When I was young, I simply regarded the Malolos Cathedral as “The Main Church of the City.” Before my family and I got converted into Evangelicalism, we went there on a weekly basis. Sundays brought me excitement not because of the church activities (forgive me, I was young), but because of the popcorn and cotton candy sold by the vendors (back in the days when vendors were actually allowed by the law to sell their products inside the plaza proper).
I considered that huge yellow tree in front of the cathedral, known as the Kalayaan Tree, as just a cool-looking tree. Whenever yellow flowers fall from branches due to the wind, I’d try to catch them mid-air with my small hands.
Also, I tried to play with the statues of Emilio Aguinaldo and his cabinet under that tree, but I got scolded by my parents. I didn’t know who they were back then. Just statues erected there because it’s fun, I thought.
Fast forward, I entered college with a resolve to learn a lot of things. Before, I didn’t consider social sciences as something interesting. But college-level social science subjects were different! The professors were really good at teaching, and everything was discussed in details.
I also learned the art of researching because of this. One time, our professor in feature writing told us to write an article about the history of our hometown. That was the time when I began reading about the history of Malolos and its significance in the building of the Philippine nation.
Darn, I thought to myself. How ignorant have I been? All this time, I never knew that I had a very awesome hometown!
The City of Malolos is arguably one of the most prominent history hotspots in the Philippines as it witnessed most of the crucial events in Philippine history, most importantly the inauguration of the first Philippine Republic and the early pangs of the Philippine-American war.
However, even with the rich historical and cultural background Malolos has, its tourism department is lackluster compared to that of Vigan and Intramuros, also nests of historical sites. It was explained in the Kumperensiya ng Sining, Kultura, Kasaysayan at Turismo last January 20 at La Consolacion University of the Philippines during the week-long celebration of City of Malolos’ Fiesta Republica.
While certainly, there were economic and strategic factors which contributed to the problem, the main cause of Malolos’ decline in tourism is that the people of Malolos themselves are not aware of their roots. Only a few are proactive in marketing and making known the heritage and identity of this historical city.
In this photo essay, I’d like to show the past and present photos of Malolos to really prove how historically rich this city is, and why Malolenos should be proud of their city.
Malolos Cathedral as of today.
Anyone who’s seriously interested in history should take the time to visit Malolos and relive the beginnings of our very own Republic.