The San Bartolome Parish Church.

Malabon on three wheels
Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - March 11, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — There’s an innovative and fun way to discover the treasures of Malabon. The ubiquitous tricycle – basically a motorcycle fitted with a sidecar – can now take visitors on tours around this city on the northern edge of Metro Manila as the local government has launched the Malabon Tricycle Tour.

You may think it’s just Pancit Malabon that the city can boast of, but there’s much more.

Malabon City, formerly known as Tambobong, was founded by the Augustinians as a vista of Tondo in Manila City on May 21, 1599 and became part of Metro Manila through Presidential Decree No. 824 on Nov. 7, 1975. Through House Bill No. 8868, the Municipality of Malabon was converted into a highly-urbanized city on Dec. 8, 1999.

To showcase its rich history and to show to the next generations the treasures of the city, the local government launched the Malabon Tricycle Tour that offers visits to the city’s centuries-old houses, most of which remain as residences today.

The tour runs from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays. There are no weekend tours upon the request of the owners of the heritage houses. 

Ride a tricycle and discover Malabon.

At a cost of only P250 per person, visitors meet their tricycle driver-tour guide at the San Bartolome Parish church, the first stop of the tour, which is located just a few meters from Malabon’s City Hall. 

The San Bartolome Parish is itself quite an attraction. Built by Padre Diego de Robles in 1622, its towering columns are made of centuries-old adobe bricks. The church was burned in 1898 and was repaired in 1906. It was destroyed during World War II and was rebuilt in 1951.

From the church, your first stop is the Sy Juco mansion, a 149-year-old house made of adobe bricks.  

“I wanted to share this with the younger generation to let them know that there is still a house like this if you are capable of preserving it,” said Concepcion Sy Juco, one of the children of the Sy Juco clan who actually resides in the heritage mansion.

Next is the Nepomuceno ancestral house, built in 1935 by one of the pioneer patis (fish sauce) makers, Dr. Arcadio Nepomuceno and his  wife Pantaleona Suaja.

From there you proceed to the Concepcion market and plaza, one of the city’s cleanest markets; Artes de Paseo Art Gallery where works of Malabon artists are featured; El Casa Katipunero, a house built in the late 1800’s by Apolinario Marcelo who was a Katipunero; and the Ibaviosa ancestral house, built the in early 1940’s.

The towering columns of San Bartolome church is made of centuries old adobe bricks.

Visitors will also get a glimpse of the artworks on display at the popular Angel Cacnio Art Gallery, including the designs of the old P100 and P20 bills and some coins that were circulated in 1982 and 1983.

After the gallery, your tricycle tour goes on to the Rivera ancestral house, a 101-year-old house of the parents of former mayor Maynardo Espiritu. Although the house was renovated in 2006 after it was destroyed by severe flooding, parts of the house retains its old design and some of the original materials. 

Last stop for the heritage tour is the Raymundo ancestral house, a 157-year-old house inspired by the walled city of Intramuros, with an etching of an eagle symbolizing royalty.  

Following the success of the Tricycle Heritage Tour, the city government launched the Malabon Tricycle Tour: Food Tour, offering tourists the city’s well-known cuisines, and a combined food and heritage tour for travelers who want to visit the city’s heritage destinations and at the same time sample the city’s delicacies.

Just like the heritage tour, those on the food tour start at the San Bartolome Parish. This tour offers food for breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, plus a “take out” at the end of the trip for only P750 per person.   

The Angel Cacnio Art Gallery.

From the San Bartolome Parish, your driver-tour guide will bring you to the Lugaw Experience, where a bowl of arroz caldo, a Filipino rice porridge, is served with toppings of chicken and other choices. Lugaw Experience was first introduced by Narcisa Domondon in 1984 and is being continued by her son Renante. 

When you finish your lugaw, you will be brought to Hazel’s Puto, started in 2000 offering a variety of rice cakes, and to Jamico’s restaurant, where the crunchy skin and juicy meat of its famed crispy pata will be served, among other viands including tortang alimasag (crab omelet), fried chicken wrapped in pandan leaves and embutidong hipon (shrimp roll).

Just a few meters away is Dolor’s Kakainin, established in the early 1930’s, where sapin-sapin, a colorful layered glutinous rice cake, will be served for merienda or afternoon snack.

You then proceed to the Concepcion Market and Plaza and to Nanay’s Pancit Malabon and Bety’s Cake Center for your “take outs” or food to go.

 The artist with visitors to the gallery.

You can combine the two tours for only P900, and you will get your feel of the city’s heritage houses and other destinations and at the same time satiate your hunger with the city’s delicacies.

“Malabon is an old city, now 419 years old. You will learn a lot here. Our food is so delicious that you’ll surely fall in love with it, babalik-balikan n’yo (you’ll surely come back),” Malabon Mayor Lenlen Oreta said as he assured visitors of the tour’s safety, since all driver-tour guides are registered at the city’s police station and are trained in basic safety measures.

Good eats in Malabon: The famous Pancit Malabon (above left). Arroz caldo from Malabon’s Lugaw Experience (above right). Dolor Kakanin’s sapin sapin (above).


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