Malon House

The Malon House dates back to the late 19th century. It is the largest heritage house in Baclayon - home to six (6) generations of the prominent Malon family. It is a huge two-story wooden structure, now grayish in color due to the onslaught of the elements for centuries. The wing facing the sea was destroyed by a typhoon in 1968 leaving the original T-shaped structure to look uneven.

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Tracing its history back to Doña Ambrocia Ypong de Malon, a merchant of much wealth at that time, it also plays host to political meetings with then Pres. Carlos P. Garcia when a descendant, Juan Malon, worked under the political banner of the President at the Baclayon Municipal Hall.

The Malon House is directly situated along the road and on the outside is unimpressive and devoid of paint.

The lower portion notably has horizontal wooden slabs for walls which are uniform in size. A portion has been set aside for a window with vertical wooden sticks as barrier. It is now permanently closed with thick wooden slabs.

Entrance is at the center of the side of the house facing the street. The entrance is wide and the door is made of thick wooden slabs held together by hinges and so can be folded. Three steps go down to the level of the ground floor; the first step being the same level as that of the road alongside the house.

On the outside, the upper portion of the house has balusters yet they are covered on the inside by wood. Above the balusters are intermittent wide openings for windows with window panels having capiz shells that lets the sunshine in even if closed at daytime.

Beside the windows, which are supposedly the walls, are horizontal wooden louvers placed in such a way as to let the fresh air in when the windows are closed. Even on the outside, one can see that the house is well ventilated. The portion of the wall above the windows and near to the roof has geometric designs on it.

Dull and old as it may look on the outside, the grandeur of the house is felt when you are inside. Immediately after entering the roadside opening, one sees a grand staircase, wide and made up of thick hardwood slabs that are so shiny after centuries of polishing. Handrails and balusters at both sides of the stairs are of wood.

Golden light shimmer on the wooden staircase from a window opening situated just above it. Both sides of the steps are decorated with large seashells which are family collections. At the bottom of the stairs, one sees three earthen jars and other old relics arranged on a low wooden dais.

The upper floor is the living quarters of the family. At the top of the stairs and at the left hand corner is the portrait of the family’s matriarch, Doña Ambrocia, and below the portrait is the family tree. Turning towards the right one enters a wide door that leads to the living room.

The living room is a showcase of antique furniture. Near the windows are two round tables surrounded with four armchairs each. Between the tables is an antique consul table with porcelain bowls and pitchers on it and two very big porcelain jars beside it. Two porcelain planters are also below the table.

One side of the living room displays a piano with pink candle stands and framed decors gracing the top. Above the piano and on the wall is a painting depicting typical Filipino scenery. The frame holding the painting is carved and notably very old. A wood carving presenting the Tinikling, a native Filipino dance, is placed at both sides of the painting. Armchairs, looking like those around the round tables are also placed in front of the piano.

Boholanos are very religious and their homes are never without altars or some religious decorations on it. At the Malon House the family has an altar beside the piano with the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a crucifix and other images on it. A life-size statue of a saint is standing beside the altar. At the wall and on the left hand side of the saint is a mirror with carved framing and under it a very big jar.

The living room is replete with all antique furniture such as round tables, chairs, consul table with knick knacks, painting on walls, mirrors and other family collections. The flooring is notably of large hardwood planks, well waxed and very shiny. Doors leading to the bedrooms are curtained and curtains held in place by carved wooden curtain holders.

Two large doorways on one side of the room lead to the dining room. A long rectangular dining table is at the center of the room. The table has curved wooden extensions at both ends. It looks like that the curved extensions were added to the typical rectangular shape at a later date. Armchairs with the same design as those seen in the living room surround the table.

The dining room is warm, cozy and bright with two wide window openings at one side, letting the sunshine and the cool breeze in. Between the windows is a wooden china cabinet with chinaware collections on display. At a far corner beside a door leading to a bedroom is another china cabinet with the upper portion of the cabinet glassed and contains other china and glassware collections of the family. At the opposite end is another unique cabinet with the upper portion painted white. A small table still with more family memorabilia is near the window.

The Malon House is now a museum. It has on display family collections that lived thru 6 generations. Bedrooms have old beds, cabinets and antique dressers. Old skirts are also on display, old books, and lamps without the glass coverings although some are intact; small porcelain vases, large glass vases and even the carved handles and decorations of bedposts that fell off.

You will appreciate the grandeur and beauty of the Malon house interiors if you pay it a visit. You can visit it upon request even to the extent of staying in it overnight or longer. The family now offers bed and breakfast to local and foreign guests together with other families in Baclayon that are living in ancestral homes. It is one way of sharing the cultural past and lifestyle of Boholanos to those who are interested.

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Photos courtesy of Rebecca Weeks and her Flickr page.


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