A Peek in the Historic Halls of Aguinaldo Shrine

The white house of El Presidente Emilio Aguinaldo is always an eye-catcher whenever I pass by the town of Kawit. It always arrests my eyes partly because of its towering presence but mostly because of its historic appeal.

Aguinaldo Shrine on 5-Peso bill
The declaration of Philippine Independence immortalized on the old 5-Peso bill.

The house stands tall in Philippine history because this is the house where the declaration of our independence was read; where our flag was first unfurled; and where our national anthem “Marcha Nacionale” was first heard.

I didn’t get the opportunity to enter the Aguinaldo Shrine even though I visited it twice. My first visit was 3 years ago after an office errand in Cavite City. The second visit was last year when we watched the Christmas Lights and Sounds show.

Aguinaldo Shrine

My Beloved Wife and her kumare was more fortunate than me because Aguinaldo Shrine was open during their very first visit.

Entrance to Aguinaldo Shrine

The house was built in 1845. The current design was made between the years 1919 and 1921 to perpetuate the 1898 declaration of Philippine independence to the hearts and minds of the Filipino people.1

Historic balcony of Aguinaldo Shrine

The house of Emilio Aguinaldo is the cradle of Philippine Revolution not only against the Spaniards but also against the Americans. This is the reason why Aguinaldo Shrine is replete with the symbols of the Revolution like the three Ks, representing the Katipunan, at the top of the balcony. Another symbol is the carabao below the balcony.

White carabao of Aguinaldo Shrine

The Aguinaldo Shrine is not just a national museum but also a family museum of the Aguinaldos. The kumares entered the Shrine as if they were just entering a big house. They even entered the room where President Emilio Aguinaldo and his second wife Maria Agoncillo slept.

Emilio Aguinaldo's bedroom in Aguinaldo Shrine

The room has plenty of secret exits. Two of the secret exits are located inside the bathroom and the closet.2 I also read that there’s a secret tunnel connecting Aguinaldo Shrine and Kawit Church.3 These exits just shows that Emilio Aguinaldo prepared his means of escape. I guess being the enemy of both Spanish and American governments required this level of precautionary measures.

Bedroom of President Aguinaldo in Aguinaldo Shrine

Aguinaldo Shrine is divided into three sections: the Main House, the Tower, and the Family Wing.

Inside the Aguinaldo Shrine

The Main House is possibly the section where the Aguinaldo Family welcomed their guests. Being a president means that many people come and go. I don’t know what My Beloved Wife felt when she walked within this historic halls. As for me, I will feel elated because I know that I’m stepping on the same floor as the towering figures of our history.

Inside the Aguinaldo Shrine

I can imagine Aguinaldo hosting a dinner to the members of his cabinet. I can imagine Aguinaldo and the hot-blooded General Antonio Luna planning their war against the Spaniards. There’s so many things that happened inside this house that directed the course of our Nation.

Inside the Aguinaldo Shrine

Aguinaldo Shrine was visited by almost all Philippine presidents, especially during the Independence Day. Each president left their photo and message in this house.

Old photos of presidents who visited Agunaldo Shrine

The ceiling of the Main House is also replete with symbols like this map of the Philippines:

Philippine map on the ceiling of Aguinaldo Shrine

This map is incomplete since it didn’t include Sabah, which is still being claimed by our country. The map should also include the Kalayaan Islands in the West Philippine Sea.

Stairway to the tower of Aguinaldo Shrine

The Tower is located at the center of the house. It six floors and composed of the music room, library, and another room of Emilio Aguinaldo.

The Family Wing is the most private part of the Aguinaldo Shrine. There’s a terrace here that was said to be personally named by Emilio Aguinaldo as the Galeria de los Pecadores (Hall of Sinners) because of the subversive plots hatched here. It’s peculiar that Aguinaldo considered their plotting sinful. Did he regretted the revolution he hatched against the Spanish government or the trial against Andres Bonifacio?

Old photos of Emilio Aguinaldo in Aguinaldo Shrine

A wide garden surrounds the Aguinaldo Shrine. In front of it is a plaza where CaviteƱos can have their picnics or just enjoy the afternoon.

Garden outside of Aguinaldo Shrine

The plaza is the best place to take the photo of the whole Aguinaldo Shrine.

Aguinaldo Shrine

The car which I think was used by Emilio Aguinaldo was also on display. Too bad that it’s in a glass case so visitors can never experience a ride in this historic car.

Vintage car used by President Emilio Aguinaldo on display at the Aguinaldo Shrine

Emilio Aguinaldo’s car reminds me of the old warplanes on display in the PAF Aerospace Museum in Pasay.

There is also a souvenir shop near the Aguinaldo Shrine where visitors can buy some memorabilia. One interesting item for sale are the books defending Emilio Aguinaldo.

History books for sale at Aguinaldo Shrine

Emilio Aguinaldo is one the most hated man in Philippine history. He is pointed as the mastermind in the death of Andres Bonifacio and General Juan Luna. I too hated him in the past but I realized that what I read are mostly biased. Aguinaldo’s side of the story is mostly ignored. So now I think its better to look at our history objectively.

Handa Tagalog 1896

Aguinaldo Shrine may be reached by riding any bus going to Cavite City and Noveleta. Just tell bus driver or the conductor that you want to go down the Aguinaldo Shrine.



The Shrine is open to the public Tuesday to Sunday at 8 AM to 4 PM. Admission is free.

---

Read my other blog posts about the Aguinaldo Shrine.

The Historic Aguinaldo Shrine
A Christmas of Light and Sound at Aguinaldo Shrine

---

Footnotes:

1. Information sourced from the website of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Their website is down, unfortunately, because of a hacking incident last Independence Day.

2. Information sourced from the information board inside the Aguinaldo Shrine.

3. Traveler on Foot mentioned the secret tunnel from Aguinaldo Shrine to the church (or cemetery) 

Leave a comment with Facebook or regular comment box below.

8 comments:

  1. just been here few days ago to watch their 3D mapping display... the car by the way is no longer in the shrine...they told me it was transferred to PICC

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yun ba yung para sa Independence Day? Maganda daw yun sabi ng mga nabasa ko sa Internet.

      Delete
  2. Beautiful!!! I love the colonial architecture - sure glad they have preserves this unlike here - all gone. There are a few places in Kuching (the capital of the state of Sarawak in Malaysia) like the Sarawak Museum. Photography is not allowed inside though, dunno why.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are fortunate that the Aguinaldo Mansion was preserved. We should thank the Aguinaldo clan for seeing the importance of this historical house and their active participation in preserving it.

      The Aguinaldo Shrine is just one of the lucky few that survived. There are plenty of historical houses that were left to rot, vandalized, or demolished. This is sad but true.

      Delete
  3. This is one of the place to visit talga. :) I never really thought n ganyan kaganda yang bahay niya. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isa ito sa mga magandang bahay sa Cavite. :-)

      Delete
  4. Ano na naging parts ng bahay na naging kasaysayan ng bansa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yung balcony ang pinakatanyag na bahagi ng bahay ni Aguinaldo ang parte ng kasaysayan.

      Delete

Comments are very much welcome. However, I reserve the right to delete comments that contains spam.

Also drop by my other blog: Ahab Reviews and Tips - my tips and reviews blog.