THE INTERIM CAPITAL. After the declaration of the Philippine Independence in Kawit, General Emilio Aguinaldo moved the seat of government to Malolos, Bulacan. It was in the ancestral houses near the Malolos Cathedral that Aguinaldo established various offices for the First Philippine Republic from September 10, 1898 to March 29, 1901.
Some of these ancestral houses are still inhabited and in good physical condition. While there are some houses that have been converted into commercial establishments, there are also those that has been demolished several years ago.
PALACIO PRESIDENCIAL DE AGUINALDO. With a book written about ten years ago, we went to Malolos to locate these ancestral houses in an area near the Malolos Cathedral called as the Kamistisuhan District. From Casa Real, we started off by walking through the General Felipe Estrella Bridge on my way to Malolos Cathedral. The Cathedral’s facade stands out from the opposite end of the bridge.
The Convent of Malolos Cathedral served as the seat of the Aguinaldo’s Presidency.
HERITAGE HOUSE GONE. From the Cathedral, we walked south towards the corner of Estrella and Pariancillo Streets where the Arcadio Ejercito House stands. This house served as the Department of War of the First Philippine Republic. The house looks modern with commercial establishments at the ground floor.
Along the left side of Pariancillo Street is the Erastro Cervantes House which housed the Department of Interior. According to the guide book, the house of Ponciano Tiongson which was the Commissaria de Guerra should be right across the Cervantes House. I’ve learned from a local resident that the house was demolished years ago. An Internet café occupies the site. An old movie house stand next to the Cervantes house.
ADRIANO HOUSE. The Adriano House also along Pariancillo Street is not easy to miss because this ancestral home has been beautifully restored to its original state by Meralco. The Adriano house served as the Gobierno Militar de la Plaza during Revolution.
OLD CARCEL. Just across the Adriano House is the old Carcel. The old jailhouse has sealed half-moon balconies.
INSTITUTO DE MUJERES. Turning left at the next corner, we found the site where Jose Rizal’s Letter To the Women of Malolos was read. It was through this letter that Rizal (writing from Spain) gave encouragement to the brave women who established a night school for women, the Instituto de Mujeres, against the objections of the town friars.
LOMOTAN HOUSE. Turning left to Sto. Nino Street, on a corner lot stands the gabled-roof Lomotan House.
JOSE BAUSTISTA CARYATID HOUSE. Directly across the Lomotan House is the famous 1877 Jose Bautista House with the caryatids on the street façade. Don Jose Bautista served as Aguinaldo’s aide de camp. The house served as office of the Secretaria de Fomento. We’ve learned that the descendants of Don Jose converted the house into a living museum of antique artifacts.
Moving on to the corner of Santo Nino and Estrella Street stands another old movie house. At this point, we’re back on Estrella Street, facing the Malolos Cathedral.
MABINI’S OFFICE. Across the church along Estrella Street is the Lino and Maria Reyes House with its weathered wind vain and octagonal rose windows. This house served as the office of Apolinario Mabini when he was appointed as chief adviser to President Aguinaldo. There were rumors that time that Mabini and Aguinaldo were often heard arguing from this house.
GENERATION GAP. Locating these ancestral houses in the Kamistisuhan District can be challenging because none of the houses were properly marked. Some of the people, particularly those from my generation cannot seem to identify these houses when we asked them.
EPILOGUE. We visited the museum at Barasoain Church run by the National Historical Institute where museum administrators Neth Jimenez and Edgar Santiago showed us old photos of the houses located in the Kamistisuhan District to confirm the houses we viewed that day.