Malolos Now and Then

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.

Burning_of_the_Malolos_Cathedral 1899 Britannica
A photo of Malolos Church burning during the Philippine American War. Archival photo from the Philippines. It was used as headquarters by President Emilio Aguinaldo during his term (September 15, 1898 to March 31, 1899). In other words, it’s Philippines’ first-ever White House.


Malolos Cathedral as of today.

Ruined Malolos Church Side View  1899 Underwood & Underwood
Side view of the cathedral. The adjacent building on the left of the church proper is Aguinaldo’s HQ. In the photo, one can see that it’s ruined. It was when Aguinaldo ordered Gen. Antonio Luna to burn the church so they can escape the American invaders. On the right side, there are a group of yellow trees, one among them remained living up to this day.
The Malolos Cathedral went through several renovations throughout the years. What used to be an HQ is now used as an all-boy’s school. The Kalayaan Tree remains standing up to this day, with statues of Emilio Aguinaldo and his cabinet underneath.
Aguinaldo and his cabinet met frequently under the Kalayaan Tree. Statues to commemorate this piece of history was erected in 2003.
Aguinaldo 10 delegates  Malolos Congress   reunion Dec 8 1929.jpg
Aguinaldo and his delegates from the Malolos Congress in a reunion held in 1929, inside the Cathedral. After the burning, it was rebuilt on 1902 right after the Philippine-American War.
The Malolos Cathedral altar as of today.


A set of graven images and a stained glass window inside the cathedral.
1899 Original photograph is in the University of Michigan Special Collections Library Barasoain Front
A photo of the Barasoain Church, a Roman Catholic church built in 1888. Hailed as the Cradle of Democracy in the East. It was where the first Philippine Congress (September 15, 1898) and he First Philippine Republic (January 23, 1899). Also the site of Emilio Aguinaldo’s inauguration as the first Philippine President.
Barasoain Church as of today.
Barasoain Interior Our Islands and Their People as Seen with Camera and Pencil. Introduced by Major-General Joseph Wheeler 1899.
Opening of First Philippine Congress inside Barasoain Church.
Altar of Barasoain Church as of today.
Malolos Bridge A Wonderful Reproduction of LIVING SCENES In Natural Color Photos fo America's New Posssessions F. Tennyson Neely New York, Chicago, London 1899
An American illustration of the arch bridge leading to Malolos’ city proper. The river below is called Tampoy River.
old photo.jpg
A photo showing the arch bridge in front of the Cathedral.
Ilog Tampoy by James Ricalton ca. 1900 New Jersey teacher sent to capture PH-American War
Old photo of Tampoy River, on the port near the Malolos’ poblacion. Photo taken from above the arch bridge. In the days when land vehicles weren’t yet invented, rivers served as the road of transportation.
Tampoy River as of today, the old port gone.
Photo of the arch bridge as of today.
1899 Original photograph is in the University of Michigan Special Collections Library Malolos Prison
Old illustration of Casa Tribunal de Malolos, where American soldiers and Spanish friars were kept prisoners by Filipinos themselves.
That Street Prison Our Islands and Their People as Seen with Camera and Pencil. Introduced by Major-General Joseph Wheeler , 1899.
Street view. Casa Tribunal on the left side of the road.
Casa Tribunal in 2016.
Modern street view version of Casa Tribunal.
Paseo del Congreso Street Our Islands and Their People as Seen with Camera and Pencil. Introduced by Major-General Joseph Wheeler. , 1899.
Aerial view of old Paseo del Congreso street, where the Barasoain Church is located.
Photo of Paseo del Congreso street as taken beside Baraosain Church.

Anyone who’s seriously interested in history should take the time to visit Malolos and relive the beginnings of our very own Republic.





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