I have viewed this house in awe many times, especially when I make my customary evening drive during the Christmas season, checking out the Christmas lights competition among the many barangays within the whole province of Cavite. I remember seeing hundreds of Capiz shells glittering in the night, spread on a huge tree within the grounds of the shrine. Beautiful.
The house is like no other old house I have visited. Not for its grandeur, but for its intriguing design. It is obvious that a military tactician lived there. So many escape routes, so many concealed doors. The general can go in and out of his bedroom unnoticed by guests he would not want to entertain, or even hide behind a space inside a faux clothes cabinet. A tower on the seventh level allows his men to see any advancing enemies. A trap door under a dining table leads to a tunnel that goes all the way to the church compound. There is also an escape route to the river and on to the sea. Marvelous.
The guide, Mr. Bolivar, peppered my tour with interesting details, and trivia, allowing me to “live those years”.
Here now are photos taken within this majestic mansion. They say a picture paints a thousand words, so here’s a million for you.
How to get there:
The Aguinaldo Shrine is in Kawit, Cavite. From Manila, take the CAVITEX from Coastal Road. The Shrine is a few meters before reaching the church in Kawit.
By public transportation, take a jeepney or bus bound for Cavite, Rosario, or Noveleta, making sure it passes thru the town of Kawit (and not via SM Bacoor).
Our guide: Mr. Bolivar