The Emilio Aguinaldo House in Kawit, Cavite is the site of the proclamation of Philippine independence. It was the residence of the first President of the Philippine Republic. Today, it is maintained by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines as a museum in honor of President Aguinaldo.

View photos of President Emilio Aguinaldo on the Presidential Museum and Library Flickr.

The Aguinaldo House with thatched roof and no balcony, c. 1898. (Photo from "Home of Independence, Emilio Aguinaldo House" by Ino Manalo.)
The Aguinaldo House with thatched roof and no balcony, c. 1898. (Photo from “Home of Independence, Emilio Aguinaldo House” by Ino Manalo.)
The Aguinaldo House during the Philippine-American War. Shows that the family wing may have been built before the 1920s. (Photo from "Home of Independence, Emilio Aguinaldo House" by Ino Manalo.)
The Aguinaldo House during the Philippine-American War. This photo shows that the family wing may have been built before the 1920s. (Photo from “Home of Independence, Emilio Aguinaldo House” by Ino Manalo.)

 

Location
President Aguinaldo with his 2 children, posing in front of their house in Cavite. (Photo courtesy of Mr. Arnaldo Dumindin of the Philippine-American War website.)
President Aguinaldo with his 2 children, posing in front of their house in Cavite, c. 1911. (Photo courtesy of Mr. Arnaldo Dumindin of the Philippine-American War website.)
The Aguinaldo House, c. 1914. (Photo courtesy of Mr. Arnaldo Dumindin of the Philippine-American War website.)
The Aguinaldo House, c. 1914. (Photo courtesy of Mr. Arnaldo Dumindin of the Philippine-American War website.)
The Aguinaldo House, before the 1920 expansion. (Photo courtesy of Mr. John Tewell.)
The Aguinaldo House, before the 1920 expansion. (Photo courtesy of Mr. John Tewell.)

The house is located along Camino Real in Kawit (formerly Cavite El Viejo), Cavite, thus situated along the main road between Cavite and Manila. Camino Real cuts through the center of Kawit and once formed the town’s main street. The house sits right on the premier thoroughfare of the town, suggesting that the Aguinaldos had connections to Spanish authorities and were among the town’s elite.

Architecture

The Aguinaldo Shrine. (Photo courtesy of the National Library of the Philippines.)

The Aguinaldo Shrine. (Photo courtesy of the National Library of the Philippines.)
The Aguinaldo House. (Photos courtesy of the National Library of the Philippines.)

The Aguinaldo Shrine, comprised of three parts or areas—the main house, the tower, and the family wing—occupies 1,324 square meters and stands 4,864 square meters. It was originally built out of limestone and hardwood in 1849 to replace the nipa-and-thatch that the Aguinaldos had built on the lot.

Many times remodeled and renovated throughout the years, the residence no longer resembles the original structure as it was in 1898. The period 1919–1925 is usually cited as a period of considerable renovations of the house where the mansion was enlarged and the tower was built. Today it stands as a renaissance mansion exhibiting Malayan, Baroque and Romanesque architectural influences.

Proclamation of Independence
President Emilio Aguinaldo on the balcony of the Aguinaldo Shrine. (Photo courtesy of the National Library of the Philippines.)
President Emilio Aguinaldo on the balcony of the Aguinaldo Shrine. (Photo courtesy of the National Library of the Philippines.)

On June 12, 1898, the Philippine national flag, made by Marcela Agoncillo in Hong Kong, was officially unfurled by Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista in the historic “Independence Balcony” of the house (then, a window), as President Aguinaldo proclaimed Philippine Independence from Spain. It was also here where the Marcha Nacional Filipina, the Philippine national anthem composed by Julian Felipe, was played by Banda Malabon.

Legacy

On June 12, 1963, President Emilio Aguinaldo himself donated the mansion and the lot to the Philippine Government, “to perpetuate the spirit of the Philippine Revolution of 1896 that put an end to Spanish colonization of the country”. By virtue of Republic Act No. 4039 dated June 18, 1964, issued by then President Diosdado Macapagal, the Aguinaldo Mansion was declared national shrine.


Bibliography

____, “General Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine”, The Official Website of the Government of Cavite, retrieved on March 12, 2015 from http://www.cavite.gov.ph/home/index.php/tourism/primary-attraction/historical-sites

Manalo, Ino. Home of Independence: Emilio Aguinaldo House. Manila: National Historical Institute, 1998.