After almost two hours of walking through the town center of Malabon, I was so parched that I’ve decided to drop by Pescadores along Letre Road. Upon entering the restaurant compound, I first noticed that there were two function halls. An event was taking place at the one farther from the entrance, so I opted to go inside the first hall to the left of the gate.
The the walls of the hall are lined with huge picture windows providing the restaurant with abundant natural lighting and a view of what appears to be a raft over a pond which I believe provides guests an al fresco dining experience.
From the far side of the spacious hall, I saw a man who immediately stood up when I asked for the menu. The man was refined in action and has a mild-mannered disposition when he handed over the menu. I asked myself, could this be the owner? I made an unsolicited introduction and I was surprised when he replied that Architect Richard Tuason-Bautista forwarded my email to him when I inquired about the Malabon tour a year ago.
This confirmed my hunch. I was meeting Mochet Lucas of Pescadores Restaurant who belongs to the family that owns the Malabon-fame Rufina Patis and one of the prime-movers of Lusong Malabon, an advocacy-tour promoting Malabon as a heritage and cultural center which he and architect Bautista initiated.
What followed in this serendipitous meeting was Mochet helping me identify the old houses I have captured in my camera. I’ve observed that he knows these houses by heart. Even the details which I showed to him like an art nouveau carving on a house’s façade that he immediately identified as the Luna House located along C. Arellano Street.
Perhaps he noticed my interest to know more about these houses in Malabon that he pulled out the research work of Architect Bautista which I think they also use as visual aid for travelers like me. The research work presents images of the house (some with old photographs), brief description of the houses including architectural features, the current and previous owners, the historical relevance such as the year when they were built, and the present condition. What I find outstanding in the research work is the part where it provides recommendations for the heritage structures.
Monchet explained to me that renovating and preserving the integrity of these old structures are costly on the part of the owners. He noted that unless we present ways on how the owners of the antique houses can get income from it, the heritage houses of Malabon will end up in second class lumber shops where old scrap wood are being sold at exorbitant prices. But the monetary value of these house are really nothing compared to the cultural legacy and historical significance they can provide particularly for the next generation.
Monchet noted that one of the major problems that needs to be solved in Malabon is the perennial flooding that perils the old structures. However, the solution is not to raise the elevation of the roads (as how it is being done today) since it destroys the heritage landscape of the town because it makes the old houses seemed buried half-way to the ground.
After going through the research work and having an enriching discussion with Monchet, I realized that I have missed a lot from the D-I-Y tour. There is more to Malabon that is worth discovering.
Pescadores is open from Mondays to Saturdays
11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Telephone numbers: 288. 77. 20 and 288. 62. 96