Lazada Philippines

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Historical Memory Lane at the Aguinaldo Shrine

I cannot honestly remember when was the last time I've been here, and if it's not for the buzz created by the Metro Manila Film Festival entry "El Presidente", I, and probably most of us, wouldn't heard anything about this historic house in Cavite again that had and will always be a witness to the sovereignty of our country - the Aguinaldo Shrine.

When was the last time you visited the Aguinaldo Shrine?

Last week, as the first week of 2013 welcomed us in a really peaceful manner, I was invited to check out the house built by the former president General Emilio Famy Aguinldo for his family. Who would've known that this simple house built for his wife Hilaria del Rosario and their children Carmen, Emilio, Jr, Maria, Cristina and Suntay will be a historic landmark not only in their town in Kawit, Cavite, but also in the entire country?

I can't barely recall any memory of my first visit here, so it was actually like a first-time visit again for me last week. The whole place looked so taken cared of - thanks to National Historical Commission of the Philippines, because it made me feel that I've been the original house that didn't suffer during the colonization of Spaniards and Americans.

At the facade of the house, you'll immediate know that it was the Aguinaldo's Shrine because of the window that carries the national flag, which has been a great symbol of our independence back in 1898. It is said that the said window didn't look that way back then, it was just elaborated by the late president to make sure that the flag raising, which took place there, will always be remembered.

Fronting the house now is a park named after General Aguinaldo, which serves as a nice "tambayan" to the surrounding community and visitors of the town. The mini park has this General Emilio Aguinaldo's monument signifying his leadership and bravery, with his sword in his right hand.

We were actually invited to witness the light and sound show that they've prepared since the start of Christmas season, but since we arrived a little early, the staff took us around first and shared some trivial facts about the place.

One thing that I like about invitations like this, I could really loiter around and have the chance to ask questions and check our every bits and pieces a little closer than the regular visitors.

So, the moment the gates were opened for us, I took a walk first around the house. I first examined what's on the popular balcony, which to amusement, were symbolic carvings telling stories about our independence and Katipunan, the group led by my fellow ManileƱo Andres Bonifacio. After that, I went to the back of the house where the grave of the late president is located.

To be honest, I don't wanna believe until now that his remains are lying there. Maybe it is kinda creepy to think of it, so yeah, I'm still not believing that his remains are there. On a lighter note, aside from General Aguinaldo's grave, I also saw his very beautiful car enclosed in a glass container at the far corner of the backyard.

Packard it is, and it is also under the protection of National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Love it!

By the time everyone was done exploring the backyard, we were invited to go inside to see more of the house. And the moment I stepped inside, a part of the memory of my first visit came flashing in.

I remembered that I've seen this indoor bowling alley of General Aguinaldo already, and I still remember how - until now - it amazes me, thinking that he has a real and life-size bowling inside his house, only it needs a helper that will put the pins back once he stroked them all.

The rest of the house looks and feels different from there. There were a lot of frames hanging now and the lights were all LED now - technology is really on its way even to old, historic houses like the Aguinaldo Shrine. The first level of the house is mainly consisted of General Aguinaldo's trinkets and weapons. There were also some pictures and books that he used on his 94 years of existence.

Apart from that, the first floor also houses this small souvenir shop where visitors can buy books that tells stories about our heroes, independence and Katipunan. I also saw the replica of cake made by Red Ribbon there for the 100th Year Anniversary of our independence.

Did you know that back in the old days, only the first and second floors are the only places open for the public here in the Aguinaldo Shrine? The tower, which I was able to explore that day too was kept privately for the living daughters of General Aguinaldo. It was only after their death that whole house was passed on to NHCP and since then on, the whole house is opened to the public.

The second level of the house displays most of the finest furniture that you could find in this property. From the amazing wood carvings and paintings to the dining tables and chairs that tell how the house was used back then, you'll be shock to know that there were about a dozen of dining table and chairs in this house. AND I LOVE THEM ALL!

These pieces were said to be used by the Katipuneros on their meetings there with General Aguinaldo. They were displayed in public now as per the design and suggestion of the curators and interior designers of the shrine. Most of the pieces still look stable and in good form, a nice way to remind us of how everything here in taken cared of and kept properly.

There are also rooms on the second floor including the masters' bedroom and the office on where the former president deals with some of his works. You'll be surprise too of the secret rooms that were shown to us on our visit here, and I prefer to not show them all to you so you'll be surprised too when you visit this place.

Not that I'm scaring you, but the bathroom in the masters' bedroom gave me this weary feeling, so yeah, if you are so keen to unseen things like me, be very careful on that part. :)

Masters' Bedroom

The last destination of our tour inside the house was the tower. Stairs which can only accommodate one at a time led us to the highest part of the house where a beautiful view of the whole of Kawit, Cavite and Manila can be seen. 

The Tower

It was also said that these rooms here are used by the former president and his children til their later years, as well as the former ambassador, Jose P. Melencio, Carmen Aguinaldo's husband. I must say that room of Emilio, Jr. looks really nice and comfortable, unfortunately, it wasn't prepared for us that day, so we just stayed at the roof deck and enjoyed the fresh air of the place.

Apart from the "kapre" story shared to us by our tour guide, which is believed to be the "alaga" of the former president, I was happy to see that there ain't much tall buildings surrounding the place. From that roof top, the church where the president got married is visible, as well the Aguinaldo Highway, which is main road going here in Aguinaldo Shrine is at sight.

After that very challenging climbing down, because some of the stairs were steep, we had a quick snack then off to see the spectacle prepared for us. 

With all the twinkling and dancing, indeed, there's no other way to attract tourists nowadays than having a light and sound show - just like what we have in Rizal Park.

It was an annual thing, according to the staff of the Shrine, under the INA program of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. And this time, it was sponsored by Mrs. Consuelo Aguinaldo Abaya - the aunt of Dr. Paul Abaya, the guy who answered our other Aguinaldo-related questions.

Dr. Paul Abaya

It was an ice-breaker, really, seeing the shrine has this youthful and vibrant life at night. It is free to watch and it plays from the break of dusk til around 10 on the evening, so you'll really have a wonderful Christmas-y feeling when you visit the shrine and stayed there even til night.

I was able to capture clips of their show, so please enjoy watching them!

Thank you, Aguinaldo Shrine for giving us this wonderful opportunity of exploring you again. Indeed, Aguinaldo Shrine is worth a visit at this start of a new year, and I'm happy how my visit here refreshes my mind to what really pushes me to travel more - HISTORY!

Happy New Year and happy Rammmpa, everyone!


  1. Nice post. I'm from Cavite but its been awhile since my last visit to he Shrine.

  2. I am from Cavite and I have been passing through and from the Aguinaldo shrine and just now I just realized I haven't been pass through it gates for a long time. great post you gave me something to work on :)

  3. Guys, you should really pay a visit. Aside from it being nice and peaceful, inside and out, the staff are really accommodating too! :-)


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