Kawit

Your first stop is the Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit. Aguinaldo, the first president of the Philippine Republic, was born here on March 22, 1869. But more significantly, Kawit is where the country’s independence from Spain was first declared. The flag was formally waved from a window in Aguinaldo’s house on June 12, 1898. The “independence balcony” was built when Aguinaldo had the house renovated in 1919.

Next stop on your tour is Fort San Felipe in Cavite City. It was built by the Spaniards in the early 1600s, was the site of the 1872 Cavite Mutiny — said to be the beginning of Filipino nationalism — and was where the 13 Martyrs of Cavite were executed.

Another landmark in the town of Maragondon marks the site where Andres Bonifacio, the father of the Philippine revolution, was court-martialed in 1897.

The St. Mary Magdalene Church in Kawit is among the oldest churches in the Philippines. It was built using wood in 1638, and was reconstructed a century. Go up to the left side of the altar and you’ll see Aguinaldo’s birth certificate.

Visit the Shrine of the Nuestra Señora dela Soledad de Porta Vaga (Our Lady of Solitude of Vaga Gate) at San Roque Church in Cavite City. Also called Reina de Cavite (Queen of Cavite), the image is said to be miraculous.

Cavite is also for the foodie. Here tamales are filled with chicken, pork, boiled egg, and chickpeas. Pancit (a noodle dish) specialties include pancit pusit (squid), made dark with squid ink; and pancit puso (heart), made with kilawing puso ng saging (pickled banana blossom).