To many, the first thing that comes to mind about Muntinlupa is Bilibid or the National Penitentiary. While the prison complex is indeed a major landmark in the city, there is definitely more to this bustling city in Southern Metro Manila. As LEAGUE visited Muntinlupa, the team had a firsthand encounter with the other side of Muntinlupa that people might be missing out on.
Free parks are one of the best perks a city can provide for its people, especially if it brings them closer to nature. The Bayanan Baywalk is within Laguna de Bay, which provides a touch of nature in the middle of urbanization.
Also situated here is the city’s Lake Management Office. The office is responsible for creating and implementing policies for the protection of Laguna de Bay within Muntinlupa’s jurisdiction and for protecting fishermen from poachers. The baywalk is also used in the reproduction of fishes, which the city eventually distributes to the city’s fishermen for free. Aside from that, the office also supports students in their research about the hyacinths that can be harvested from Laguna de Bay. Students from different science high schools in the city coordinate with the office to pick up samples of hyacinths to study. In return, the students are encouraged to share their studies with the office.
The public is free to use the baywalk for their recreation and relaxation. However, it is open for limited access at the moment to give way to the development of the C6 road. Meanwhile, the park beside it remains open. The park is given life by food stalls from 1 pm until 12 midnight everyday.
OUR LADY OF THE ABANDONED
The Diocesan Shrine and Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned was founded in 1863 and originally stood along Amparo Street, facing Laguna de Bay. Eventually, the parish’s structure became old while parishioners grew in number, so it was transferred to the national road in 1927 for expansion. From the old structure built with lightweight materials, the new parish was made stronger with concrete walls.
Our Lady of the Abandoned originated in Valencia, Spain where there was an orphanage run by an organization. One day, the organization wanted to have a patron for the abandoned children and its guardians so they decided to commission people to do it. But before they were able to commission sculptors, two boys volunteered to carve it instead. The boys only asked not to be disturbed inside the room while they were making the image. The caretakers of the orphanage were so curious when the boys did not make a single noise and not even went out of the room. When they sneaked into the room, they were surprised to find that the image was already carved with two angels below it. Since then, it was believed that the two angels were the boys who carved the image. Our Lady of the Abandoned in Muntinlupa just celebrated its 160th year, which also coincided with its Canonical Coronation.
MUSEO NG MUNTINLUPA
The Museo ng Muntinlupa is a five-story building that was opened to the public in March 2019. The museum’s first floor is the grand lobby that welcomes visitors; the second floor houses the permanent galleries which are divided into three: Buhay (Life), Talino (Wisdom), and Lakas (Strength) galleries which were inspired by the motto of the city. The Buhay gallery exhibits the life of the Muntinlupeños which was then centered on fishing as their main livelihood. Also displayed in the gallery are the fishing equipment such as salakot (wide brimmed hat) and baklad (fish trap), which is also the inspiration for the museum’s exterior design. Meanwhile, an interactive screen shows the different means of livelihood in Muntinlupa.
The Talino Gallery, shows the equipment donated by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, formerly known as Alabang Serum Vaccine Laboratory, main distributor of anti-venom and anti rabies vaccines. It also features the old Filinvest Land, products of the biggest companies operating in the city, and the history behind why the New Bilibid Prison was built in Muntinlupa. The third floor of the building details the richness of the flora and fauna and the animals inhabiting the city in spite of the urbanization around it. The rest of the museum is alloted for child-friendly displays. Located on the fourth floor is the conference room that can be rented for corporate events. What’s more amazing about Museo ng Muntinlupa is it also has a medium-sized theater located on the fifth floor.
This museum that was specially designed and conceptualized by three groups of designers is filled with creatively-thought interactive displays. It applies barrier-free tourism by making it PWD (persons with disability) friendly. The museum even designed a gallery for those with visual and hearing impairment so they can feel and hear the environment of the city. The elevator buttons have Braille markings while ramps are available inside the building. Entry to the museum is free for the public as of writing.
DIELLE’S APIARY & MEADERY
Dielle’s, inspired by the name of the owners' chidren, which also translates to “God,” is a game-changer in the wine market. The sweet and subtle taste of their wine especially caters to the Filipino palette. Their secret? Honey! Dielle’s Apiary & Meadery owner Luke Macababbad shares that their business started with beekeeping with only four colonies in 2002. When they unexpectedly harvested more than 100 kilograms of honey, they thought of using it to make wine instead. But of all the products that can be made using honey, Macababbad admits that he loves drinking so wine was the first idea that came to his mind.
Officially registered in 2007, Dielle’s started with more than 20 variants. Dielle’s uses real fruits such as wild berry, duhat (java plum), mango, and lychee. Because of the natural sweetness and color of fruits, the brand is proud that they do not use artificial ingredients to achieve the flavor and color. Freshlypicked ripe fruits are immediately fermented, a process which will last up to three weeks, then will undergo a second fermentation and filtration to achieve a clearer result. The taste of the wine will depend on the aging process. Dielle’s wines are aged for at least six months before they are transferred to bottles for distribution and selling.
Dielle’s variants have been reduced to 12 with their best-sellers, honey and wild berry, and their unique offering, the coffee wine. Every 375 ml bottle sells for Php350 to Php420, depending on where it is purchased. It is available in selected malls and hotels.
Dining at Neil’s Kitchen will make you feel prouder to be a Filipino. This popular restaurant in Alabang unlocked an entirely new way of serving Filipino food without altering the flavors that we love. The owner, Chef Neil Ramos, shared that the restaurant started in 2015, as a response to requests from his regular customers when he was offering catering services. Ramos believes that Filipino dishes are already palatable, so he only complemented this with a creative presentation by deconstructing and reconstructing every dish.
Number one on their menu is the Grilled Salmon in Miso Sinigang or the Concert King’s Salmon Sinigang. Concert King Martin Nieverra specifically requested this so they decided to make it a mainstay. Another best-seller is the Sinigang Paella with Grilled Pork where the meat is served separately while the rice is cooked using the sinigang soup. You’ll be more surprised to know that the restaurant offers three more versions of sinigang you can choose from.
Other mouth-watering dishes are the Baked C-sig or sisig over baked sisig; pescetarian-friendly Tokwa and Seafood for appetizer; Bumble Bee Shrimp which is squid ink-covered shrimp drizzled with cheese; Adobo Project, chicken flakes over pork, and The Grilled Chicken and Crispy Pork Dinuguan Fondue served with puto. For dessert, enjoy the satisfying texture of Fried Suman (rice cake) with Mangga (mango) and Choconut that is not too sweet but flavorful enough to perfectly end your dining experience. The restaurant also hosts private gatherings. The “bookstore” area can seat up to 20 people, the black room can accommodate up to 40 people, while the roof deck is for 70 to 80 guests. Ramos invites everyone to Neil’s Kitchen as they are about to serve more dishes soon!