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Kawit: More than just a memory lane

Yla Corotan, CNN Philippines


(CNN Philippines) — There is a growing number of people who are always on the lookout for new budget-friendly places to go to.

This growing population, by the way, includes me — an enthusiastic and practical weekend warrior who has a thing for food, places, and (a little bit of) adventure.

And since we’re in for a long weekend, I decided to visit Kawit, a town in Cavite known for its rich history and, as I found out, also has more to offer that won’t cost you a lot.

Going there: Commuters coming from EDSA southbound/ Buendia-Taft, can take  a bus going to Baclaran via Coastal Road. Get off at Coastal Mall, which has a terminal at the back. Board a bus bound for Kawit. It will take you approximately an hour minus the intense traffic . So it’s best to go there during the weekend.

Tip: When an  inspector gives you your ticket, tell him that you’re going to the Aguinaldo Shrine. Be very specific because there’s no bus stop nearby, and you might miss it, especially if you are seated on the right side of the bus.

Cost: Buendia to Coastal Mall – P12 / Coastal Mall to Kawit – P25

Aguinaldo Shrine

This mansion-turned-national-shrine-and-museum is the ancestral home of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, the first president of the first Republic of the Philippines. This is also where the Philippine Independence was declared on June 12, 1898.

Inside the shrine are collections of the general’s personal belongings, as well as displays of the remarkable events that happened in Cavite during its trying times. Aguinaldo’s clothes, wallets, and notes are framed, and you will really wonder how petite he was in person, or how he was as a family man.

On the second floor of the mansion are rooms upon rooms that bore witness on the personal lives of the Aguinaldo family. The rooms with secret passages are huge, and the living room where the meetings were probably held had this Philippine map mounted on the ceiling. It was cool and interesting.

There’s so much to see inside the Aguinaldo Shrine that it’s unlikely you will finish it in a day if you really immerse yourself into it. I couldn’t stay longer, so after buying a few pasalubongs at the backyard of the mansion where Aguinaldo was buried, I stood under the overdue summer’s unforgiving noon heat, facing the historical balcony that became an icon of our independence for 117 years.

How did it feel like back then? I was in awe.

Cost: Entrance fee – Free!

Pasalubong: (Tahong chips: P25 pesos x2, tablea: P70) – P120

Hidden Tapsihan

A friend once told me that Kawit’s tapa (dry or cured meat) is a must-try. Drained from touring the Aguinaldo Shrine, I went to a tapa place in town that’s supposed to be perfect for lunch. From the shrine, you will see a tricycle terminal to the right. Ask the driver to take you to Hidden Tapsihan in Mascardo Street, Barangay Wakas. It’s “hidden” because it is located at the end of an alley, but it’s no secret to the locals that its  tapa is the best.

Tip: When your tapsilog is served, don’t forget to ask the waitress on how to mix the secret sauce. She’ll tell you how, and trust me on this – you’ll love it.

Cost: Tapsilog – P75 | Pineapple juice – P35 | Leche flan – P70

Mary Magdalene Church

After relearning and appreciating history at the Aguinaldo Shrine, and eating that tapa with so much gusto, I decided that there would be no better way to end the day than to visit the parish church of Kawit which is just a few minutes walk from Hidden Tapsihan.

The St. Mary Magdalene Church is where General Aguinaldo was baptized.

To go back to Manila, wait for the Buendia/Baclaran-bound bus passing by the waiting shed near the church.

Cost: Kawit to LRT Buendia – P30

At the end of the day, it’s a funny thing to realize that Kawit is just really near Manila and that it’s actually fun to go out of the familiar city and get to know the places that contributed so much to our country’s history.