Tips and Guides

RL Spotlight: Malabon at a Glance

Learn more about this interesting city and discover ten things that you can do here

Photography: Ocs Alvarez

Malabon is located north of Manila, with three rivers-Tullahan, Tinajeros, and Malabon rivers-passing through the city. Centuries ago, these rivers can be navigated to reach northern provinces like Bulacan. During the Spanish colonial period, Malabon wasn't even a separate town; it was a visita or parish of Tondo and was known as Tambobong, named after the tambo trees that thrive in the area. 

Read the original article ("Malabon at a Glance”) in the March 2013 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details. 

The friars would go to Tambobong for vacation. From this, the word Malabon was coined: "mala" meaning mud that dirtied their robes and shoes, and "bon" referring to the fresh air and sumptuous dishes they enjoyed. As centuries went by, Tambobong thrived, thanks to its proximity to the Manila Bay, thus connecting it to the Galleon Trade. Malabon became a town, which was part of Rizal province, after the 1898 revolution. In 2001, Malabon was declared a city.

Huge churches abound in the city, and old, Spanish-style houses dot the street of C. Arellano, which traverses three barangays. And as a city with its own way of life, its people pride itself with a distinct culture (ex. They don't sell houses that they inherited from grandparents or ancestors), hence the abundance of conserved, ancestral houses, some of which date back to the 1800s. 

10 Things to do in Malabon

1. Check out the beautiful ancestral houses along C. Arellano Street.

2. Eat the original pancit Malabon at Rosy's. C. Arellano cor. Bonifacio streets

3. Visit the Malabon Zoo with your kids. Gen. McArthur Highway, Potrero




4. Make visita Iglesia to San Bartolome, San Antonio de Padua, and Concepcion churches.

5. Drop by the Malabon-Navotas shipyards and take moody Instagram photos.

6. View two generations of artwork at Angel Cacnio's residence-gallery. 62 Don B. Bautista Boulevard


7. Buy retro-inspired Japanese bikes at the many surplus bicycle stores in the area.

8. Ride on a quaint, intricately detailed stainless pedicab.

9. Buy patis!

10. Take home pichi-pichi from Arny-Dading's Peachy-Peachy. Gov. Pascual Ave., Bgy. Concepcion



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