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  • Avoid The Tagaytay Crowd: Here Are Things You Can Do Around Cavite!

    Start your summer vacation right by visiting this historic province and exploring its must-visit towns
    by Rachelle Medina .
Avoid The Tagaytay Crowd: Here Are Things You Can Do Around Cavite!
PHOTO BY Rachelle Medina
To read this story in Tagalog, click here.
  • When you mention or think about going on a Cavite Weekend Trip, Tagaytay and Silang immediately come to mind. Since these default destinations tend to become really crowded in the summer, it's time to explore other areas and things to do, since Cavite is only about an hour away from Manila!

    Cavite's province is around 550 square miles big — giving you plenty of places to visit. If you're willing to go off the beaten track, there are three towns you can go to on your next trip that could be quite educational for the whole family.

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    What can you do in and around Cavite?

    It's interesting to note that the province of Cavite is famous for three things: swimming, food, and history. There is no denying the role that the province played in the Philippines gaining independence from the Spanish, and one cannot truly experience Cavite without learning about its history, so explore that first, followed by the resorts and the restaurants. Be guided by our list:

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    Kawit

    You can’t say you’ve visited Cavite if you haven’t dropped by the Aguinaldo Shrine. Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo’s ancestral home is definitely worth a second visit with the kids, especially if your last was at a school field trip.

    Bring the kids and give them a quick lesson on our country's colorful history.
    PHOTO BY Rachelle Medina
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    Make the most of your trip by spending hours in the museum.
    PHOTO BY Rachelle Medina

    The house itself is very much different from its original bahay-na-bato form in 1845 (and from its illustration on the old five-peso bill), when it was built. For example, there was no balcony in 1898, as the flag that symbolized our independence was waved from a living room window. Aguinaldo made massive changes to the house and its surroundings during the American occupation, and recent renovations include improvement on the ground-floor museum, its bowling alley, interactive displays, and a peek at one of its secret, underground passageways.

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    Kaingen, Kawit, Cavite; open Tuesday to Sunday, 8am to 4pm, tel. (046) 484-7643; admission is free but donations are welcome

    Before you head back to Manila, don’t forget to drop by Las Tiendas at the Freedom Park in front of the Shrine. It’s a banchetto-type setup of outdoor stalls that sell burgers, takoyaki, ihaw-ihaw, and other merienda treats from 5pm ’til late evening on weekends.

    Beat the heat with a cold treat! Be on the lookout for ice cream and halo-halo, too.
    PHOTO BY Rachelle Medina
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    If you’re lucky, you can watch live bands play for free, or even the Magdalo Marching Band, which has been in existence in Kawit since 1896!

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    The 282-year-old church features a belfry, stone buttresses, and weathered brick façade.
    PHOTO BY Rachelle Medina

    A few hundred meters away from the Aguinaldo Shrine is the St. Mary Magdalene church. Aguinaldo was baptized in this very same parish, and legend has it that there was a secret passageway leading from his house to this church.

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    Tanggulan St., Kawit, Cavite

     Cavite is also known for its multiple resorts that are accessible to Metro Manila, and one popular swimming haunt is Water Camp, which is in the spot where the former Josephine’s Restaurant was located.

    The kids will enjoy the Lazy River, the kiddie pools, and the multiple water slides. Warning: the place gets really crowded on weekends and most especially during Holy Week, so visit early in the morning to get a good spot.

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    Panamitan; open daily, tel. (046) 484-5703 to 04 | (02) 404-9911 (Manila line)

    HOW TO GET THERE: From Manila, take Coastal Road and then CAVITEX; exit CAVITEX then turn right to Kawit

    Maragondon

    The picturesque town was also the site of many significant events of the Philippine Revolution—most famously of which was the conviction for treason and the death of the Bonifacio brothers.

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    The Museo ng Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio or Bonifacio Trial House is the actual house of that trial, as it served as a military court during that time. Life-size sculptures in the museum tell the story of the trial of the two brothers Procopio and Andres, and the rear part of the house is the structure where Andres was imprisoned.

    Col. C. Riel St.; open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 8am to 4pm

    Right next to the Museo is the Our Lady of Assumption Church. Aside from paying respects to Our Lady, marvel at its 300-year-old structure, its ornate retablos and priest’s pulpit, and the intricately carved local flora, fauna, towers, and galleons on the main doors. This church was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum.

    Col. Infante St., Maragondon

    They have branches at a nearby mall and in Silang, but it’s best to experience Lolo Claro’s in its original, un-airconditioned location in an old wooden house complete with capiz windows. The most popular dish on the menu is their special fried chicken.

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    Governor’s Drive, Maragondon (near International Baptist Church of Maragondon)

    Aside from the numerous swimming spots in Maragondon, head to the Terra Verde Ecofarm and Resort if your family is looking for a more adventurous escape.

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    You can rent small cabins on this farm and stay overnight to experience horse rides, petting farm animals, and trekking to the nearby Pantihan (Balayungan) Falls, but you can also go on a tour of their lovely eco-farm, which grows various vegetables and dragonfruit.

    Km89 Alfonso-Maragondon Rd., Pantihan 2, mobile 0917-552-3637

    HOW TO GET THERE: Take Coastal Road then exit CAVITEX; take the Antero Soriano Highway, go past Gen. Trias and Tanza leading to Governor’s Drive

    Cavite City

    This lizard-shaped isthmus has long been overshadowed by Corregidor and its other provincial neighbors, but the port town of Cavite City has its own charms. The tiny city is deeply ingrained with history; from its Spanish colonial days as a port during the height of the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade, to its reincarnation as the site of the US Naval Forces, and then for the Philippine Navy.

    Cavite City boasts of ancestral homes that take you back to the past.
    PHOTO BY Rachelle Medina
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    A drive through this sleepy town—which would only take less than an hour—would lead you to the shrine of Julian Felipe in Santa Cruz, the composer of the Philippine National Anthem (Felipe was also a music teacher in Cavite). Don’t forget to take snapshots of some of the quaint, old, pre-war ancestral homes that line P. Burgos, the main avenue in the city; even its biggest hospital is in its original structure from the 1930s.

    If you go past the town market, you’ll see the San Roque Parish Church, with its famous image of the Nuestra Senora de la Soledad de Porta Vaga, which was reportedly found in a badly damaged ship in the 1700s.

    If you’re visiting the San Roque Parish Church on a Saturday, try to catch the 6pm mass, which is held in Chavacano, the city’s local dialect.
    PHOTO BY Rachelle Medina
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    If you head straight to the end of the isthmus, you’ll get to PN—short for “Philippine Navy”—and you’ll see the monument of the Thirteen Martyrs right before Samonte Park.

    The Thirteen Martyrs were Cavite men, mostly Freemasons, who were accused of creating a revolutionary government and were executed in 1896.
    PHOTO BY Rachelle Medina
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    If you are lucky enough to get past the gates of the Philippine Navy (though you’d usually need a written permit from the Navy beforehand), you can explore of the ruins of Fort San Felipe, a military fortress that dates to 1609.

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    After admiring the sights, make sure you drop by the food places, as well to get a taste of the city's delicacies.
    PHOTO BY Rachelle Medina
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    Cavite City is a good place for a delicious and affordable food tour. Buy quesillo (mild white cheese) wrapped in banana leaves at Dizon’s Bakery, which has been around since the 1930s, and eat it with their salakot bread.

    A short walk to the palengke will lead you to Aling Ika’s Carinderia, where you can order bibingkoy, a dessert made out of glutinous rice and drizzled with ginataan-like sauce. Head there early as it sometimes runs out at 9am!

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    Afterwards, have lunch at Asao Grill and Steak House and try their pancit puso, which is soured by puso ng saging in vinegar. Want more pancit? Try the Pancit Choko at Bernie’s Kitchenette—an exotic squid ink pancit topped with green mango and chicharon. And then stop by Pat & Sam’s Delicacies and Pasalubong for a box of wood fire-cooked Bibingka Pinipig or Malagkit before you head back to Manila. 

    Dizon’s: 618 P. Burgos Ave., Caridad; Aling Ika’s Carinderia: Cavite City Public Market; Asao: 897 P. Burgos Ave., San Roque; Bernies: 843 Midtown Bldg., Molina St., Caridad; Pat & Sam’s: 506 Padre Pio St., Caridad

    HOW TO GET THERE: From Manila, take the CAVITEX expressway, exit and turn right at Kawit, right again at the main Noveleta intersection and drive straight to Cavite City

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