Bonifacio and his men staged the Cry of Balintawak.  4 Thus did our bolo-wielding patron saint San Bartolome aid the Filipinos' revolt against the Spaniards.  It is also said that some of the Katipuneros bought their bolos from the stalls at San Bartolome.


San Bartolome parish in fiesta mode

Bishop Deogracias Iniguez led Vicariate clergy in a concelebrated Mass. 

Devotees line up to wipe the statue of San Bartolome

After the Mass.

San Bartolome getting ready for the evening procession

Banda Pula Original of Malabon on the patio.

Costumes for Sto. Nino statues.  Filipinos like to dress up their Sto. Ninos in different attires.

Colorful paper mache horses liven up the place.


Yes, believe it or not, Mang Romy was the lone tabak vendor at the San Bartolome fiesta!

I walked the whole courtyard of San Bartolome; walked the stretch of Rizal Avenue from the corner of General Luna up to the City Hall; walked Leono and Manapat streets.  Nothing.  It was just Mang Romy in his stall near the parish convent building.  When I asked him where the other tabak vendors were, he said they were in Nagcarlan, Laguna - where there was also a San Bartolome fiesta.

But you used to be so many out here, I said. I remember that well because we lived across San Bartolome church in the 1980s. Yes, he agreed, dense rows of tabak vendors used to line up the street during the fiesta.  But since three years ago, his co-vendors have been choosing to go to Nagcarlan instead, because here in Malabon, sales are "matumal" (slow).  Mang Romy chooses to go to Malabon, though, because it has been the family practice since his grandfather's time.  I felt bad for him that I almost wanted to buy a bolo just so he could make a sale - but  I didn't know how to buy one!  And besides, my son and I were just going to ride a jeepney going back to Concepcion where we parked our car.  I would not want to be carrying a bolo on the jeepney!

As I turned to walk towards General Luna, I looked back and a thought crossed my mind.  If this trend continues, maybe next year, Mang Romy will opt to go where business is better, and go to Nagcarlan instead.  If that happens, the only bolo that will be left to show at San Bartolome's fiesta in Malabon will be San Bartolome's bolo itself!

For Malabon, history, and nostalgia's sake, I hope that never happens...

1/    From Tambobong to the City of Malabon, by Nonoy Marcelo, 2004.
2/    History of Malabon-Navotas, by Salvador Sevilla, Santos Tiangco, 1976.
3/    http://www.italian-renaissance-art.com/Last-Judgement.html
4/    Andres Bonifacio The Eve of St. Bartholomew, by Nick Joaquin.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Another food treasure of Malabon: Dolor's Kakanin

Without a doubt, DOLOR'S KAKANIN - that colorful, delectable native treat - is another one of Malabon's food treasures.

A bilao of DOLOR'S KAKANIN typically has sapin-sapin, kamoteng kahoy, ube, kutsinta, mais and biko - making an attractive and tasty dessert that's perfect for rounding off any celebration.

A delectable treat

Remembering the old days when we'd just walk around the block to have our fill of our favorite sapin-sapin, I decided to make a sentimental visit to DOLOR'S KAKANIN at their original location on Escanilla Street.  Escanilla is the street beside the Immaculate Conception Parish Church.  You have to turn left to a smaller eskinita (alley) and there you'll find the place where it all began.

Dolor's Kakanin - original location at Escanilla Street

Unlike the Rosy's Pancit Malabon eatery which still looks just the way I remembered it from old, I would not have recognized the DOLOR'S Escanilla store if there hadn't been a sign to point it to me.  In my memory it used to be small and rather dimly lit inside with a wooden screen door, but now it looks well-lit and modern with its aluminum and glass fixtures. 

I remember whenever we would go to DOLOR'S as children.  Back then, there were big wooden shelves on the right side along the wall where they used to put the huge bilaos of kakanin. Every time you order a bilao of kakanin, the store staff would get the different kakanin from those huge bilaos.  We would watch fascinated, at how the staff would expertly get each strip of colorful kakanin and round them in the bilao size that you ordered. 

Every family gathering or special occasion always had to have DOLOR'S KAKANIN as one of the desserts.  And what a great gift a bilao of kakanin always made - especially during those days when there was only one store, and out-of-town friends doubly appreciated our bringing the kakanin all the way from Malabon!  And oh yes, those were also the times when my former officemates in Makati found out I lived a block away from DOLOR'S, and they would request me to buy a bilao for them on special occasions!

Looking around, I noticed the write-ups about DOLOR'S KAKANIN posted on the cabinet:  one by Heny Sison for Baking Press magazine, and also those by food columnists for the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Manila Bulletin - a sure testament to DOLOR'S success.

According to the write-ups, Aling Dolor (Dolores Santos) started selling her kakanin to neighbors and in the market in the late 1930s. Her kakanin sold very well that she soon opened a store in her house where she personally supervised and mixed in the flavorings for the kakanin in the wee hours of the morning. She worked with a passion for her delicious native delicacies and its popularity spread even abroad.  Aling Dolor passed away in 1997, and the business is now being run by family members.

Before leaving Escanilla, I bought a small bilao of kakanin and was delighted to find out that I could still specify exactly what kakanin I wanted to go into my bilao -- just the way we used to do it when I was young!  I guess that's because the kakanin is also made right there.  So I went for my old favorites, the sapin-sapin and kamoteng-kahoy, and added a little kutsinta which my son likes.

DOLOR'S KAKANIN now offers a wider variety of treats in addition to the original sapin-sapin.  They have puto, kutsinta, maja blanca, akai-akai, cassava cake, pitsi-pitsi, even pancit malabon and rellenong bangus. The ube halaya is delicious - I don't bother to queue anymore at Good Shepherd's in Baguio for ube jam because I can have my fill of authentic ube halaya here. The rellenong bangus is also good - perfect for special gatherings and as a gift.  Sugar-free kakanin is also available now.

As a balikbayan favorite, several small bilaos of DOLOR'S KAKANIN can always be found in my relatives' luggage going back to the States.  They'll buy the kakanin a day before departure, freeze it overnight, then pack it into their luggage at the last minute, well-insulated.  As soon as they get to the U.S. they'll freeze the kakanin again immediately, and it'll keep in the freezer for as long as a year.  Whenever they feel like it, they'll just thaw out the kakanin in the microwave, and savor the sweet taste of home again!

DOLOR'S KAKANIN and MOMMY'S delicacies are now available in many different locations in Metro Manila.  In MALABON, there are two other locations where you can get these wonderful treats:

DOLOR'S KAKANIN on Governor Pascual Avenue
We've been buying from this outlet since it was put up because it's on the main road and is more accessible to vehicles.

MOMMY'S Malabon Pride - also on Gov. Pascual Avenue just right across the street
This outlet is relatively new and has an eatery

Sometimes I wonder how such a simple but tasty little dessert like sapin-sapin could have caught the fancy of so many. Then I thought - maybe it's precisely its simplicity that appeals to us.  DOLOR'S KAKANIN harkens to a time of simple pleasures, and every delicious bite we indulge in reassures us:  yes, life is good....

What a legacy Aling Dolor has left not only to her family, but to Malabon as well!

13 Escanilla Street
Barangay Concepcion
Malabon City
Tel. 281.2739 and 282.9710
(beside the Immaculate Conception Church)

19 Governor Pascual Avenue
Barangay Concepcion
Malabon City
Tel. 283.5782 and 282.0071
(coming from Monumento, a little past Arellano University - on your left)

Governor Pascual Avenue
Barangay Concepcion
Malabon City
Tel. 282.5355 and 281.2739
(coming from Monumento, a little past Arellano University - on your right)


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Bits of History: A battle right in our own backyard

According to Arnaldo Dumindin in his narrative on "The Philippine-American War, 1899-1902," the Americans advanced to Malolos along the Manila-Dagupan railway on March 24-31, 1899. Their prime objectives were Malolos, the Filipino capitol, and the capture of Aguinaldo.  But first they had to overcome defenses put up by Filipinos along the way.

Among the battles fought during that advance to the north was the BATTLE OF MALABON in 1899.

Americans line up waiting in a fishpond

San Bartolome Church - proud but silent witness to the bravery of Filipinos during those times.

Again, the San Bartolome Church - witness to history

The Filipinos may have been captured, but they certainly gave the Americans a good fight, as shown in the news clipping below, where it says, "Americans found the insurgents hard to drive away."

(Thanks to my brother-in-law Ramon for providing the link to these interesting bits of Malabon's history.)


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Another discovery: the Malabon Hymn

I've just made another discovery: Malabon has its own hymn!

At this point I'm still trying to find out who the composer is. I was told that the singer is Mon Del Rosario but I have yet to confirm that.

But I'm eager to share the hymn with you pronto, so here it is!  When I confirm the singer and composer, I'll just add the info to this post.


Ito ang bagong umaga
Bumangon na't magbikas
Tayong lahat ay patungo
Sa langit ng pag-unlad
Sabay tayo sa paglakad
Sabay ang ating yapak
Habang sa iisang tinig
Ganito ang ating awit


MALABON, mahal nating bayan
Tayo ang siyang mga kawal
Walang kaba ang dibdib
Pagkat AKO, IKAW ay kabit-bisig

MALABON, ang ating tahanan
Dito ay may bayanihan
Isigaw natin sa daigdig
Tayo'y isang BAYAN, isang AWIT, isang TINIG.

(Repeat KORO)

So Friends, what do you think?

P.S. My thanks to GSD/Malabon City

It's confirmed!  The Malabon Hymn was composed by Dr. Ramon del Rosario, Gintong Parangal Awardee, 1981. (From Tambobong to City of Malabon, Nonoy Marcelo, 2004)


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Remembering Mang Ador and Tropicana Studio

"Master Photographer" of the 40s, 50s and 60s -- that would be none other than Dominador J. Cruz or "Mang Ador" of TROPICANA STUDIO.

On the same day we ate at Rosy's, I also dropped by TROPICANA STUDIO to reminisce about the late great Mang Ador. The studio interior is still very much the way I remembered it in the early 70s when I last stepped inside for my high school graduation picture. 

From a poster at the Malabon Public Library

Mang Ador founded TROPICANA STUDIO in 1945.  Some time after, he was taken in as official photographer of LVN Studios, and became known as "Photographer of the Stars."  1/   He photographed famous stars of the era like Fernando Poe, Jr., Susan Roces, Gloria Romero, Amalia Fuentes, Romeo Vazquez, Rosemarie, Luis Gonzales, Juancho Gutierrez, Lolita Rodriguez, Dolphy and others.  Looking at the framed line-up of stars photographed by Mang Ador on the studio wall, it seems there was no star of that era who was not photographed by him.  That's why during those days we were always excited to find out  who was the latest star whose portrait was displayed in their show window, that we would crane our necks whenever our jeepney passed by TROPICANA!

 (Tropicana portraits from Edward delos Santos)

With such a star-studded clientele, who would not want to have the chance to have his/her portrait also taken by Mang Ador?  Young as we were back then, it was definitely a thrill whenever we would find ourselves in Mang Ador's studio.  Not only was TROPICANA our school photographer for the annual class pictures;  all the important events of my youth were immortalized by them -- my first communion, and my elementary, high school and college graduations.  Too bad that I didn't go the whole nine yards by getting Mang Ador to do my wedding portrait as well!

What makes Mang Ador memorable is that he not only excelled at his craft; he was a warm, humble and good natured person, who had a way of making you feel at ease in front of the camera and look good on paper, too!  Honestly, sometimes I think that it was seeing Mang Ador's friendly smile behind the camera that made you smile right back.  He captured the essence of the person and the moment well, and you could happily hold that precious moment throughout your life.

From a video entitled "Maunlad na Malabon - Ituloy Natin 'To"

When Mang Ador passed away in 2008, Philippine photography lost one of its greats, while the people of Malabon lost someone we could proudly call our own.


Tropicana Studio with its simple, homey facade  (Photo from Arch. Richard Bautista)


The familiar Tropicana signature on their portraits

252 General Luna Street
Barangay Concepcion
Malabon City
Tel. No. 281.2987 (posted 4/13/11)

1/    Source:   "Tambobong, Malabong, Malabon sa Ika-Apat na raang Taon"


Friday, August 6, 2010

I LOVE Pancit Malabon..!

I couldn't get any more heartfelt than this in declaring my love for pancit malabon!

 Growing up four houses away from the old Pluming's Pancit Malabon may have had something to do with it.  Whenever my Mom was pressed for time to cook or needed something to quickly serve to unexpected guests - or the family simply had a hankering (which was often) - she would just send someone to Pluming's and in fifteen minutes, there was pancit malabon on the table. So we grew up with pancit malabon.

But the really special pancit malabon treat for me from as far back as I could remember, has always been ROSY'S PANCIT MALABON. 

We made a sentimental visit to ROSY'S PANCIT MALABON in Cuatro Cantos the other Sunday just to have another taste of their delicious pancit.

Entering the place, I felt an instant familiarity because nothing seems to have changed after all these years.  It still looked and felt very homey - except initially for the blaring of a radio, which thankfully, the guy assisting us quickly turned off.  We ordered a plate each of the pancit, camachile biscuits, and coke.  Such a simple lunch but I was ecstatic.  What with all the familiar flavors instantly flooding my tastebuds -- the rich, delectable shrimp paste coating the noodles, and the freshest seafoods, pork chunks and vegetable garnish.  But more than the "in the moment" appreciation of good food, there was also that flashback to all the good memories our family has shared, with ROSY's pancit malabon gracing our table.

A feast for the eyes and the palate

ROSY'S PANCIT MALABON - circa 1940s?

The original eatery - on a poster in Rosy's Pancit Malabon

According to one of the many write-ups posted on the wall of ROSY's, it was more than 60 years ago that Aling Felisa Pacheco opened a small eatery at Cuatro Cantos serving only pancit malabon and tokwa at baboy.  As her brood of seven children grew older, they learned the secret of preparing what came to be known as the best tasting pancit malabon.  Mang Silvestre soon expanded the small eatery started by his wife.

With the passing of Aling Felisa in 1951, eldest daughter Rosy took over the operations, assisted by her brothers and sisters. The siblings still continue to operate the eatery both at the original site in Cuatro Cantos and at their branch in Philtrade across the Department of Foreign Affairs.

One of Rosy's customers - a very young and good-looking Eddie Gutierrez

Just one of many write-ups about Rosy's posted on their wall


Aside from the scrumptious pancit malabon, the Pachecos of ROSY'S are also known for the Santacruzans that they sponsor as "hermana mayor" in May each year, where they invite reigning beauty queens and movie stars as sagalas.  This is an event that Malabon residents have come to look forward to.


NANAY'S PANCIT MALABON by Nanay Remedios Cruz, is also good and has become increasingly popular with a new generation of pancit malabon-lovers.  It is more conveniently located on Governor Pascual Avenue in Barangay Concepcion.

My NANAY'S pancit malabon memories don't go a long way back, but nowadays we tend to order NANAY'S more because it is just a walking distance from my Dad's house. It has its own delicious flavor that has acquired a huge following among Malabon residents and out-of-towners.  The eatery also looks and feels very homey.

I've tasted other kinds of pancit malabon, both within Malabon and outside of it.  I have to admit that other restaurants and individuals have also been successful at cooking the dish extremely well.

But it is not just taste that completes the eating experience - it's also how the food makes you feel and where it takes you.  Eating, after all, is also an emotional experience.

...And part of that emotional experience is how you find yourself reassured that, no matter how everything else may change, some things in life are constant and comforting, like a plateful of vibrant, delicious pancit malabon -- right here in MALABON!

Cuatro Cantos
C. Arellano corner A. Bonifacio Streets
Malabon City

Governor Pascual Avenue corner Sta. Ana Street
Malabon City
(near the entrance of Sto. Rosario Village)

To get to ROSY'S and NANAY'S from Monumento:
Take a jeepney at Dagohoy Road near the corner of Samson Road
going MALABON passing through Governor Pascual Avenue.
Tell the driver if you're going down at either NANAY'S or ROSY'S
so he knows where to let you get off.