Old world charm at Museo de La salle
Angelo J. Aguinaldo (The Philippine Star) - October 17, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Since it opened in 1996, the Museo De La Salle has been a unique heritage attraction in Cavite. The tall and wide arched puerta mayor (main door), with one postigo (small door) open, beckons the visitor to come in.

The cobblestone path leads to a dramatically lit chamber called the zaguan with high ceiling beams. The chamber has three carrozas, one of them with a life-size image of Saint John Baptist De La Salle, lit as if ready for a procession.

The museum echoes our ancestors’ way of living in centuries past, with the D.M Guevarra Collection’s furniture pieces, household and farm implements, and decorative art.

The escalera mayor, or main staircase, leads to the descanso with intricate azulejo (blue) tiles, a view of the ornate ceiling and a richly adorned chandelier that bathed the grand staircase in a warm white light.

The sala mayor recreates the affluent lifestyle of the 19th century bahay na bato owners of Bulacan and Pampanga. The interiors exude an Asian-European influence, eclectic with its elaborate and multi-arched callados, with red as dominant color, and oriental decorative fixtures. 

It is easy to imagine well-dressed diners gathered in the comedor (dining room) discussing the Cadiz Constitution or the impact of developments in Spain on the affairs of the archipelago, as servants busily bring dishes and food from the kitchen.

The cocina, of course, would be the busiest part of this grand house. In the bamboo-floored kitchen, the pugon or native oven and the long working table are prominent fixtures. Morsels of food were dropped through the slits on the floor for fowl to feed on. Other kitchenware include earthen pots, wooden utensils and prenzas (iron).

 

 

The backdoor leads to an open azotea and banggerahan. With potted ferns and other foliage, the area is now perfect for having coffee or tea in the late afternoon. From here, a flight of stairs lead to the backyard garden filled with sampaguita, dama de noche, cadena de amor, champaca and other heritage plants. The man-made pond with a cluster of lotus reflects the branches of towering acacia trees.

Not far from this pond is the Café Museo where I met up for lunch with Cecille Torrevillas Gelicame of the Museo De La Salle who introduced me to Rexie Marcelo Legaspi, manager of the café. Lunch featured spaghetti with either traditional tomato or white sauce. There was also Cafe Museo’s bestseller, pancakes with Oreo morsels. Huge art works by Manny Garibay adorn the walls of the café.

Museo De La Salle is a charming, remarkable place, certainly worth a visit – and best shared with friends.

Museo De La Salle is located within De La Salle University-Dasmariñas campus in Cavite. Open from Tuesday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon, 1 to 3:30 p.m.

Call (046) 481-1940 or visit www.dlsud.edu.ph

Photos by Angelo J. Aguinaldo

 

ANGELO J ATILDE BULACAN AND PAMPANGA CADIZ CONSTITUTION CAFE MUSEO CAVITE CECILLE TORREVILLAS GELICAME OF THE MUSEO DE LA SALLE COM HTTP MUSEO DE LA SALLE QUOT
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