Iloilo: The Heritage Molo Mansion

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Typical of a Philippine town setting in the old days is a plaza surrounded by a big church, big houses and mansions. It is the glorious old days dominated by the mestizas and mestizos who were highly-regarded for their colonial looks and moneyed charm. Go around the Philippines and you will be entertained by these bits of history. With almost 400 years of Spanish rule, this isn’t surprising.

Some mansions were destroyed, others neglected. The presence of the mansions that we see today that have obviously seen better days serves as a reminder of this elitist past. Most still stand proud, despite the ruins, haunting us with the beauty they once had. Others are well-preserved either by the families (check Iloilo’s Camina Balay na Bato) that passed their property through generations or by private entities who took control of their preservation. Iloilo is one province where some of Philippines’ old elites come from. Old homes and mansions are scattered all over the city. The state that they are in varies.

The Yusay-Consing Mansion, more popularly known as the Molo Mansion, is the latest heritage house developed by SM Land, Inc.

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Molo Mansion

It’s so heartwarming to see efforts like this being initiated by SM. The Molo Mansion is located just beside the Molo Plaza and is walking distance to the famous Molo Church.

I needed to get the front view photo of the mansion from its own fb page since I didn’t get mine (at least not one without my face plastered on it lol). Here’s one from the back side:

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Molo Mansion

If the big houses around the Jaro Plaza were rescued and preserved like this a decade ago, the Jaro Plaza would still have retained those beautiful architectures around it. In place of those beauty are now commercial spaces that aren’t even made to look good. Anyway…

The Molo Mansion sells Kultura products. Commercialized, but at least preserved and exclusively sells just Philippine-made items.

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this chandelier greets you

This was opened last year in time for the APEC Summit to showcase Ilonggo heritage. So, when I went home for my Christmas vacation last year, the kids and I visited the place immediately. But we weren’t able to enjoy its surroundings since we were just there purely for sightseeing. Last Tuesday was different. We had the luxury of time. After the kids’ swimming lessons at Sarabia Manor, we headed to the Molo Mansion for breakfast.

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“Hapit anay sa Cafe Panay”

There’s a Cafe Panay at the back of the mansion. A signage warmly invites “Hapit anay sa Cafe Panay” which is Hiligaynon (language we Ilonggos speak) for “Pass by Cafe Panay”.

It’s small but it displays things I could be proud of to show to my sons.

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My Dad and my sons

Painting below shows the Jaro Belfry in front of the Jaro Cathedral, one of the landmarks in Iloilo.

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Jaro Belfry painting, jars and sungka

The small resto has 3 “sungka” boards and my Dad patiently explained how this is played to my sons. The boys enjoyed it and I am tempted to bring one with me when we head back to Seoul.

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still learning to play “sungka”

We came for breakfast, right? My sons, as expected, each got an Ilonggo Chorizo meal while my Dad and I each got a Pancit Molo.

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Ilonggo Chorizo

Chorizo also known as longganisa is my first son’s favorite. This comes in different shapes and sizes. I grew up eating the smallish, fat ones that my Mom always bought when we were kids. There are long and slimmer ones, too like the ones that we always eat whenever we are in Cabanatuan (North Luzon). They also come in different flavors. The chorizo that we have in Iloilo is sweet. The ones we eat in Cabanatuan have more spices. The more popular and touristy chorizos are from Vigan. Take your pick.

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Pancit Molo

Pancit Molo is a wonton soup dish. Long ago, Chinese settlers came to the Philippines thus, we also have a lot of Chinese influences on us especially on food. But this particular dish, although influenced by the Chinese settlers is said to have originated from Molo. So, here you go, we have now an Ilonggo dish called pancit molo.

The backyard of the mansion has a very old “Balete” tree. Balete trees have creepy reputation and are always included in horror stories I grew up listening to. There’s a place in New Manila called Balete Drive that has gained a notorious reputation among taxi drivers. Stories of a white lady appearing in the middle of the night along Balete Drive is not uncommon. It never fails to give us goosebumps. Ironically, we have a unit along Balete Drive  in New Manila… hahaha. We stay there whenever we are on vacation. The landscape has changed over the years also with the buzzing of activity brought about by new constructions around the place. New Manila is actually an affluent area and Balete Drive is lined with big houses. I wonder how this white lady story really originated that even movies and tv shows came up with their own balete drive stories.

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Balete Tree

To make the backyard less eerie, the management made it a cozy place to spend your siesta in. Table Matters was put up with an ice cream stall. They sell native products as well.

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drinks and dessert place at the backyard

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Ice Cream stall

And what’s the best thing about this ice cream stall?

Its ternate flower-flavored ice cream!

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ternate flowers and ternate flower-flavored ice cream

The attendant told me that the ice cream is made at Villa (district next to Molo) and pointed me to the blue flowers grown near the ice cream stall when I asked how the ternate flower looks like (photo above). They can be eaten raw and have health benefits as well.  It is a natural anti-oxidant, improves blood circulation, and helps prevent hair loss and graying hair. It also cleanses blood & improves night vision, revitalizes skin and hair. Interesting!

It’s amazing how things from the past could offer so much history today and how ornamental plants actually have health benefits. Yahoo to new discoveries!

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23 Responses

  1. I wish I was in a position to help you with this, but all I can do right now is give you my best wishes and keep my fingers crossed. I’ve seen the video and it looks like a fantastic project

  2. I am actually one ride away from this place but still until now I didn’t get to visit due to a busy schedule and everytime I have a spare time, it is always raining so I could not enjoy the outdoor feel around. I guess I should schedule it this summer. A good read of your experience madame. 🙂
    Mark Ian Alloso recently posted..MtG Iloilo Tournaments Schedule this WeekMy Profile

  3. http://www./ says:

    I have used this “technique” successfully with our son a couple of different times. But for some reason I have gotten away from it both times. Right now we are remodeling his bedroom (so he has nowhere to go for quiet play time before bed…and lights out for him right now also means lights out for us because he is sleeping in the living room) but as soon as his room is back together, I will be using this again.

  4. Gina says:

    I love how you always take your sons to beautiful places and show them your culture. It’s always important for children to know where they came from. The mansion looks like something out of a Disney attraction and I wouldn’t be surprised if they got their inspiration from there!
    Gina recently posted..What to Pack for Southeast AsiaMy Profile

    • wendy says:

      Thanks, Gina. The boys need to be exposed to their roots more and more. They can’t be foreigners in our own country even though they have lived out of our country most of their lives.

  5. Roxy says:

    Wendy this mansion looks incredible! From the flower flavored ice cream to that gorgeous chandelier to welcome you. It’s looks like an amazing place to visit with lots to see and do (and eat!).
    Thank you for sharing!

    • wendy says:

      Thanks, Roxy. We have beautiful old houses around here in the Philippines. We just need to exert more effort to preserve them.

  6. izzy says:

    I love your intro! So many people don’t know of the Philippines’ colonial history and you described it so beautifully. My lola on my dad’s side was a true mestiza. My hair color is way lighter than that of my cousins because of her. And talaga chorizo is the same as longanisa? Akala ko na hindi sila pareho. But I’m not sure! I have to agree with you, the sweeter longanisa is so much better! I was in Manila this weekend and was absolutely enthralled with some sweet Bicol longanisa. Enjoy the rest of your trip!
    izzy recently posted..The ABCs of TravelMy Profile

    • wendy says:

      I’d like to hear about your Manila weeked, Izzy. Nice that you’re just a couple of hours away from Manila now.

  7. Jackie says:

    Hi Ate Wendy,
    Wonderful post as usual! I have never been to Iloilo, but at least I know what to look out for. I was actually just thinking of where to go once we get to Manila in November. I’m also not surprised that the decor was mostly from Kultura, but okay lang maganda naman decors nila.
    About sungka, haha it’s a great way to share Pinoy culture with your kids! I bought din while I was in Manila but for some reason it got lost while we were in Seoul. But I plan to buy again when the kids are older (and my younger one isn’t putting everything in her mouth, haha!)
    Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  8. This is so great! I really enjoyed walking through your day with you. I love trying new and different ice cream flavours. This one looks like a must try!

  9. Laura Nalin says:

    Your dress is really pretty! Looking at that pancit molo makes me really hungry! My mom used to make ice cream made out of rose petals when I was growing up. She loved to cook using edible flowers. I wish I could taste the ice cream you ate. Mmm, fooooood. Thanks for posting!
    Laura Nalin recently posted..Apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa in KoreaMy Profile

    • wendy says:

      Rose petals? And cooking with edible flowers. Lucky you, you weren’t surprised with this ternate flower ice cream then. My, I should learn to check these out. Thanks.

  10. Flower-flavored ice cream? Neat! I bet it was tasty! I had some alcohol infused ice cream myself yesterday here in Delaware, USA and I must say experimental flavored ice cream is pretty cool! Great to see you have a wonderful time with your family on vacation!

  11. Nicole says:

    Man, I love chorizo so much!! I miss it so much in Korea 🙁 That ternate flower ice cream sounds interesting- I’ve never heard of ternate flower before so I can’t imagine it- is the flavour comparable to anything? Iloilo looks like a beautiful place- thanks so much for sharing 🙂

    • wendy says:

      My son also loves tomeat chorizo. I overdo my rice if we have chorizo on the table:-). It was my first time to know about ternate flower, too.

  12. Emre says:

    You can make ice cream out of literally everything. I’m curious of how it tastes like. The other food looks delicious too.
    Emre recently posted..Sanmotoonge CafeMy Profile

    • wendy says:

      I’m not good with words when it comes to tastes so it’s just ice cream for me hahahaha. So, maybe it doesn’t really have any distinct taste or else i should have noticed.

  13. Megan Indoe says:

    OH my that food looks delicious! We are finally going to visit the Philippines in October and I couldn’t be more excited! I dont think we will be able to go to Iloilo, but it seems like from your posts there are lots of interesting things to see there!
    Megan Indoe recently posted..Daily Life in Seoul: Screen Golf, 4 for 10’s, and some NoraebangMy Profile

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