Cavite: Aguinaldo Shrine

Located in Kawit in province of Cavite, Aguinaldo Shrine is the ancestral home of General Emilio Aguinaldo, the first president of the Philippines. It is famously known as the house where the Filipino flag was formally unfurled to the public after the declaration of Independence on June 12, 1898.

Constructed in 1845, the house became a silent witness to the shaping of the Filipino nation. It all began on March 22, 1869 when Emilio Aguinaldo was born in one of its rooms. Years later, the house became a meeting place for revolutionaries. It was here that many of the most important revolutionary plans were made. 

Contrary to popular belief this balcony not there when the flag was first shown to the Filipinos.
Lastly, the house became a symbol of freedom when the flag a hoisted and shown to the public during the declaration of independence from Spain. This event is known today as the Araw ng Kalayaan or Independence Day. During this celebration, the Philippine flag is raised by top government officials on the balcony of the Aguinaldo Shrine.
the NHI marker on the flag pole in front of the house 
Aguinaldo's statue standing proud in front of his house
Aguinaldo Shrine undergoing repainting
Speaking of the balcony of Aguinaldo Shrine, there is a common misconception that it was there that the flag was first unfurled. Little did most people know that the balcony was actually added only during its renovation on 1919-1921.
House facade
June 12, 1898 -Independence Day

Going back to the house, Emilio Aguinaldo donated it to the Philippine government on June 12, 1963. After Aguinaldo died on February 6, 1964, the house was declared as a National Shrine through R.A. 4039 which was signed by then President Diosdado Macapagal.
NHI Markers
Entrance to the museum

Aguinaldo's shoes
Aguinaldo's clothes
Aguinaldo's sword taken from a Spanish officer
The bowling alley in Aguinaldo's house
That's Aguinaldo looking at you
Where do you think can you see this?
The bomb shelter found in the ground floor
Can you guess what Aguinaldo used this "historical" rock for?

The Balcony of Sinners
Aguinaldo's medicine cabinet. Look for his appendix
Check out that ceiling decoration
The pictures of Aguinaldo's Generals are hanging near the exit.
Today, the Aguinaldo Shrine also includes the Aguinaldo Park which is the area in front of the house. It also included the main road in front of the shrine which is now closed to traffic.
Ground Floor- mostly museum exhibits
Upper /2nd Floor -famous balcony, bedrooms, kitchen, dining area, secret rooms, and exit
3rd Floor - Library, busts, more secret rooms
4th Floor- room of Emilio's son and some secret rooms
5th floor - another bedroom/ viewing area
6th floor- the watch tower with a 360 degree view and a ladder leading up to the 7th floor
7th floor - a small room that serves as a watch tower
During my recent visit , I was lucky enough to meet a distant relative of Emilio Aguinaldo. He toured me and my co-teacher around the shrine. It was he who made it possible for us to go inside the secret rooms through the secret passages (which would not be too secret after this). He also brought us up to the tower where I got the chance to reach its top-most room. Sadly, Aguinaldo's personal car (the 1924 Packard limousine) was not around during our visit (Somebody must have brought it out for a joy ride). 
The view of the top floor from the ground
Aguinaldo's tomb? Nope that's his washing machine...
...that's where Aguinaldo's mortal remains are buried.

Overall, my recent visit to Aguinaldo Shrine broadened my knowledge about our first president. In some way, I also got to see how life was for those who lived during Aguinaldo's time.

Getting there:

From Manila, ride a bus going to Cavite City. The bus would pass in front of the shrine but if you really want to be sure tell the conductor to drop you off at the shrine. 

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