Cavite: A Trail of Heroism and Romance

by • February 17, 2013 • DestinationsComments (0)3873

Cavite is steeped in history and blessed with natural beauty.  One of the most progressive provinces in the country, it is host to some of the country’s highly industrialized export processing zones.

The region abounds with historic sites, museums and landmarks.  It is the birthplace of many Filipino heroes.  Visitors can follow an interesting trail of sites associated with the Philippine Revolution.  The residence of the first president of the Philippine Republic, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, is in Cavite.  It was here that Philippine independence from Spain was proclaimed on June 12, 1898.

Flickr Creative Common Image
Flickr Creative Common Image

Cavite teems with natural resources, breathtaking landscapes, world-class golf courses and leisure facilities.  Its most popular destination is Tagaytay City- a summer and holiday getaway situated 25,000 feet above sea level.  The highway to Tagaytay offers panoramic views of the world famous Taal Volcano and Lake – a crater within an island within a lake.  Along the ridge are  flower and vegetable farms, fruit orchards, as well as several establishments that offer a wide range of accommodations, dining places and recreational areas.

Location

Flickr Creative Common Image by therealbrute
Flickr Creative Common Image by therealbrute

Cavite lies south of Metro Manila at the entrance to Manila Bay.  Skirting its northern edge are the cities of Las Pinas and Muntinlupa, and the waters of Manila Bay.  To the east lie the provinces of Rizal and Laguna, while the province of Batangas sprawls along its southern border.  To the west is the South China Sea.

How to get there

Travel time to Cavite from Metro Manila can be as short as half an hour; or it can take up to three hours if you are headed for more remote eco-tourism areas.  From the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the nearest city in Cavite is Bacoor, just a 30-minute drive away along the Coastal Road or via the Zapote-Baclaran Road. The main route to Cavite is via the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).  Take the exit at Carmona, which leads to the towns of Silang, Gen. Mariano Alvarez (GMA), Dasmarinas, Maragondon, Ternate and the cities of Trece Martires and Tagaytay.  The province can also be reached from Manila through Roxas Boulevard Coastal Road going to the city of Bacoor, towns of Imus, Kawit, Rosario, Tanza, Naic and Noveleta.  An alternate route is via the Sta. Rosa, Laguna exit on the SLEX.  This exit leads to Tagaytay City and the adjacent towns of Alfonso, Amadeo, Silang and Indang.  Corregidor Island is accessible by fastcraft ferry located at Terminal 2 within the CCP Complex in Pasay City.

Public transport services are available during the day hours and early evening.  Buses going to Cavite have terminals along Vito Cruz Street at the corner of Harrison Plaza; and at the Park’n Ride located at Plaza Lawton in Manila.  Other buses going to the city of Bacoor, towns of Imus, Kawit, Noveleta, Rosario, Naic and Tanza are also available at Baclaran, a busy marketplace in Paranaque.

Getting around

Buses, jeepneys and tricycles ply the main streets and smaller roads between the different towns in Cavite.  The province has a well-developed system of road networks connected to highways.  It is easy to get around the different cities and towns as well as to  nearby provinces in the Southern Luzon region.

Delighful Escapes

Tagaytay Ridge – Tagaytay City

Taal Volcano & Taal Lake Flickr Creative Commons Image by ~MVI~ (running away from parties)
Taal Volcano & Taal Lake
Flickr Creative Commons Image by ~MVI~ (running away from parties)

At 25,000 feet above sea level, Tagaytay City is known as the summer capital of Southern Luzon because of its cool highland temperature.  The famous Tagaytay Ridge circles the edge of an ancient volcanic crater.  Within this collapsed crater is Taal Volcano with its crater lake – a lake within a volcano within a lake.

Tagaytay Ridge is a major attraction for couples and families who go there for the romantic views and picnic spots, restaurants, resorts and other recreational facilities.  On sunny days, the clear views of the volcano in the middle of Taal Lake are awe-inspiring.  The tranquil ambience and fresh mountain air make it a perfect setting for the health spas and wellness centers, retreat houses and conference venues such as the Tagaytay International Convention Center.

Visitors have discovered Tagaytay’s many opportunities for soft adventure and sports activities  The city’s gently rolling hills and nature parks make it ideal for hiking, jogging and mountain biking.  The more adventurous can trek down to the edge of the Taal Lake.

Culinary Experiences

Flickr Creative Commons Image by  glenmcbethlaw
Flickr Creative Commons Image by glenmcbethlaw

A multitude of restaurants in the Tagaytay Silang Alfonso area offer a varied range of international culinary experiences.  Choose from extensive menus of well-prepared dishes, served in a variety of settings – from summer gardens to terraces with magnificent views.  Locally-grown vegetables make their way to the tables of these restaurants as fresh salads and healthy gourmet dishes.

Natural Wonders

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Flickr Creative Common Image by jojonicdao

Explore the forested slopes of Mt. Palaypalay and Mataas-na-Gulod National Park, with its rare and indigenous flora and fauna.  Venture into Cabag Cave with its underground river.  Spend a refreshing day by the twin cascades of Balite Falls in Amadeo town; or go for a picnic and swim at Malibiclibic Falls, situated along the border of Gen. Aguinaldo and Magallanes towns.

The Great Outdoors

Flick Creative Common Image by  joshwept
Flick Creative Common Image by joshwept

Cavite’s coastal towns offer scenic areas for fun and relaxing weekends.  The town of Ternate has many coves fringed with sandy beaches that are sheltered by lush mountain ranges.  Resort establishments offer accommodations, dining areas, beach cottages, water sports facilities and other amenities for vacationers.  World-class resorts such as Caylabne Bay Beach Resort in Ternate and the Island Cove Resort and Leisure Park in Kawit are favorite weekend getaways.

Historic Sites

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Flickr Creative Commons Images by Renzelle Mae Abasolo

Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine – Kawit

On June 12, 1898, General Emilio of the Filipino revolutionary forces declared independence from Spain on the balcony of his residence in Kawit.  The house is now a National Shrine with various memorabilia dedicated to these historic events.  A park named Liwasang Aguinaldo was built in front of the shrine to commemorate the Centennial of Philippine Independence.

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Flickr Creative Commons Image by Roberto Verzo

Corregidor Island

Located at the entrance to Manila Bay, tadpole-shaped Corregidor Island was once a fishing village with a lighthouse and signal station for all ships entering and leaving the bay.

During the American period, full-scale fortifications were built on the island, complete with long-range tractor guns, anti-aircraft cannons, army barracks, tunnels, an underground command center and a hospital for wounded soldiers.  In the last Pacific War, Corregidor became a strategic combat zone.

Today, the island is a memorial to peace and those who died for the cause of freedom.  It is a favorite tour destination with hotel and resort facilities.

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Fort San Felipe, Cavite City
Creative Commons Flickr Image by larawan ni tianaman

Fort San Felipe, Cavite City

Dating back to 1609, this Spanish-era fortress was built of granite blocks with a wide stairway that leads up to the 30-foot-high ramparts.  Naval memorabilia, antique cannons and other artillery can be seen on the lawns.  Visits can be arranged with prior coordination with the Philippine Navy Headquarters.

Imus Historical Museum

Significant events, victories and decisive battles in the Philippine Revolution of 1896-1898 can be viewed at the Imus Historical Museum.  The museum has moving tableaux and life-sized dioramas, as well as murals and sculptures depicting key figures and events in the Cavite Revolution.

Andres Bonifacio Trial House Creative Commons Flick Image by MVI
Andres Bonifacio Trial House
Creative Commons Flick Image by MVI

The Historical Trail

History buffs will have a field day following the trail of historical markers around Cavite’s towns.  Significant sites include the Battle of Alapan,Gen. Baldomero Aguinaldo Shrine, Artemio Ricarte Marker, House of Tirona, House of Gen. Riego de Dios, the Andres Bonifacio Trial House, the 41st Division USAFFE Marker and the 11th Airborne Division Marker.

Cultural Attractions

Churches to Visit

Flickr Creative Commons Image by MVI
Flickr Creative Commons Image by MVI

The well preserved churches of Cavite province are magnificent examples of Spanish colonial architecture.  A tour of the churches is a must for lovers of design history and heritage.  Some of the churches to visit include: St. Mary Magdalene Parish Church in Kawit, Imus Cathedral, Maragondon Catholic Church and the Nuestra Senora de Porta Vaga Shrine in Cavite City.

Heritage Museums

The Museo dela Salle in Dasmarinas is dedicated to the preservation of Philippine heritage and lifestyle pieces from the 19th century.  The collection includes antique heirloom pieces such as furniture, decorative objects and art pieces displayed in rooms that faithfully recreate the look of turn-of-the-century houses of Filipino elite.

A unique collection of vintage paintings and rare photographs that provide glimpses of the country’s rich and glorious past is housed at the GBR Museum, located within the 174-hectare Gateway Business Park or real estate tycoon Geronimo D. Delos Reyes Jr.  Also on display are antique maps, scale models and an exhibit on world aviation history.

Festivals and Events

The historic town of Kawit, as the setting for the Declaration of the First Philippine Independence in 1898, is the center of national celebrations commemorating the country’s Independence Day every 12th of June.  Other noteworthy festivals in the province include the Pahimis Coffee Festival in February, the Regada Water Festival in June, the Maytinis Festival in December and the Paskuhan sa Imus Christmas celebrations in December.

Colorful Traditions

Witness the Sayaw sa Apoy – a fire dance that originated in Alfonso town and is now performed during festivals and at special events all over the province.  This performance features intrepid men and women gingerly stepping with bare feet over live coals as an act of faith and thanksgiving.

Another festive performance is the Caracol, a street dance to honor a patron saint during parades, followed by a fluvial procession.

Accommodations

Places to stay in Cavite are as diverse as the province’s attractions.  First-class hotels and resorts offer luxurious accommodations, gourmet-dining options, seminar and conference facilities, and a wide assortment of recreational activities.  There are also boutique hotels that provide comfortable lodgings and services for travelers.  For those on a budget, there are quaint and interesting inns, as well as local government licensed lodging facilities.

Sightseeing and Shopping

Flickr Creative Commons Image by larawan ni tianaman
Flickr Creative Commons Image by larawan ni tianaman

Drive around the Tagaytay-Taal Ridge to view the volcano within the lake,  Hop around the historic sites and monuments, culminating in a tour if Corregidor Island.  Tagaytay and its environs are also famed for their pineapple plantations, flower farms, vegetable farms and fruit orchards.  The cool climate and rich soil nurture many greenhouse blooms, as well as an abundance of fresh greens, plump tomatoes and other vegetables.  Buy favorite flowers and organically grown vegetables at these farms at very reasonable prices.  Visit the roadside stalls selling local delicacies, fruits, flowers and souvenir items.

Health and Wellness

Tagaytay City is fast becoming a health and wellness center.  Selected restaurants offer healthy gourmet meals featuring organically grown and locally harvested foods.  For the ultimate in wellness and relaxation, indulge in various modes of health massage and treatments at the many spas in Tagaytay.

Mountain Trekking & Outdoor Sports

Engage in outdoor sports like biking and hiking along the winding roads of Tagaytay and its environs.  There are also plenty of camping and picnic grounds.  Trek the mountains and laze on the beaches of Ternate, Maragondon and nearby towns.

Golf

Cavite is home to some of the finest championship golf courses this side of Asia.  Tee off on world-class greens at these exclusive golf and country clubs: Manila Southwoods in Carmona, the Orchard in Dasmarinas, Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club and Sherwood in Trece Martires, and the Tagaytay Highlands, the Royale Tagaytay and Splendido golf courses in Tagaytay City.  Visitors can play on selected days when accompanied by a club member.

Tourist Spots

Shrine of the Nuestra Senora dela Soledad de Porta Vaga, San Roque Parish Church, Cavite City.  This church houses the icon of the “Virgin of a Thousand Miracles.”it is a painting of the Virgin Mary framed in a carved wood found in the 18th century.

St. Mary Magdalene Parish, Poblacion Kawit. Built in 1624, this is one of the oldest church in the Philippines.  The grandeur of its original massive architecture has been preserved.

Battle of Binakayan Monument, Governor’s Road, Kawit.  Site of a decisive battle that marked the first defeat of the Spanish forces and commemorated as the first major victory of the Philippine Revolution.

Imus Cathedral, Barangay IV, Imus.  Seat of the Diocese of Imus, the Cathedral if an example of Hispanic colonial architecture.  Red brick and Latin inscriptions accentuate the arches of the Cathedral and exude an ambience conducive to monastic life.

Battle of Alapan Marker, Bernardina Salud Elementary School, Alapan I, Imus.  A memorial commemorates the Battle of Alapan (May 28, 1889) where the Philippine flag was first displayed in victory during the revolution against Spain.

Tejeros Convention Marker, Barrio Tejeros, General Trias.  In this Dominican estate house, the Tejeros Convention was held on March 22, 1887 to create the Philippine Armed Forces with Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo as the head of government.

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Flickr Creative Commons Image by MVI

Maragondon Catholic Church, Poblacion, Maragondon.  Of 17th century vintage, this church has a well preserved convent made from antique mahogany, masonry and bricks.  The finely crafted wooden altar, pulpit and main portal remain as enduring architectural landmarks.

Andres Bonifacio Trial House, Poblacion, Maragondon.  Andres Bonifacio, founder of the secret revolutionary society called the Katipunan and one of the leaders of the Philippine Revolution, was court-martialled in this Spanish colonial house.

Cabag Cave, Maragondon.  Found at the bottom of a steep slope, the cave entrance is near a brook surrounded by lush greenery, with an underground river that leads 50 meters inward.

Mt. Palaypalay and Mataas-na-Gulod National Park, Border of Ternate and Maragondon.  This protected area and wildlife reserve covers three peaks and is noted for its indigenous and rare species of flora and fauna.

41st Division USAFFE Marker, Kaybagay South Tagaytay City.  Tagaytay was a strategic site during World War II.  Filipino soldiers found refuge in its vast forests and ridges.  It was used as landing site and sanctuary for paratroopers on their way to the Liberation of  Manila.

11th Airborne Division Marker, Tagaytay City.  A marker at the Silang Tagaytay Crossing commemorates events on February 3, 1945, when the 11th Airborne Division of Lt. Gen. William Krueger of the US Army air-dropped military supplies and personnel on Tagaytay Ridge.

Malibiclibic Falls, Border of Gen. Aguinaldo and Magallanes.  The waterfall cascades down a lush valley and into a large pool surrounded by coconut trees and shrubs.

Balite Falls, Barangay Halang, Amadeo.  The twin cascades converge in a pool with a deep end and a shallow portion for swimming.

Creative Commons Images Flickr by: Renselle Mae Abasolo, MVI, Roberto Verzo, larawan ni tianaman, YouTube Video by globalcaviteLNS @ YouTube

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