Cavite Province and Its History – Part II

Due to its military importance, Cavite had been attacked by foreigners in their quest to conquer Manila and the Philippines.

In 1647, the Dutch made a surprise attack on the city, pounding the port incessantly, but were repulsed. At Sangley Point still stands the ruins of Porta Vaga Church which was destroyed during the attack. San Roque Church, near the ruins, houses Porta Vaga’s patron – a 17th century painting of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad.

Our Lady of Solitude de Porta Vaga, Patroness of Cavite Province – Photo Credit: Percy s a Carballo

During the 17th century, Cavite City developed as a center for shipbuilding and naval operations. Giant molave trees from the forest around Paete were floated across Laguna de Bay, down the Pasig River, and across Manila Bay to Cavite, where many of the great Manila galleons were built.

When the Spaniards decided to withdraw from the northern Moluccan islands of Ternate, Tidore, and Siao in 1663, the Jesuits priests brought their converts to the Philippines and built them a new settlement and named this land Ternate after their former homeland.

Past Ternate, nearby Maragondon, a historic Jesuit town, was settled in 1663 by Indonesian Christians and had one of the loveliest old churches in the archipelago with intricate carvings on the doors and ornate carved rococo interior. Trumpeting angels on the altar and friezes on the pulpit conjure up images of the rattling swords and whizzing bullets of a revolution that overflowed into this church. Maragondon figured prominently in Philippine history, and historical markers line the roadsides.

In 1672, the British occupied the port during their two-year control in the Philippines.

Long a revolutionary center against the Spaniards, Cavite was the home province of Emilio Aguinaldo, the insurrectionist leader against both Spain and the United States. Cavite, known for its rich history, is one of the eight provinces that led the Philippine Revolution and is a site of many important events during the rebellion.

Many of the country’s heroes come from Cavite, which is called the “cradle of the Philippine Republic.”

For over 300 years, the province played an important role in the country’s colonial past and eventual fight for independence, earning it the title “Historical Capital of the Philippines.” It became the cradle of the Philippine Revolution, which led to the renouncement of Spanish colonial control, finally culminating in the Philippine Declaration of Independence.

Cavite city has some interesting old houses. Aguinaldo’s home in Kawit was the site of the declaration of Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898, by General Emilio Aguinaldo for the short-lived first Philippine Republic. Both his house and its furnishings are remarkable. On the dining room ceiling, there is a bas-relief map of the Philippines, with Cavite painted red, symbolizing the province’s resistance. Bacoor was briefly the capital of the revolutionary government before it moved to Malolos, Bulacan.

Preserved as a shrine to the revolution is the Aguinaldo House Museum, an architectural achievement of late colonial vintage with an impressive interpretive display of Philippine revolutionary history. The elaborate house, with its secret escape tunnels, is among the country’s finest old Spanish-style homes (Bahay na Bato).

Sources:

Inside Guide Philippines by Discovery Channel

Philippine Guide by Jill & Rebecca Gale de Villa

Philippines Handbook by Carl Parkes


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