Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite: A Must-Visit Historical Place for Every Filipino

I'm sure that the mere mention of Kawit Cavite instantly reminds one of the renowned Aguinaldo Shrine--where the First Philippine Republic took place and it's where they first waved the Philippine flag and sang our national anthem. It could also mean as the birthplace of the late Philippine President and General Emilio Aguinaldo. I used to just see them either in post cards, textbooks or in the old five-peso bill but I had never set foot in Kawit, Cavite until last year, December 30, 2014 to be exact. 

I had just been invited to cover Kawit's annual Pamaskong Aguinaldo event organized by Kawit Inc. and the city government. Part of the visit was the chance to tour the Aguinaldo Shrine. Touring the late General's house had given me a glimpse of the past--on how he had lived his life and how much he truly loved his country. I had learned so much about the Philippine history that afternoon. Seeing Gen. Aguinaldo's house is like getting to know him up close and personal or perceiving him in ways other people may not have known. His home speaks patriotism. You'll see it from the Philippine flags that adorned the poles of his house, the decors on the walls, even as you look up to the ceiling (their main dining room's ceiling had the Philippine map) or you look down on the spacious old wooden floor. He had designed a home that reflects his personality. Aguinaldo Shrine had lots of secret passages (one leading to his room), dual purpose decorative table, and it has a very unique architectural style. Looking from the outside, one would think it's only four or five storey. But Aguinaldo Shrine actually had seven floors + an attic. The structure is very clever, very shrewdly made. The late general is indeed a genius on his own. 

The beds and matresses used by Aguinaldo's family, old medicines and violet Filipiniana from his favorite daughter.

The intricate design found at the Aguinaldo Shrine's ceiling: Map of the country, Sun with the eight provinces that started the revolution etc.

Did you know that the late President of the First Philippine Republic, General Emilio Aguinaldo had his own bowling lanes and 10-feet swimming pool at his home? The old ancestral house of the Aguinaldos was indeed grand. It had the late General's medicine cabinet along with his used medicines intact. There was even a "loveseat" and a beautifully decorated "spit bowl". We were dumbfounded by all the sightings we've had. They also own a special compartment where they kept dry ice from the USA until they were able to acquire one of the very firsts 'General Electric' refrigerators in the country. Plus the Aguinaldos also own a manual washing machine using bamboo and a huge machine like structure. 

The Aguinaldo Love Seat
Aguinaldo's well decorated spit bowl.
Bowling Alley, 10feet Swimming Pool, First G.E. Refrigerator and Outdoor manual washing machine.
Aguinaldo shoe collection and his office.

I was so amazed at the old house that it had stood the test of time despite being made of entirely of hard wood. The tour guide even said that it is indeed the Aguinaldo Shrine that's the most expensive and e most difficult to maintain. According to the tour guide (who was a close friend of the late general himself), unlike in other shrines or museums, every little piece at Aguinaldo Shrine are still original--there's no need for restoration yet. 

Everything from the said shrine depicts the late general's patriotism. The late general also had a dungeon-like underground tunnel where one has to crawl to reach the town church in five to ten minutes. Unfortunately, it's the only thing that the shrine still needs a lot of money to restore and as of this time, it's not yet open to the public. 

Visiting the Aguinaldo Shrine is likened to opening a historical book. The quaint town of Kawit in Cavite allows one to travel back in time and discover interesting trivia in the Philippine History + gives one a chance to get to know how the late general lived his life.