Malolos came from the word paluslos meaning downwards. Just a few hours away from Manila, it proved to be not just another quick escape from the metro. With its warm people and well-preserved culture, Malolos is the underrated heritage site that should be in your travel radar if you want a glimpse of the nation’s past.

About Malolos

With its critical stint in Philippine history, Malolos started as a small settlement from cleared lands by the Spanish missionaries. It was their misunderstanding with the natives due to language barrier that led to the place being called Malolos derived from paluslos. As the missionaries asked for the riverside town’s name, the natives answered “the flow of the river was downstream” or paluslos.

Malolos served as the capital of the first, short-lived Philippine Republic led by Emilio Aguinaldo. It is an important historical site for the construction of Malolos Convention that gave birth to the first constitutional republic in Asia. At present, Malolos sits as Bulacan’s capital city.

Malolos Heritage Town

Living in the nearby city of Meycauayan, Bulacan for more than a decade now, I thought Malolos would just feel like the same as our place. Through the years, I saw how our humble town grew with commercial establishments as if trying to resemble the busy Manila scene. This is why as I stepped on Malolos grounds from our Lakbay Norte bus, I sensed a sincere ambiance that mirrors a rich history and culture.

Former Eden Cinema, Post War Movie House

Former Eden Cinema, Post War Movie House.

Numerous ancestral houses, churches, and landmarks constitute Malolos. Many were eminently preserved. Some were beautifully abandoned. Walking from one heritage site to another, I can very much feel the soul of the old establishments. No wonder the town center of Malolos was declared National Heritage Landmark.

What to See in Malolos Heritage Tour

With a half-day tour, you can quickly roam the historic streets of Malolos town. Heritage sites were marked and labeled with sufficient description. From churches to ancient houses, here’s a list of what you can see.

1. Barasoain Church

What a better way to start your Malolos heritage tour than to visit Barasoain Church. With a beautiful Baroque style architecture, Barasoain Church embodies historical significance not only for Malolos, but for the entire nation as well being the inauguration site of the First Philippine Republic.

Barasoain Church

Barasoain Church, Inauguration Site of the First Philippine Republic

Don’t forget to visit the church museum where you can experience a short light and sound presentation narrating the highlights of the Malolos republic.

Barasoain Museum Light and Sound Show

Barasoain Museum Light and Sound Show

There‘s also a stereoscopy room where you can try a vintage stereoscope to see old photographs in a three-dimensional perspective.

Stereoscopy Room

Stereoscopy Room

Museum Schedule: Tue-Sun 8AM-4PM | Closed on Monday

2. Malolos Cathedral (Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception)

The neoclassical Malolos Cathedral served as the presidential palace of Emilio Aguinaldo, president of the First Philippine Republic. Today, it is the ecclesiastical seat of the Diocese of Malolos.

Malolos Cathedral facade.

Malolos Cathedral’s facade.

Malolos Cathedral's beautiful interiors.

Malolos Cathedral’s beautiful interiors.

Notice the large statue of the Immaculate Conception at the top of the bell tower. Also in front of the Malolos Cathedral is the century-old Kalayaan tree (Tree of Freedom) where Emilio Aguinaldo conducted several affairs.

Kalayaan tree

Century-old Kalayaan tree (Tree of Freedom) where Emilio Aguinaldo conducted several affairs.

3. Gobierno Militar De La Plaza

Located at Pariancillo Street, Gobierno Militar De La Plaza was the site of the military government established by General Isidoro Torres. Beautifully restored, it is presently utilized as Meralco office.

Gobierno Militar De La Plaza

Gobierno Militar De La Plaza

4. Casa Tribunal

Formerly used as the Second Municipal Hall of Malolos, Casa Tribunal was converted into a jailhouse during the First Philippine Republic.

Casa Tribunal

Casa Tribunal

5. Bahay Paaralan ng mga Kababaihan ng Malolos (Instituto Mujeres)

This site served as the study location for the women who raised a petition to Governor General Valeriano Weyler asking permission to study the Spanish language. Rufina Reyes, one of the said women, used to live in this house. All of them studied during the night after they had fulfilled their household responsibilities. Dr. Jose Rizal even wrote to them a letter from Spain giving them encouragement.

Bahay Paaralan ng mga Kababaihan ng Malolos (Instituto Mujeres)

Bahay Paaralan ng mga Kababaihan ng Malolos (Instituto Mujeres)

6. Uitangcoy House

Owned by Alberta Uitangcoy, this house is also called the “Museum of the Women of Malolos”. Alberta Uitangcoy led the group of young women send their petition to study the Spanish language.

Uitangcoy House

Uitangcoy House

Fortunate enough to enter the house, we saw well-maintained old furniture and pharmacy related items. It also showcases memorabilia of the Malolos women who fought for their educational rights.

Inisde Uitangcoy House.

Inisde Uitangcoy House.

7. Dr. Luis Santos House

Just when you thought that this is just another ancestral house, the abode of the ophthalmologist Dr. Luis Santos is much more than that. The mural at the ceiling of the house was created by no less than Fernando Amorsolo. A fountain also found in the vicinity was built by Guillermo Tolentino.

Dr. Luis Santos House

Dr. Luis Santos House

Dr. Luis Santos is a child of Alberta Uitangcoy and Paulino Santos, the owners of the Uitangcoy-Santos heritage home. He is a famous doctor in the town who opened the house to cure everyone from civilians to soldiers.

8. Don Jose Bautista House

During the Malolos Republic, Don Jose Bautista House served as the Ministry of Interior Affairs. The residence had welcomed visitors including Dr. Jose Rizal. It was also used as municipal hall, school, and Japanese army camp. Today, the Neoclassical-style house was turned into a museum exhibiting collection of religious statues and art works from Fernando Amorsolo, Felix Hildalgo, and Juan Luna.

Don Jose Bautista House

Don Jose Bautista House

Disclosure: This Lakbay Norte trip was organized by North Philippines Bureau (NPVB) in partnership with NLEX Corporation, Bulacan Tourism and Convention Visitors Board (BTCB), Tarlac Convention and Visitors Bureau (TCVB), Ilocos Norte Convention and Visitors Bureau (INCVB), Victory Liner Inc., Department of Tourism Region 1, Department of Tourism Region 3, Jollibee Foods Corporation, and Merrell Philippines.  Lakbay Norte is an annual media familiarization trip aiming to promote Philippine provinces in the north.