Statues of local heroes Delfin Villa, Pio Valenzuela and Tiburcio De Leon are inside the Valenzuela City Museum at the ground floor of the city hall.
Statues of local heroes Delfin Velilla, Pio Valenzuela and Tiburcio De Leon are inside the Valenzuela City Museum at the ground floor of the city hall.

Earlier this month I started working as a writer for Valenzuela City’s public information office. One of the nice things about this job is that the city hall is near our house and this means I can save on expenses by walking to and from the workplace every day. It also saves me from the stress of regularly commuting to Makati. Not to mention that I’m not totally confined inside the office since I sometimes get sent on assignments.

The downside is that this job keeps me in Valenzuela most of the time. Let’s be honest; while the city has seen significant improvements especially in the business sector in the past decade, it still has a long way to go to becoming a legitimate destination. There aren’t really many interesting spots for the average visitor and the dining scene won’t be soon giving places like Kapitolyo in Pasig or Maginhawa Street in Quezon City a run for their money.

The arch entrance to Museo Valenzuela, which used to be the house of Dr. Pio Valenzuela but now a museum showing the life and a few memorabilia of the patriot.
The arch entrance to Museo Valenzuela, which used to be the house of Dr. Pio Valenzuela but now a museum showing the life and a few memorabilia of the patriot.

It’s not to say that there’s nothing happening in the city. In fact, last week, Valenzuela celebrated its 391st foundation day, and there was a series of activities held mostly around Barangay Polo in the western part of the city. The city traces its beginning as a town in Bulacan known as Polo, which was carved from the town of Catanghalan and established as a separate town in November 12, 1623. This pretty much remained the same until 1975, when the town, then already known as Valenzuela, was removed from the province of Bulacan and incorporated under the administration of Metro Manila. In 1998, Valenzuela gained city status and has since then seen a steady, if somewhat slow, progress.

Onlookers have their share of the Valenzuela delicacy "putong pulo" with "kinulob na manok" during a part of a series of celebration for the city's 391st foundation day.
Onlookers have their share of the Valenzuela delicacy “putong pulo” with “kinulob na manok” during a part of a series of celebration for the city’s 391st foundation day.

Part of this year’s foundation day celebrations was a cooking contest involving the putong pulo, a local delicacy made by steaming rice cakes and mixing them with achuete to give them their distinctive reddish-brown color. Contestants had to come up with one dish that would go well with the puto, and Betchay Lim, a kagawad from neighboring Barangay Mabolo, gained the approval of the judges with her kinulob na manok, a dish made from chicken, chicken intestine and rice mixed with chicken blood.

Such events allow me to experience a side of the city I hadn’t bothered experiencing before, despite having lived here for most of my life. It’s ironic, in fact, that I take great lengths in getting to know the history and culture of the places I visit but take my hometown for granted. Hopefully, this job will allow me to explore more of the place where I grew up and in the process, maybe it will help me get to know myself more.

Perhaps spending a lot of time in Valenzuela these days isn’t a downside, after all.

Advertisements

8 thoughts

  1. Barangay Polo, hmm…if I may ask a question, is San Miguel’s Polo Brewery also in the same location?

    I remember reading something about the brewery formerly being called BBB (Balintawak Beer Brewery) during the Japanese period. Despite the change of name to Polo Brewery today, some public buses still use BBB to denote the place.

    1. I’m not sure, but I think the Polo Brewery is the same San Miguel Brewery located in Marulas, just beside the Tullahan River. I think it was called Polo Brewery because the city of Valenzuela was then called Polo. About BBB, yup, I think it’s called BBB (often shorted to BB) mainly due to association, same way Grace Park East is often called Monumento (because of Bonifacio’s monument) in Caloocan.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s