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Commuting is more Fun in the Philippines

A journey to and from the historic Malolos in Bulacan

semi-overcast 29 °C

While it is true that I don't have my own car, it does not hinder me from venturing the historic destinations in the nearby province. I do not fear commuting, riding jeepneys, buses, vans, tricycles because riding with other passengers, no matter if they're all strangers, side by side is more fun.

I have been planning to visit the historic Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan. All I can remembers from our high school history class is that the said church hosted the temporary residency of General Emilio Aguinaldo. It also hosted several historic events, such as the convening of the First Philippine Congress (September 15, 1898), the drafting of the Malolos Constitution (September 29, 1898 to January 21, 1899), and the inauguration of the First Philippine Republic (January 23, 1899). Despite its proximity to Metro Manila, for several years the plan remained until this recent long weekend.

I stayed at my sister En's place over the weekend at San Jose Del Monte City in Bulacan. The subdivision where they got a unit was near, a walking distance in fact, the Pacific Waves Resort. I started my journey from that point and proceeded to the Grotto at Tungkong-Mangga. I spent 16pesos already. I took one more shot of the spot and then asked the guard the way to reach Marilao. He told me that it cost me a double ride, jeepney from that point to Mozon then transfer to another jeepney to SM Marilao. So I did and cost me 25pesos.

I asked the guard at SM mall if there fx vans also take routes to Malolos but he confirmed that only jeepneys go there. So I took another jeepney ride worth P33 to reach Malolos Capitol. Antonishingly, the jeepney I was riding in passed through the North Luzon Express (NLEX) way. I never thought jeepneys are allowed in this highway. So my way to Malolos was express and smooth. The driver asked for anybody among us passengers will disembark before or after the flyover. But you better alight after the flyover, at the location of Malolos Capitol. There I was told to take another jeepney ride across the street, those passing through "Derecho" or Malolos "Bayan". To reach my ultimate destination cost me another 8 pesos.

I found the antiquity of the church amazing. There stand the statue of General Emilio Aguinaldo in front of the church and the convent. It was closed when I arrived there so I took the chance to roam around it and inside the massive convent. There I found out that the rickshaw Aguinaldo used then and there was this inland garden. As a practicing Roman Catholic, I found the statues around the place wonderfully unique. There was this Jesus cradling a baby dedicated for aborted children, a young Jesus with his parents doing carpentry, and more. See them for yourself.

There are plenty of ways to reach Malolos City. There are bus lines, fx vans from SM North Edsa (i guess there are still lots of terminals but only SM North Edsa's that I knew), jeepneys from Malinta in Valenzuela City. If by a private car, take the NLEX and exit through Tabang.

Being in Malolos was a chance to tour the city around. And to my amazement, I have found more spots recommendable to local and foreign tourists to enjoy. They were all adjacent to each other, so from the church, simply walk your way to the town proper. You will notice several heritage houses, one of which was owned by Jose Cojuanco, the former Representative of the 1st district of Tarlac in the Philippines. A little farther is the Casa Real --- a printing press during the Malolos Republic, the Casa Real was restored in 1852 and converted into a municipal library. It is now a museum under the management of the National Historical Institute and serves as the final repository of still existing memorabilia (check the bulacan website). You will see around, beyond the Casa Real, the Malolos Cathedral and its City Hall.

After 2 hours of walking under the intermittent drizzles of the rain, I head back to where I came from. I never thought that my way back to my sister's place was too long and winding. I was told that the way I came in will never be the same way to go back to Marilao. Most vans that will pass through the expressway were heading directly to Metro Manila area. Only jeepney passed through Marilao but in a different way. I hopped in one of the parking jeepney and handed in my 20peso bill saying SM Marilao. I noticed earlier that most jeepneys have signboard "Bocaue", and the driver confirmed he's driving me up to Bocaue only. It was my first time to travel around these places so I kept my eyes open.

It was good to seat in front; I noticed passing Guiguinto, Bulacan, then later Balagtas, Bulacan and then the jeep parked at Bocaue public market. The driver pointed to nowhere the terminal for Marilao he said. I followed other passengers who crossed the footbridge and through a flea market. At the foot of an old flyover, men were barking "SM Marilao! SM Marilao!" I really thought I lost my way. And the jeepney ride cost me P11. This time I was confident that I already knew my way. As soon as I arrived back at the mall, I followed a queue for San Jose Del Monte and was on the jeep few minutes later. That ride which cost me another P21 dropped me at Mozon. I initially thought of going the same way back however it will be so circuitous for me. So I tried the other route, the one that passed through Sampol, another barangay of San Jose Del Monte City.

It was such a very long way and a two-ride journey which I never anticipated. The 16 pesos carried me through Sampol, and another 16 pesos was paid for a bus ride towards Palmera area where the Starmall was, the nearest mall to my sister's place. I was glad I got home however late and breathtaking because the bus passed through some ravines, cliffs, deep valleys.

It was just a day to round the Bulacan province. All in all, the commuting was fun and cheap, nonetheless exhausting!

Posted by crisbernal 15:00 Archived in Philippines Tagged philippine_tours budget_travels malolos_bulacan baroque_churches

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