Kawit - Maragondon History Tour

Its close proximity to Manila makes Cavite an ideal place to tour for those with only a day or two of spare time. The province is a great place to go to rediscover the history of our country. Speaking of the history of our country, two things would always pop up in my mind -religion, and revolution. Due to the nature of my work (I'm a History teacher) I decided to go on a road trip to the said province to find out more about its connection with the two.

Kawit - Maragondon History Tour

Before the trip, I researched the places that would be interesting enough to visit and would also highlight an important historical event in our history. My research led me to the towns of Kawit and Maragondon. It stood out for having more than one historical site like old churches and houses.

With the research and itinerary done, my Kawit-Maragondon History Tour officially started the next day. My tour began with a drive from Manila going to the town of Kawit. The drive took less than an hour due to the straightforward drive courtesy of the Cavitex Highway.
Upon reaching Kawit, the first historical site that I visited was the Aguinaldo Shrine also called the Emilio Aguinaldo Mansion. It is famously known as the house of the first President of the Philippines and also as the house where the independence of the country was declared on June 12, 1898.

Aguinaldo's Carabao

A normal tour allows visitors to visit the ground floor and the second floor of the house which is now a museum. You can see a lot of Aguinaldo's personal stuff and furniture. The second floor is where you'd see the rooms of the members of his family. Aside from that, you would also see the famous balcony where the flag was raised for the first time during the declaration of independence in 1898. 

That's Mang Vener in the middle, he's one of the best guides around. (He's even related to Aguinaldo)

If you want to see more, talk to one of the guides in the shrine and ask him/her about the secret rooms. If you're lucky enough you would be able to see all 7 floors of the shrine. (Yup, you heard that right, 7 floors) Before leaving, you can pay your respects to President Emilio Aguinaldo by visiting his tomb in the vicinity of the shrine. (You won't miss it.)
The next stop is just a few meters away from the shrine. The picturesque Spanish-era Kawit Church also known as Mary Magdalene Church is also a historically important landmark of the town. It was once (and probably is until now) the most important structure in Kawit. It is also the church where Emilio Aguinaldo was baptized in 1869. What I like about the church is its very beautiful and intricate interior design.

Kawit Church interior

After admiring the beauty of the church (and praying too), I drove on until I reached the town of Maragondon. It usually takes an hour to reach the town from Kawit depending on the traffic situation. There are two historic sites worth visiting in Maragondon town proper. The Maragondon Church is also known as the Our Lady of Assumption Parish Church and the Bonifacio Trial House.
The Maragondon Church is one of the most beautiful Spanish-era churches in the province. It is also designated as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum. Being a lover of anything historical, I enjoyed taking pictures of the church grounds. I also admired the beautiful altar and pulpit of the church. Not to mention the intricately carved large wooden church doors.
A few meters away from the church is the Bonifacio Trial House. Despite being a historical site, the Trial House is still privately owned. The old house was converted into a museum complete with lights and sound presentation and plenty of wall panels depicting the history of the Katipunan. 
You have a choice to end your trip here but if you still have the time and energy, you could still visit another historical site which is still in Maragondon. The Bonifacio Shrine and EcoPark were also known as the Bonifacio Execution Site are known (but highly debated) as the site where the Supremo Andres Bonifacio was executed by the soldiers of the Magdalo Faction led by Emilio Aguinaldo. 

View from Mt. Nagpatong Peak

Before I headed to the site, I went to Maragondon's town hall to coordinate with the tourism officers of the town. Apparently, that was the right thing to do because, in order for you to reach the shrine, you will pass a locked gate that can only be opened by the tourism officers of the town. Going to the shrine was quite challenging. I had to drive a few kilometers of uncemented roads which are littered with landmines (cow poop). However, once you reach the site, you'd be shocked to find a well-developed area complete with a pool. The shrine, on the other hand, features beautiful relief sculptures, spelling the words KKK and Bayani. The shrine is actually located on Mt. Nagpatong. As a matter of fact, you could hike to the peak of the mountain in just under 5 minutes.
After offering a prayer for the soul of Andres Bonifacio, I started to pack up and end my History Tour of the province. It was surely a tiring day but nothing could equal the learnings that I had from visiting the places that our heroes once visited themselves.


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