Enter the Northern Maze | Birthday Commutrip

“What will we do on your birthday?”

Jake’s question was quite loaded. First of all, my birthday was on a weekday and absenting myself was not a good idea. I was allowed to have under time but that’s a whole other story.

Pondering still on Jake’s question, I continued thinking. We’ve gone south and to the east. So why not the two of us head up north?

As the best friend knows now, I make it a point to see religious-historical art, which usually means a church. Finding just one was easy. I actually found two within walking distance of each other.

Still, Jake searched for something more nature-y. His preference. He found a park and a huge one at that. But it was so far! For some time, we considered not going to the park anymore because it was just too out of the way. But after comparing the distance of the last time we went far, the idea no longer seemed daunting.

The only hitch—from my POV—was the original plan was changed: we both agreed that he would sleep at my house, so we could leave early and not be as late as opposed to the last trip. But a certain circumstance happened. So, the morning of our trip began with us literally running after a moving Victory bus. And one that was moving out of the terminal and on with its journey. Thankfully, we still made it on time!

Off to Churches and Houses

To get to our first stop, we alighted around the Malolos Capitol area and took one of those small jeeps. It reminded me of the last time I was there, which was back in the early 2000s. And then, there it was: Barasoain Church, also known as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish. I did not realize that it was huge, even grander than I imagined.

We arrived for what we think was the second mass of the day. So, even though we entered the church, we couldn’t take photos of the interior. So we settled for just the exteriors.

Fact: Barásoain’s name is influenced by a real place at Navarre, Spain. Also, it comes from “baras ng suwail” or “dungeon of the defiant”, which referred to the church being a meeting place for the anti-Spanish folks of the time.

Some more moments hanging outside, we realized that there was a parade forming at the church yard. We have no idea what it was for but it seemed pretty important for the Knights of Columbus to be there in their glorious black capes and feathered-furred hats.

Because the noise was building, we walked to our next stop. But not before we swung by a couple of interesting points. First was Casa Real, which was—from what I remember—a museum, among other things. Then there was also the House of Don Antonio S. Bautista. Unfortunately, it too was locked.

A few more steps, we finally sighted Malolos Cathedral, which also goes by the title Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception. It housed the first president of the country and still serves as sanctuary for other holy relics. Like its neighbor, mass was still ongoing but without the parade outside.

Food and Questions

After Jake spent a few moments of prayer, we had quick lunch at Chowking. Our beef tapa meals were alright but the rice wasn’t the usual fried type we were used to having. The meat was decent enough though.

Lunch at Chowking
Lunch at Chowking

On my insistence, we swung by a shop close by, just to have answers. Interestingly, my hunch was right: I did spot a Cindy’s branch. Cindy’s was one of the popular local fast food restaurants of the 80’s but started to disappear in the mid 90’s. The Malolos branch is more of a bakery now than anything else.

An unexpected find: Cindy's
An unexpected find: Cindy’s

Thanks to the helpful lady at a store, my memory of stops were proven correct. So, from Malolos, we took a jeep to Plaridel. On the way, we passed by Plaridel Church, which is also called Quingua Church and Santiago Apostol Church. Too bad we don’t have photos of it because we were in transit.

[This is Part One of a Two-Part Post.]

Victory Bus (Manila – Malolos): Php 53.00/person

Jeep (Capitol – Barasoain Church): Php 7.50/person

Jeep (Malolos – Plaridel): Php 18.00/person

Chowking

Malolos Square, Malolos, Bulacan

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