People who have read books on Philippine History, or were alive to see the last remnants of the five-peso-bill (yes, that existed), have surely seen a glimpse of Aguinaldo Shrine. Apart from these images, though, what else do we know about it?
AGUINALDO SHRINE, as depicted in history books and the old five-peso bill. The balcony was only built during the 1920 reconstruction.
Built in 1845, it started out as a house made of wood and thatch. Reconstructed twice (1849 and 1920), it has become one of the country’s most recognizable mansions as the site where Philippine Independence was first declared.
THE MANSION, with a brass statue of the late President.
The mansion was more than just a place to live for the Aguinaldos. It was, for all intents and purposes, a place for the revolutionaries of the late 1800s to hold meetings and make decisions that would later affect history as we know it.
The entire ground floor is now the main museum, showcasing Cavite’s role in the revolution that lead to our first independence. The second floor is where the Aguinaldos used to live in, complete with period furniture. On this floor you will see the General’s bedroom, the grand hall, dining room and kitchen, a conference room and the azotea.
Other parts of the mansion include the mezzanine library, the Ambassador’s Room, the General’s second bedroom, and the tower. This tower is said to be Aguinaldo’s favourite spot. It may be a tight fit for a couple of people, but it will give you a 360-degree view of Kawit, Cavite, perfect for anyone wanting to spot incoming danger (presumably from the Spaniards).
You will also find the mansion’s many secret passageways a treat, especially if you’re interested in architecture and anything related to the 1898 Philippine revolution.
Only one and a half hours away from Metro Manila, getting to Aguinaldo Shrine is easier thanks to the newly-completed Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway (MCX). To get there, simply take a bus bound for Cavite City from either Lawton in Manila or the Southwest Integrated Bus Terminal in Paranaque. There is no entrance fee to the shrine, but donations are highly encouraged.
For more information on Aguinaldo Shrine, you can call 046-484-7643 or 0917-656-4132. It is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.