If you peer on an old Spanish map, you would see a crescent or hook-shaped peninsula that lies thirty-four kilometers from what is now the City of Manila at the southwest entrance of Manila Bay across the Bataan Peninsula. Known in the olden days as “Tangway,” this place was subsequently called “Kawit,” which aptly describes in the vernacular the land that juts out into the sea like a hook. As the settlement grew over the centuries, the word evolved into “Cawite,” then finally, to its present name of Cavite.
The Province of Cavite which includes most of the islands in Manila Bay such as Corregidor, Caballo, Carabao and El Fraile islands is bounded on the east by the provinces of Laguna and Rizal; on the west by the south China Sea; on the south by the province of Batangas; and, on the north by the City of Manila and Manila Bay. The earliest settlers of the place were sea-faring people from Borneo many of whom were skilled naval artisans. During the Spanish regime, the shipyards in this part of the country produced many of the galleys and naval frigates as well as the great galleons that sailed the ocean trade routes from Manila to Acapulco in Mexico.
It is difficult to think of Cavite today without associating it with the most defining and glorious moment in the history of the Filipino nation—the proclamation of Philippine independence on June 12, 1898 after three hundred years of oppressive Spanish rule. If Cavite basks in the glory of leading the country’s inexorable march towards becoming a free and sovereign nation, it too, had offered its own share of sacrifice on the altar of freedom. When the Philippine Revolution broke out on August 25, 1896, the province became the theater of the bloody upheaval.
Like other provinces, Cavite is the home of many patriots, heroes and martyrs who led and inspired the noble struggle for national liberation. The most illustrious of Cavite’s sons is General Emilio Aguinaldo who defeated in fair combat the best of the Spanish generals such as: Ernesto de Aguirre in the Battle of Imus; Ramon Blanco in the Battle of Binakayan; and, Antonio Zaballa in the Battle of Anabu. Led by General Aguinaldo, the revolutionary forces soon liberated the entire province and pursued the struggle throughout the country to its successful conclusion making the Philippines the first Asian country to break its shackles from its colonial master.
The proclamation of Philippine independence in Kawit, Cavite in 1898 is the most important legacy of the Philippine revolutionary war against Spain. It had imbued in the Filipino consciousness a sense of identity and nationhood that would fortify the resolve of the young Philippine Republic to confront future challenges and enable it to stand proud among the concert of free and sovereign nations.
What to See in Cavite
The Province of Cavite does not delve into its past, glorious as it is. Instead, it has kept abreast with the fast-paced life of the modern world. While it is the smallest province in the CALABARZON (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon) region with an area of 130 thousand hectares, it is also the most populous. The growth of its population is attributed mainly to in-migration due to the increase in job opportunities and prime housing facilities. Presently, there are more than 30 industrial estates and countless prime residential subdivisions in the province. Amenities such as golf courses and shopping centers have begun to dot the landscape to cater to its burgeoning population. Despite all these, much of Cavite remains unspoiled by progress because its landscape is teeming with historical and cultural spots and fantastic natural attractions.
Aguinaldo Shrine and Museum: Located in the town of Kawit, the shrine is the ancestral home of General Emilio Aguinaldo. It was from a window of this Spanish designed house that the Philippine Independence from Spain was proclaimed and the national flag was first unfurled while a band played the stirring chords of the national anthem. The remains of General Aguinaldo rests on a hallowed spot on the garden of his house, which was donated to the government in 1962. Guided tours are available daily in the shrine from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM except Mondays. The good thing about it is that the guide will provide information about secret tunnel passages leading to the church and emergency exits.
Corregidor: This is an island fortress that guards the entrance to Manila Bay where Filipino and American troops valiantly fought against the Japanese invaders during World War II. The gallant stand of the Filipino and American defenders of Bataan and Corregidor delayed the Japanese timetable and successfully prevented the advance of the Japanese Imperial Army towards Australia and New Zealand. The war ruins of this island fortress together with its tunnels, mortars and naval gun emplacements are preserved, maintained and managed as an important historic site under the jurisdiction of Cavite City.
Aside from the numerous heritage and historic sites, Cavite offers fantastic natural attractions that make it a perfect destination for visitors who wish to see Nature’s wonders that are a short distance from the urban sprawl of Metro Manila. Take a quick tour of these sights and marvel at the gushing cascades of Malibiclibic Falls or Balite Falls in Amadeo or go spelunking at the Cabag Cave in Silang. Best of all, why not go sightseeing and drive around the Tagaytay Ridge and gawk at the fantastic view of Taal Volcano and its splendid backdrop of gleaming Taal Lake framed in the wide blue yonder.
Where to Eat in Cavite
When your eyes feast on the fantastic sights and heritage structures of the province, sooner or later your stomach will grumble and you will need to look for places with equally fantastic food. This is no problem because Cavite abounds with restaurants that offer the freshest vegetable, meats and seafood. Take for instance the following:
Josephine’s Restaurant: Located in Kawit and in Tagaytay, this famous seafood restaurant offers traditional Filipino food. If you are a first timer, you must not miss its specialty “Mutya ng Cavite” soup which is a white cream base soup filled to the brim with different seafood such as squid, shrimp, clams, crabs and mussels.
Hidden Tapsihan: So named because it is tucked in one of the hidden streets in Kawit near the St. Mary Magdalene Church. But as they say, no good eating place can remain hidden from the persistent gastronome who wants to experience its excellent “tapa,” or beef jerky and sweet vinegar sauce with onions. The budget conscious traveler will be pleased to find out that a complete meal with drinks and dessert will cost less than P100.00.
Café on the Ridge: Located along Aguinaldo Highway in Tagaytay, this restaurant overlooks Taal Volcano. Visitors will love its special smoked tanguingue, gambas, crispy tawilis, and bulalo. Tourists bring home mouth watering memories of its super special dessert named after the famed volcano nearby—Taal Chocolate Eruption, a “baked to order” rich chocolate cake dripping with chocolate cream sauce served with vanilla ice cream.
Where to Stay in Cavite
Microtel Inn & Suites-Eagle Ridge: This 57-room economy hotel accommodation in the flourishing town of General Trias is comfortably nestled inside the Eagle Ridge Golf and Residential Estates. With rates starting at P1,834.00, guests will enjoy a queen-sized bed, cable TV, air conditioning, IDD/ NDD telephone, Internet connectivity, built-in desk and furniture, full-sized bath with hot& cold water and radio clock.
Eagle Ridge Golf &Country Club
Amadeo Road, Cavite
Tel. No.: (6346) 509-3333
Mount Sea Fiesta Resort: Situated just 25 kilometers away from the City of Manila, this resort is about 40 minutes drive from the country’s capital. With rates starting at P2,300.00, this resort offers air conditioning, cable TV, IDD/ NDD telephone, and hot and cold shower.
Tel. No.: (046) 438-3888
Fax No.: (02) 301-0530 loc 184
Island Cove Resort & Leisure Park: This resort is the nearest from Manila. Take an easy drive through Roxas Boulevard and pass the scenic Coastal Road and in 45 minutes, you’ll find yourself in this island sanctuary. With rates starting at P2,700.00, visitors will be entitled to air conditioned units, telephone, ref and safe deposit.
Tel. No.: (632) 810-3718
Fax No.: (632) 810-3764
How to Get to Cavite
Manila to Cavite and Back: Public transportation bound for Cavite is available from 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM. The Saint Anthony and Saulog air conditioned buses load and unload passengers at Vito Cruz corner Harrison Streets near Harrison Plaza in front of the Central bank of the Philippines. Travel time going to the nearest point which is Bacoor is about 20 to 30 minutes while it would take around two hours going to the farthest point which is Silang. The bus fare is less than 50 pesos.
Cebu to Cavite and Back: To reach Cavite from Cebu, you can either fly from Cebu to the Manila Domestic Airport in Pasay or sail from Cebu to Manila. Approximate cost of a round trip plane ticket is P6,000.00 – P7,000.00 while a round trip boat fare is approximately P3,000.00 – P4,000.00. Once you disembark at the Manila Domestic Airport or Pier Area, it is best to take a taxi cab and ask to be taken to Harrison Plaza where you can take the bus bound for Cavite. The taxi fare should not cost more than P200.00.
Dumaguete to Cavite and Back: To reach Cavite from Dumaguete, you can fly from Dumaguete to the Manila Domestic Airport in Pasay City. From the airport, flag a taxi cab and ask to be taken to Harrison Plaza where you can hop on a bus bound for Cavite. The taxi fare should not cost more than P200.00.