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Day 2 of my 6-day Cavite Expedition: Ikaw-it ako Edit

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Basil Mencias  • Contributor
Opinions expressed by Explora.ph Contributors are their own.

A couple of hurdles began our day as we made our way to Kawit. When we got there we were received by Mrs. Chit Sambile, the town’s tourism officer and the rest of the day went smoothly. We explored Kawit in all its historical significance.

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Battle of Binakayan Monument

Being a resident of Cavite, it’s not surprising that I’ve been to the Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine a bunch of times before. However, this time promised a tour different from all the educational trips I previously joined. I was not disappointed.

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Kawit Church

Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine

The huge Aguinaldo ancestral house, commonly known as Aguinaldo Shrine has countless rooms and secrets fitting the well-off family of the 1900s. Its halls are so spacious it can occupy 200 or more people. Its rooms were lavish and every detail of its design was grand. This was the site of the nation’s declaration of independence on June 12, 1898. 

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Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine

Entering the place, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride.


The best part of the tour was when we were shown the secrets of the house. It had a number of hidden chambers and rooms that were built to foster wounded soldiers during the revolution. We were also taken up the monolith where snipers could see for miles and miles away. 

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Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine

Later, we found hidden compartments used for stashing weapons and the like. There was also a concealed underground swimming pool said to have been built for the enjoyment of the General’s grandchildren.


In front of the house is the Aguinaldo Park where statues and relics of the fateful day are exhibited. 

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Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine

Pandayan

Just a few minutes away from the Aguinaldo Shrine is the Santulan Pandayan. Pandayan is the Filipino translation of the word ‘smithy’. Although they only made farm and household tools in the beginning, when duty called for it, this was the place where General Aguinaldo’s sword is said to have been forged along with numerous other swords used in the revolution.


Their old art of forging blades is still being used to this day. 

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Pandayan

We witnessed the tedious procedure in making their goods. It entailed a lot of intense hammering and careful refining. They had a furnace hot enough to melt even the strongest of metals until they’re malleable enough for shaping. The process is repeated over and over until the smiths are satisfied with every aspect of their work. It came as no surprise that the men doing the work looked as hard as the steel themselves.


The present owner is wife to the descendant of the original smiths. Now they sell mostly kitchen knives and other daily tools. Sometimes though, they grant requests to forge customized blades.


The knife I bought there still reminds me of their dedication and hard work every time I use it. 

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Pandayan

Baldomero Aguinaldo Shrine

Yes, aside from the General, there were other family members that have greatly contributed to our nation’s deliverance and conception. Wittily called the Other Aguinaldo, Baldomero is the first cousin of our first president.


 He had a hand in organizing the Magdalo chapter of Katipunan in Kawit and since then had his share of heroics, honor, and glory as well. Among other things, he was a true revolutionary. 

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His shrine, like his cousin’s, was his family’s former house with some of its original furniture and structure still in-tact. Documents and personal effects were also displayed along with pictures of his clan. 

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