Aguinaldo House and Shrine Travel Itinerary Guide

I was itching for an adventure real badly, so I just knew that I had to travel somewhere. My travel buddy and I did not have a lot of time, so it had to be somewhere near Metro Manila. We decided to head to historical Cavite. Of all the historical sites in Cavite, the Aguinaldo house and shrine is probably the most prominent one, so that's where we decided to go. Initially, the plan was also to visit the many old churches in Cavite (I'm a big fan of old churches) and other historical places but what happened was that we were so tired from all the commuting that we ended up visiting only the Aguinaldo house and shrine, the place where Philippine independence from Spain was declared. Our plan was to take the ferry from MOA to Cavite City. However, we couldn't find the ferry terminal, and when we asked people about it, they were saying that the ferry service had already closed down. So what happened was we took a jeep to Roxas Blvd where buses going to Cavite passed by. I was surprised by the very short travel time to Bacoor. 25 pesos and around 30 minutes later, we were already in Bacoor, Cavite! The next challenge was how to get to Kawit, where the Aguinaldo house and shrine was. From Bacoor, we took a bus which cost another 25 pesos.

The first thing that caught my attention was the spire on top of the mansion's watch tower. The spire was visible even from afar.

I remember standing outside the mansion grounds and preparing to take a picture of the mansion's facade and a local guy on a bicycle comes passing by and he told me: "pasok po kayo" (get inside). That very tourist friendly gesture really impressed me and made me think that we have to have more tourist friendly locals in places which see tourists often. At the entrance, the guard on duty (which looked like a military guy) asked us to register our names on a huge log book. We were then directed to a site which houses Emilio Aguinaldo's car. It was circa 1920s. His plate number started with a 1, so he was probably one of the first few people with a car in the country. The car's make (or is it model) was Packard.

Then we discovered that he was actually buried at the back of his house.

At the front of the house is an Aguinaldo monument which shows the young Aguinaldo on a

There was also a granite wall wherein the Proclamation of Philippine Independence was
inscribed. Click on the photo to zoom in.

The tour guide, Jojo, asked us where we were from, and I told him that I was from Zamboanga city (which impressed him). The mansion consisted of 5 floors, he told us and visitors are generally only allowed until the second floor, however, since I traveled so far, he allowed us to go up to the watch tower!

This is the view from the watch tower.

It was quite amazing because the mansion had secret passages which led to an underground tunnel.
At the same time, I thought about Emilio Aguinaldo's life, how vulnerable he must have felt to have built all those secret passages. All those running and hiding, how tired he must have felt!

I remember that I used to think that Aguinaldo died at a young age like all those heroes (Jose
Rizal and Andres Bonifacio). But I find out that he actually lived well into his 90s. The fact that
my parents were alive when he was alive makes you realize how not long ago the Philippine
revolution was. It also makes you think how different Aguinaldo's life was compared to the other
heroes who were killed in battle and died young.

Another thing I discovered about Aguinaldo is that he was actually a mason. How many people
actually know this? It’s common knowledge that Jose Rizal was a mason, but Aguinaldo?

This probably explains why Aguinaldo's house is laden with so many symbolism.

There are even rumors that the Philippine flag’s design was influenced by Freemasonry. Do you know that the current flag design is not similar to its original design?

Here is an excerpt I took from a website which talks about the original design of the Philippine
“It had a white equilateral triangle at the hoist that is smaller than that in our flag today. Within the triangle, at its center, a mythological sun was depicted with eyebrows, eyes, nose and mouth in black, bearing eight rays without any minor ray for each, and three five-pointed stars, one at each angle of the triangle. All these devices were in gold or yellow color.”
I think the most important difference is the mythological sun. There was a flag displayed in the
Aguinaldo house and shrine and I believe this is how the original flag looked like:

Here is another excerpt that I took from the same website explaining the changes that Manuel
Quezon made to the Philippine flag:
"To do away with irregularities and discrepancies, President Manuel L. Quezon issued Executive Order No. 23, on March 25, 1936, specifying the different elements of the flag. Quezon not only set a uniform pattern for the making of our national emblem as to the size and arrangement of its symbolic elements, he also caused major amendments of its features, to wit: the mythological sun was changed to a solid golden sunburst without any marking; the eight single rays in Aguinaldo’s flag replaced by eight major rays with two minor beams for each ray; the size of the equilateral triangle was made larger by making any side equal to the width of the flag at the hoist; and the colour blue in the upper stripe was standardized to dark blue."
How fascinating is all of this? I mean just how many people actually know these things?

Here is another awesome thing I discovered. Notice anything peculiar about this poem? The
spelling! Does this mean that Tagalog used to be spelled in Spanish? Click on the photo to zoom in.

After, the visit to the place where our independence was declared, we went to a restaurant named Malen's. It was actually a recommendation that Jojo, the guy from the museum made to me when I asked him where we could eat. I initially thought that he would be recommending a dampa style restaurant but no, he actually directed me and my friend to a classy restaurant named Malen’s.

The names of the dishes had something to do with the Philippine revolution such as filibustero,
revolucionario, and propagandista. The walls also were adorned with Jose Rizal portraits, encased weapons, and other historical decors. I initially thought that it was going to be another restaurant meal that leaves you empty but... surprisingly, the food was REALLY good. I ordered bottomless brewed coffee, caldereta, and kinilaw na Tanigue and my friend ordered Kare Kare. The Caldereta and Kinilaw were good but not great. The coffee though was to die for! It had this chocolatey taste that made it different from other kinds of coffee I have tasted. And it doesn't taste like mocha, no. It was like coffee first then a bit of chocolate. Am I making sense? Maybe I should think twice about blogging about these food experiences.

Anyhow, another food experience that I had was the veggie Polvoron. This one was not good,
though. Whoever thought of mixing Malunggay and Ampalaya with Polvoron should get their
heads examined.

Here are more photos I took of the Aguinaldo House and Shrine:

Over all, it was such a great trip. So many things were discovered and enjoyed. Truly, our history is very rich. What a shame it is that our countrymen don’t know much about it.


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