Vamos a Malolos: Celebrating the History of the Filipino People
When I think of Malolos, the phased-out ten-peso bill automatically pops into mind. I remember squinting at the image of the Barasoain Church on the bill’s reverse side and being delighted at having found the “cat” on its upper frieze.
The “cat” in the upper right frieze (darkened area)
However, the Barasoain Church is more than just a vessel for an Easter egg on a discontinued bill. And that goes the same for the historic city of Malolos.
The famed church up close and personal
The city of Malolos and its people have played a significant role in our country’s epic struggle for freedom. The Malolonians were one of the firsts to take up arms against the oppressive rule of the prayle. Even its women refused to be merely in the background. The “women of Malolos”, unlike most women during the Spanish times, pushed for education and succeeded in establishing a school for and by women. Both men and women of Malolos were also active in the revolution. While the men were doing the fighting, the women were providing them with food and other supplies. It is also in Malolos that the first Philippine Republic was established.
A portion of Rafael del Casal’s “Ang mga kababaihang dalaga ng Malolos”
It’s unfortunate that most Filipinos aren’t even aware of the historical significance of this city. And while others (read: me) know of Malolos because of the Cat in the Barasoain Church, I believe our forefathers would want this city to be remembered for more substantial and meaningful things.
The government of Malolos seeks to accomplish this with Vamos a Malolos (Let’s go to Malolos). This program aims to celebrate and remind Filipinos of the city’s numerous contributions to Philippine history. This cultural event, which will run from January 17 to 23, will showcase various historical and cultural happenings that will culminate in the celebration of “Araw ng Republikang Filipino” on the 23rd.
One such happenings is Fiesta Republica – a merry bundle of festivities filled with food, heritage, and recollections of the glorious past.
A Dulansangan peformance in the Barasoain Church patio
The highlight of Vamos a Malolos would be the Dulangsangan. It is an amalgamation of the Filipino words “dula” which means theatrical play and “lansangan” which means street. Dulansangan is a national street dance-drama competition that will have participants from provinces as far as Marawi City. With the streets of Malolos as their stage, they will reenact parts of their local history in the grandest way possible.
“This isn’t just for Malolos,” says Mayor Christian Natividad. “It’s for every Filipino. Shouldn’t every one of us be proud of what we have achieved here in Malolos?”
This city may not have any beaches to swim on nor does it have any mountains to conquer, but I think it offers something more inviting. Malolos offers stories of the past. Stories made even more compelling by actual tangible things like the Barasoain Church. This city hands us knowledge of our rich heritage, our ingenuity and unfailing courage. A chance to find our identity and pride in the Filipino spirit.
So, why not make “brushing up on history and culture” a part of your New Year’s Resolution and vamos a Malolos this January? Oh, and don’t forget to check out these interesting things that you probably don’t know about Malolos!