Paseo de Congreso, Plaza Rizal
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From the time it was built in 1580, Casa Real had undergone many transformations. The original structure’s cogon and bamboo were replaced by hardwood and tile, later rebuilt using bricks and mortar. At various times it was used as the seat of government, banquet hall and ballroom for official functions, as a treasury, printing press, hospital, military headquarters, school, bank and post office. But to the people of Malolos, the beloved landmark was always Casa Real.
Casa Real today is a shrine dedicated to the 21 women of Malolos, who embodied the ideals of feminism long before the word or idea became a social force.
On December 12, 1888, these young ladies wrote then Governor-General Valeriano Weyler to ask for the establishment of a school, at their own expense, where they could learn Spanish. During Weyler’s visit to Malolos, a ball was held in his honor at Casa Real. As daughters of the principalia, the young women were invited to the event. They took advantage of the occasion to personally present their petition to Weyler, who granted their request.
On February 22, 1889 Jose Rizal wrote the women from London commending their courage. The letter was printed in La Solidaridad, the Propaganda Movement’s newspaper published in Spain.
The 21 women’s pictures and the letter the national hero sent them are found in Casa Real. The shrine also showcases the social milieu in which they were born. Casa Real’s structure itself is an example of the bahayna-bato, or stone house, where the Kamestisuhan of Malolos lived in the 19th century. Its interiors display magnificent period furniture, notably pieces inlaid with bone, the signature Bulacan style. There are also example of exquisite Filipino costumes and jewelry typical of the times.
The Shrine also contains two other exhibits. “Eminent Bulakenas” pays tribute to the daughters of Bulacan who have distinguished themselves in their chosen profession. “Filipina Firsts” honors one hundred women from various parts of the country who were the first Filipino women in professional fields or events previously dominated by men.
The Casa Real Shrine is located along the Paseo del Congreso in Malolos, Bulacan.