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A not so ordinary place that represents a great contribution to our Philippine History,
that is the Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite. 

During our class discussion with my students about the Philippine Revolution. A lot of different events took place here in the province of Cavite and suddenly this idea came to my mind:  why not take my Grade 7(1st Year High School) to Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine. 
On the 17th of March 2014, we left Dasmarinas, Cavite at 9am. The trip only took us an hour to get to Kawit, Cavite. 
Finally, we arrived at our destination. The last time I visited this place was 15 years ago, that’s why I was so excited to re-visit this place again. 
It was a great Tuesday morning and seeing this grand structure from the outside,
 I was ready to go back in time. 
Aguinaldo Shrine is now being maintained by the National Historical Commission. There is NO ENTRANCE FEE at the shrine, but it is highly advised for visitors to give a donation. 
As you walk around the shrine, you will find images of the Philippine Carabao in unexpected places. It is said that it was the favorite animal of our First President Emilio Aguinaldo.
Outside the house, you will see these three pagodas which also symbolize the three major islands of the Philippines, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. In the middle was a Tamarind Tree (not the original tree) used as a watch tower for approaching Spaniards. 
My students started their tour next to this Packard limousine owned by President Emilio Aguinaldo. 
A 1924 Packard Limousine
At the back of the house, you will also find a huge manual washing machine.
It was amazing to think that you were walking through history that
 changed the Philippine Nation. 
The Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine was the place where the First Independence of the Philippines was declared back in June 12, 1898. It was also the place where Philippine Flag was raised and the Philippine National Anthem was sung. 
The balcony where the flag was first raised. 
This was the original house back in the early 1800’s and as time passed on the 
family extended the house and built something extraordinary. 
My students were so intrigued about the different memorabilia inside the shrine. 
The house is equipped with two bowling lanes and considered as one
 their recreation.  How cool was that!
President Emilio Aguinaldo also collected different cuff links with different symbols, flag of the Philippines and the image of our National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal. 

He also collected some leather wallets like this one dating from 1919. 
Kalikot sounds funny, but this shows the long time tradition of Chewing Betelnut (NgaNga). 
This flag was used as a pall over Emilio Aguinaldo’s casket when he died on February 6, 1964 at the age of 94 due to old age. You may think that the stain is blood it’s not; the red color faded due to moisture and stained the white part of the flag. 
From the ground floor, Mr. Vener Vales took us to the second floor.
One secret passage that he showed us was these cabinet doors that leads to one of the many bedrooms in the house. 
We then went and checked out the rooms of Emilio Aguinaldo’s daughters. 
Almost all of furniture inside the house is original. Maybe one of the reasons why they have lasted this long is because they are all made of Kamagong, Narra and other indigenous hard woods in the Philippines.
Balcony of the Sinners.
While our students were touring around the house, Mr. Vales wanted to show us something that only a few got the chance to see. The Tower!
We entered into a toilet in one of the daughter’s bedroom. From there you will find a door heading to the library and music room where the musicians played their instrument if there were gatherings in the main hall or living room. 
Musician’s area facing the main hall. 
We walked up to the next floor, and he showed us this door opening leading to the Sinner’s Balcony and also heading to the river just next to the house. Apparently, this was used as an escape route of the Filipinos during the Spanish era. 
As we go further up, sneaking through the window, I found a stunning view!
The tomb of Emilio Aguinaldo is located at the back of the house. Before he died, he made a request that he want’s to be buried at the place where he was born.
We carried on walking and from the picture below, you will see that the stairs were becoming very narrow and steep. 
Just a piece of advise, walk cautiously!
This pic was taken from the 5th floor of the Aguinaldo Shrine. It was beautiful! 
Mr. Vales knows everything around the house and I could not wait what else 
there was to  discover. Would you believe that this was a drainage system. Mr. Val said that when it’s raining, water still leak through the windows and this directs the rain water out of the house. How clever was that? 
The view of the Kawit Church from the Aguinaldo Shrine. 
View from the top of Aguinaldo Shrine. 
To get to the 6th floor, we had to climb a ladder going to the top of the tower. At first, I was hesitant since I have fear of heights. But, I told myself that I will never get a chance to do this again so I did!
Finally, I reached the top of the Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine! Wohoooo!
We stayed for a few minutes up the top taking pictures and appreciating the complex structure of this house. 
Vintage fire extinguisher. 
In one of the bedrooms,  there is a secret passage leading to the the indoor swimming pool. 
They have a 10 Ft indoor pool. 
In one of the bedrooms, you will find this cabinet which was used as a resting or hideout place of Emilio Aguinaldo if he did not want to entertain guests or if he did not want to be seen. 
I was amazed at how lavish their toilets were. Here is an example of one. 
We checked out the main hall or living room where most of the gatherings were taking place and where the balcony can also be seen. It was so beautiful. Looking at the furniture and the intricate designs really shows what kind of life Emilio Aguinaldo had. 
Mr. Vales showed us one of the secret compartment where they hide things that should be kept secret. I never thought that the sides of this table could be opened. 
This table is not just your ordinary table. When you lift this table, there is a secret passage that will lead you to the Kawit Church. 
These are not just your ordinary benches. Some hidden files or documents were kept here so the Spaniards won’t find any evidence. 
Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine really was an impressive structure. But, what’s more important was the history behind this house. I really felt the appreciation of my students towards this historical landmark . 
My students had an awesome time at the shrine and i’m sure that they learned a lot from this activity. Most of them even said that they want to come back and bring their families along. 
Thank you Mr. Vener Vales for taking us around this wonderful place. The Aguinaldo Shrine really tells you the story of the past. The intelligence and ingenuity of the Filipinos really stood out, and Aguinaldo Shrine is one of the best examples. 
The Aguinaldo Shrine is open Tuesday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
(based from http://trbsafe.wordpress.com/)
To get to Aguinaldo Shrine, From Metro Manila, travel time is about 1 to 1½ hours through the newly inaugurated Cavitex, and following simple directions:
  • Take the Manila-Cavite Expressway (Coastal Roadand Cavitex) then exit at Kawit,Cavite.
  • Turn left at Tirona Highway and after some 700 meters, you should be seeing the Aguinaldo Shrine.
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