Sunday, February 17, 2008

Discovering Cavite 02: Kawit

I have been to this place some ages ago, and I think that was a school field trip or something like that. Also passed by this place a couple of times on the way to or avoiding heavy traffic going somewhere! This time, I went to Kawit on purpose – for lack of anything else to see or do at Cavite City when I popped in there with no plans whatsoever! The purpose… what really is there anyway!

How did I know about Kawit?
Which Filipino won’t have heard about this town if they have at least finished their primary school? And living in this country you always watch, hear or read about news that a so and so politician went there to attend the flag ceremony in commemoration of the country’s independence every June 12, right? So Kawit is fairly on the Filipino’s mind. But my ageing brain can’t recall any more details than the above. So, knowing I was already in Cavite City, I asked around if Kawit was still far. The old lady said just about 30 minutes or so by mini bus.

Going there
Along P. Burgos St., in the city of Cavite, as instructed by the old lady selling halo-halo, I hopped unto a “mini bus” going to Zapote in Las Pinas. Instructions were clear, I was to avoid anything that was going to Rosario, Tanza or Naic as that would have been the wrong way. Okay, fine!

The mini-bus (or “mini bus” or minibus) is sometimes called baby-bus by some people. Seeing many them again did rekindle my curiosity about this kind of vehicle. Not that I particularly am excited riding any of them hehe. I always like to describe them as clones, hybrids or crosses between the jeepney and the “real” bus! Like the jeep, these vehicles are colorful, usually with a lot of trimmings and adornments. Also very much like the jeep, a minibus is popular if it has a shiny aluminum body (at the front at least) and it has a lot of painted things all over its “fuselage”! Still like the jeep, the driver has a dashboard made, such that he can use it as coin or money container/receptacle. The car-stereo (and that seems to be a must for all) is fitted by the ceiling of the driver and the driver’s seat is a recaro-type or anything similar salvaged from a car (usually the sedans)! To sit in front (beside the driver) a passenger climbs in from the side and never from behind or inside the bus. Both the driver’s side (left) and the front passenger’s side (right) are usually open – meaning there are no swinging doors, just like most of the jeepneys. Finally, as if to prove it really is the big brother of a jeep, you pay to the driver as there is no conductor. Okay, you may say that the jeeps from Cubao to Antipolo have conductors – but they are the exception rather than the norm!

Now how about the bus-like attributes? Ah this is fun! There would usually be a single entrance door at the forward section just behind the front passenger seat. That would usually be a door that can be opened and closed just like in a bus. All seats face front, and like in a bus, there is an aisle that divides the left wing seats from the right wing seats. Each seat should/must accommodate two people how big ever a person might be! At the very rear is the longest seat that can sit from 5 to 6 people. Oh, the seats are padded/cushioned with cheap upholstery but the back rests are not – this is very much like many of the old provincial buses. Back rests are usually made of wood. Still like in a bus, you can close or open the individual window beside you – that is by raising a panel made of plywood (sometimes transparent plastic). By the ceiling above you, there would be buttons that you push to send an alarm to the driver when you want to get off – just like in a bus!

Interestingly, these minibuses can’t seem to be so if they’re not fitted with funny sounding horns – the most common of which is an electronic mimicry of a woman laughing. Some are even attempts to let the horns talk like “I love you” in a funny sounding blare! And, you already probably know that you cannot stand erect on any minibus – that is unless you are a child or a midget. The height from floor to ceiling of a minibus is probably just four feet or even less. Thus, though a bit taller than a jeep’s, you still crouch or duck or bend to move inside. Finally, I am told there are (but I have not yet seen) air conditioned minibuses. The jeeps are probably ahead of them in this arena while that is the norm on new buses.

So, this was my ride going to Kawit and it passes via another town named Noveleta. On a Sunday afternoon, this minibus trip from Cavite City to Kawit would usually be not full so you can have the two-seater to your self. The roads are good and the views are fairly acceptable semi-urban. There are big schools, middle-class villages, a resort or two, a salt bed, farms, birds grazing on idle land, children playing on the hi-way and so on.

My Kawit Tour
The Aguinaldo House
I asked to be let off at the Aguinaldo Shrine and indeed I was! The minibus stopped to let me go without a care if it was on a curving portion (even a blind corner) of the road. Some vehicles honked in protest at that seeming obstruction but my minibus driver just honked back – with matching murmured curses! I silently laughed at that amusing incident and just thought this bus driver must be “siga”!

It’s different now than when I was last there ages ago! The front of the Aguinaldo house is closed and not anymore used as entrance. The road right in front of the house is still there but not anymore passable. It’s been blocked by a rather imposing steel gate to make it a part of the park. Park? Yep, and that is the wide expanse of property facing Aguinaldo’s house – which I remember to have been peppered with squatters and shanties selling just about everything during my last visit eons ago! So okay, wherever on earth they threw those squatters, at least this park highlights the historical significance of the house. I am sure this place will not be obscured in abandon for many many years more to come. At least!

Let us check out the house first, then later the park – since that is how I toured. Okay? Alright!

Entrance to this historic house is now at the wide gate that served/serves as vehicle entrance to the facility. Conveniently, this gate is right at the corner of the road – yes the national road. As it is quite wide, only half of the swinging gates will be open and conveniently too, there is a posted schedule of operations courtesy of a fastfood company. So, the Aguilado House is open 8AM to 12NN and 1PM to 4PM Tuesdays till Saturdays except during Holidays where its also closed. Oh, don’t ya enter yet! Look to your right even before touching the gate. There is the national marker describing what this facility is and you might want to read it first. Don’t worry, if you don’t understand English, there is a complete translation! If what you see at that wall will be the basis, that would mean the official name of this place is E.Aguilado SHRINE. Amusing that the curators of this place used, copied, plagiarized Aguinaldo’s signature, enlarged it into about a foot high and produced the replica in bronze and stuck to this wall! Interestingly after that “signaute” they attached the word SHRINE in capital letters and also in bronze! O laban ka?!

What is a shrine anyway? I am not good at words and definitions but all along, in my mind, a shrine is something that has a religious meaning to it. Like for saints or prophets. So why call this historical place of a great hero a shrine? Why will he be beatified in the near future hehe! Allow me please, but I just feel awkward calling this place a shrine. Anyway, let’s go enter as I did.

Two guards will be seated on a table under a big tree in the garden just a few steps away from you as you enter the gate. They have a logbook on the table where you are supposed to write your name and address and other contact details for having visited this place. No there is no fee! By the way, take note that these two old men are not just your normal blue guards from a so-so security agency. They’re both from the navy (or is that coast guard?) and why they are armed with long rifles (yep M16s), you would naturally wonder! Oh, they’re courteous and friendly anyway (and they thought I was a foreigner hehe nag-english pa sila ahh hehehe). They will tell you that all belongings like bags etc are not allowed inside the house. So, almost ready to back out, I asked them… “ha? iiwanan dito sa mesa nyo?” (I had with me my big body bag full with an extra shirt, my lonely planet book, camera, gadgetry and other little things). Their reply was… “you can leave it there (pointing me to the guard house by the gate) but just bring your cellular phone, camera and valuables”. And so I went there to look for a place to lay my bag upon. Yuck its dusty all over and my pitch-black bag will easily reveal this kind of dirt if I placed it there. So I was looking for a hook or a knob where I can instead hang the bag. The guards noticing my act, called out to me that there is a wire by the light switch and I can hang my bag there. Whoa, a metallic wire with its end made into a hook (where the two manongs would usually place their hangers). It was too soft and pliant it could not hold my bag. Final recourse, I tied the sling of my now becoming annoying poor bag with that wire. Ayos!

Then the guards pointed me to the “main entrance” but also advised me if I wanted to start with the restored old car of Aguinaldo that’s displayed in a housing far to the right of the garden (near the comfort rooms). I said I’ll do that later and proceeded to the “main entrance”.

The “main entrance" to the house is not what would have been during Aguinaldo’s time. It is now the door on the western end of the house fronting the big lawn just a few steps away from the guards. I entered and saw a man (janitor?). I asked him “meron bang guide?”, the answer was “ayan na sya” pointing to a youngish looking woman approaching me with all smiles.

“Good afternoon sir, welcome to the Aguilado Shrine and Museum. My name is Sarah from the NHI and I am the museum guide here” and she shook my hands. Impressed, I asked “ano yung NHI”. She giggled a bit and said “ay marunong pala kayo mag-tagalog”, I sad “Pinoy ako” . She laughed saying “ganun?” and finally said (in English) “NHI sir is the National Historical Institute. It is the office in charge of maintaining this shrine”. I sad “ang galing ha?” and she continued with “let’s go this way sir”. Thus, my tour of Aguinaldo’s house began…

I smiled at the fact that the very first thing shown to me (on ground floor) was Aguinaldo’s bowling lanes. This is actually the only thing I remember inside this house from my visit eons ago. The entire bowling area (two lanes) is actually to your right as you enter the facility just separated by those floor-to-ceiling glass panels with a lot of historical facts etched on them. Of course as you would have guessed bowling circa Aguinaldo’s time was such that a “pin boy” would be stationed at the other end whose role was to throw the balls back to the player and to arrange the pins again for the next frame. Nothing particularly of note here except that the wood is buffed and shiny – you’d be sure it was not that way during those times!

Sarah then led me back towards the main area of the house’s ground floor and away from the bowling lanes. Just about two steps, I was shown a display that they call a light-and-sound show of Emilio Aguinaldo working in his office. It’s a modern day diorama with lights, recorded sounds and even projection screens to recreate a scenario where the man was working in his office. I could imagine this to be a good show but unfortunately Sarah told me it was not working at the moment (or they thought it was not worth the effort and energy consumption of lighting everything up for just a lowly me, myself and I as visitor). But that was fine with me. I have seen and heard about these kinds of techniques to highlight certain museum displays. There are similar things at the national museum, the ayala museum and of course the malinta tunnel in corregidor island. So I never had to fret why I can't see the "show"!

Behind us was a glass-covered hole in the wall that seems to be a dark and cramped pathway to a basement or dungeon. As I read the historical markers on the wall, my guide continued on with telling me that this was the entrance to the famed tunnel that runs from this house to the St. Mary Magdalene Church. And without yet looking at her, my eyes actually grew wide. I asked in bewilderment, "that big church near the municipal hall" (that I passed by earlier on my way here)? The answer was an absolute yes! I said that was a bit far to dig during ancient times with very crude tools. And to emphasize the distance, Sarah told me that’s about half a kilometer away. Whoa! This early in the tour I was already contemplating that my next activity once out of this house would be to walk the distance to the church. I knew it was a bit far, but at least I also knew I would be walking on a national road - not a dark cramped tunnel.

As I wrote this article, I went into my google maps just to check out really how long this tunnel would be. Here goes:

View Larger Map

This whole area of the ground floor is/was actually called the “silong” where the farm implements and other equipment would usually be kept. What is now here are memorabilia about Emilio Aguinaldo like his uniforms, arms and other things during his era, neatly displayed on walls and shelves. The center of the whole area is adorned by an old cannon. This is followed by another setup on the same area where a big musical score of the Philippine National Anthem is displayed. This is also a light-and-sound area but just the same I did not have the luxury of watching. Sigh!

Then we went out of the silong and up the wooden stairs to the second level – that is usually the general living area of big houses in the olden days. BTW, while I was brought up in an old Spanish house similar to, but smaller than this one, I still thought there were too many interesting bits—pieces here!

Hey, I'll let you in on a little experiment... As this is an old Spanish house, I silently tried counting the number of steps - just to see really if the makers of the stairs (or the owner of the house for that matter) conformed to the "oro, plata, mata" superstition. In the case of this house, am not sure they did! Oh, some of you might not know or may have forgotten about that superstition so here we go: in the olden days (up till now actually) majority of the Filipinos built their stairs such that every step of a person going up or down can be counted with "oro" then "plata" and "mata" - in that correct order and cycle. The last step or landing of a foot must be "oro"! The meanings are "oro"=gold, "plata"=silver and "mata"=death. Thus, as you climb up or down, you count each step with "oro plata mata" and keep repeating that if there are more than 3 steps. The superstition is that the counting should end in "oro" meaning gold, meaning prosperity. Your stairs can end up a "plata" (silver=acceptable success) but should never ever end in "mata". Got the drift?

So technically, your stairs should never be divisible by three otherwise one always has to end in "mata" and they'd think your house teems with bad luck. I even know of architect and engineers my age who say that the steps should always be "divided by three plus 1" - that means 4, 7, 10, 13, 16 and so on! Now back to Aguinaldo's stairs... there are 18! Exactly a "mata"! Golly! But then again, maybe in those days they also counted the level at which you stand - before you make that first step up or down. If so, then that makes sense for Aguinaldo's house meaning the ground at which you stand before the first step up is already "oro" and conversely the floor at the second level is already "oro" and you first step down is "plata".

Hay naku, am not even sure why this "oro plata puta" thingy came to be! Oops sorry, I meant "oro plata mata" hehehe! Peace! Let's go upstairs...

The wooden floor is not surprising, since I have seen a lot of likenesses in many a house in this country. But for those who particularly grew up in the metropolis, you might want to direct your attention on this part of the house. Of course, as usual, the planks are made of wide hard wood that has a dark shiny brown color. And you would probably remember too on how these are kept so shiny – via the old and reliable combination of a “bunot”(coconut husk) and a "basahan"(rag)! Oh yes, they still do that in many wooden houses in the provinces.

Veering left from the stairrs, I was shown the rooms of Aguinaldo’s three daughters. Normal old house furnishings and fixtures. But my interest was caught by a door-like panel by the hallway windows leading towards those rooms. The tour guide opened it and she explained that it was a medicine cabinet. Whoa! Huge! There are still little medicine bottles and paraphernalia of yesteryears if only to recreate what it was. Sarah tells me that Aguinaldo used to call this hallway as the “Galeria de los Pecadores” or Hall of the Sinners! I was struck and initially thought that Aguinaldo’s daughters were sinners hehe! But as explained to me by Sarah, this is where most of the subversive plans for the revolution were hatched and plotted out (away from the sala and away from public view as the bedrooms are what faces the street. Oh well…

Moving away from these rooms, passing by the stairs where we came up from (so this is now to the right upon reaching top of the stairs), first to be shown was the sliding door that leads to another flight of stairs going up. I can see from it that there was even another flight of stairs going further up – but let’s go back to that a bit later. Just across this door sliding door is a seemingly simple and unpretentious cabinet/bookcase. But if you actually pulled the whole thing, it opens as a door to let you pass to the little balcony of his bedroom. Guide says the general used this passageway if he wanted to go to his bedroom not wanting to be seen by or not wanting to disturb the people at the spacious living room area. Clever!

Passing by a part of the living room, we headed left to his bedroom. Spacious bedroom! His bed is still there complete with canopy and curtains. The tiled bathroom is also quite spacious where you feel an eeriness while going around. The fixtures are reminiscent of the olden days but I think those tiles and faucets and showers and tub may have come during the early to middle 1900s or even the recent past, I just think so hehe. Were there decorated tiles during 1800s? Anyway, let’s note that the general actually lived here until his death in 1964. Am not sure if the mirrors in that bathroom are original and in their original positions but I must tell you that I find it amusing. They’re big and wide enough framed in hardwood. I think Sarah told me it was mahogany. Or probably narra. Anyway again, if you were standing by the wash basin, you’d be in front of three big mirrors – one just above your head, one to your left and one to your right. These two side mirrors seem to indicate the height of the user – they are too low I can’t see my head and am only 6’0”! As you stand there facing the mirrors, the “antique toilet bowl is to your left that sits beside a bidet. Across them and to your right is the bath area.

Let’s go back out! If you stand by the door of this “comfort room” with your back to it, the bed is to your left and you should notice a big wooden cabinet by the wall right in front of you. Opening it you’ll find that it can be a walk-in closet but there is a window as big and in the same make as the other windows in this house. Sarah says, that was one escape route if and when needed. Now you are still standing by the toilet’s door and to your right near a window is another smaller door that you might actually think to be another cabinet. Opening it reveals nothing but a small hallway (about 2 meters by 3 or 4 meters) with a window. It will be easy to imagine that this place is an alternate viewing area if the resident wanted to just hang around and look at the back of his house. BUT the wooden floor can be lifted! And it reveals a ladder that goes straight down to Aguinaldo’s swimming pool. Yep, he had one! If he were alive today, am almost sure he would have it fitted with a slide instead of a slanting permanently fixed ladder! Oh, that pool is not big. Its not even tiled. Its just a concrete outsized bat tub about 3 X 8 meters and probably 2 to 3 meters deep. Yep, you guessed it, its indoor and part of the house ground floor actually just divided by a wall from the bowling lanes!

Out of his big big bedroom, we see another aparador-like door just before we emerge into the sala. Ah, that’s a connecting door to the kitchen and dining areas – which we’ll see later. We’re back at the living room area fitted with antique furniture – most of which were originally here and in use by the general and his family. Though they’re just there sitting idle, almost all of these furniture are cordoned off probably so that our tourist hands don’t accidentally break them. Now let’s pretend we are the general emerging from his bedroom. The big living room area spells affluence. This must have been a venue of many a ballroom dances and/or lavish parties. It’s spacious and can probably fit a party for a hundred folks! Oh to the right is where the sliding door is, and on top of that is some kind of a mezzanine or study properly fitted with chairs and table. It is like an alcove or internal balcony that was a library. But I could imagine this place must have been the area where musicians and/or the orchestra were asked to play during parties. It centrally looks over the whole ballroom area and might have been a fitting area if the man of the house was to announce something to his guests.

Further up from this mezzanine is another flight of stairs to the level where the room of one of his son’s is. Yet another flight of stairs goes further to a next level where the other son’s room was located. Sarah say’s, this later became the tower room of the general. Another set of narrow steps (ladder) leads to the topmost level which is a viewing tower and was his favorite area as it has a nice view of the fields in front of it and even the manila bay during his time. Those are all not open to the common tourists as the old wood material might collapse. So, let us go back to the big ballroom area. Of course, there is the famous balcony, terrace or azotea n front of the street. Also closed during my visit and Sarah says it is only opened and used during ceremonies like Independence Day. But notice that this was not so during Emilio Aguinaldo’s time. This was just a window like all the other windows beside it during that historic declaration of independence. The balcony was only added in the most recent past.

Alright, if the eastern side of the house is the alcove and some windows, the northern side is the famous balcony and some windows… the western side is lined with some kind of a gathering area or a conference hall if we might call that today! It is adjoined going to the back of the house with the big and very spacious dining area. This must have been the heart of lavish parties or meetings during Aguinaldo’s time. Oh, I noticed the top of the windows are designed with arch formations where the center are paintings of people – probably his children. Am not sure if those are originals. And the ceiling has a relief map of the Philippines which Sarah says was made with some kind of a clay or plaster. Its like a small version of the map that you see in Luneta but it is just weirdly stuck above your head and I am sure its not easy looking at them! My neck would go stiff if I look any further hehe! And I do hope the material used to make that map did not chip off anytime ago to land on soups and other dishes on the table hehehe!

By the way, almost everywhere in the house are wooden adornments that are actually receptacles that can be retracted to become little shelves for flower pots or other things. When not in use, they’re just like beautiful designs to compliment the tastefulness of the house interiors.

Past the big dining area is an adjoining smaller dining area – probably where the family ate when all were present. The rectangular table – normal in size that a middle class family of 8 would have today – looks heavy and solid hardwood. But excitingly, Sarah tells me that you can actually tip that table so that you can hop into the base which is actually a passageway that connects to the tunnel (that we have earlier seen on ground floor).

This area is already away from the ballroom and has a hallway that leads to the back of the house. The hallway is lined with a continuous long wooden bench where Sarah says was the resting and waiting area of the soldiers and/or the workers associated with Aguinaldo. Then she lifted the very long panel of wood that served as the backrest of this long bench. She told me it was not nailed to the wall on purpose and revealed that it actually was a hiding place for rifles and other implements. Clever! This long bench is broken only by a door on the left – which is actually where you would emerge if you passed through that cabinet-like door at Aguinaldo’s room! The kitchen to the right also has an even smaller dining table. Then out a flight of concrete stairs leads to the back of the house where the general’s outsized marble tomb sits alone on the backyard!

Back on ground level after exiting the tour-of-the-house, you’ll notice that just below the rooms of Aguinaldo’s daughters is actually some kind of an office where the only active human activity can be seen in this whole compound. Ah, that is where the NHI holds their offices and sells souvenirs related to or about this place, the revolution, the country’s history and Emilio Aguinaldo himself. This is where Sarah said goodbye to me and was shown the exit but with a reminder that I can still of course go to the other side of the big loan to view Aguinaldo’s car – which I did, if only to comply hehe! Next I grabbed my bag and spilled out of this big historical place all of 1,324 sq. m. floor area with a five-story tower and ground area of 4,864 square meters so I can visit the park!

The Park
Officially called the “Liwasang Aguinaldo”, this is a wide expanse of concrete nothingness made to commemorate the centennial celebration of the country’s independence. This is that area I mentioned earlier that was home to a lot of shanties that sold from anything to everything. When I say “nothingness” it is because there is nothing else to do in this place except to view glimpses of our historical past – as compared to other parks where you can picnic amidst trees or flowery plants and sometimes even animals and the like. But it does afford you a better front perspective of the Aguinaldo house and learn more. On entering this park, I was particularly amused at that monument of Aguinaldo riding a horse. Its big alright, but it stands on an even bigger rectangular mass of black marble that I had to feel pain in my neck just trying to look at details of how that monument was crafted (his likeness and horse’s likeness, that is!)

Now there are black marble walls that recreate the written manifesto on the signing/declaration of our independence in 1898. What amazed me was not what they wrote but how these walls were made. Whoever the craftsman or craftsmen that made this, I salute him/them. The writing of the document including the signatures of the signatories were literally copied and magnified (probably a hundred times or more) then etched/carved on these black marble walls. I’d say, this is perhaps the only good way that a plagiarist or forger can offer the world. My goodness the laborious hours that must have been accorded to making these bif slabs of marble! I can only imagine if he/they made a mistake hehe… how would you erase it? Great artistry and I think these walls should be considered a crafty work of art even without mentioning the meaning of what has been written. And that is why the walls (plural) because they had to recreate the document into different languages. Oh tourism! Still I salute the hands (not necessarily the brains) that made these possible

The other thing that amazed me is/was the way our forebears spelled their written Filipino language. Kind of cute – and actually harder to discern for those of us still alive! Just try reading what Emilio Aguinaldo had to say in his 1897 message to the people (also etched on the black marble where his monument stands on). I got a bit dizzy reading them hehe. Their writing at that time must have been heavily influenced by the Spanish language – what with 300 years of colonization! The “k” is usually interchanged or substituted by a “c”; the “h” would usually be written as a “j”; the “w” was either a “ao” or a “ua” and so on! Very interesting to read some of the words and/or phrases like “cayo”, “natatanauan”, “bagai”, “maqui pag sugal”, “sa uikang mahalay” ,“inño” (notice the 2nd “n” is actually an “enye”), “lalaqui’t babae” and so many others! Ayayay! Ituiguil co na dapat ito at ating uakasa dahil uhao na aco hehehe! Let’s move on!

The Church
Curious at the distance of the St. Mary Magdalene Church from Aguinaldo’s house (which means the distance of the tunnel between the two structures), I opted to walk to the church and see how far it will be as far as my legs would feel. Of course I perspired in the afternoon sun and had to guzzle up a bottle of cold water along the way. There was a time I saw some phone company crew digging a part of the road and I thought, “wouldn’t they accidentally dig into that tunnel?”. And many other things crossed my imagination… “doesn’t that tunnel fill wit water”, isn’t is infested with rats and insects and other creepy creatures like snakes, etc”, “do caretakers actually still maintain that underground path”? Ah, I have questions but to date, I don’t seem to want to hear an answer hehehe!

Anyway, the church is regular (meaning from “big” to “enormous”) like many of the churches all around this country. It is also made of stone and concrete apparently not anymore the original materials from the 1600s but still also already old. I like the dominantly red-brick color. It faces northwards with its back (back of the altar) right inches by the side of the national road. The big frontage has recently been generously paved (perhaps via a wealthy donor) so that the churchyard is too hot under the afternoon sun. Hey, this church is fitted with at least one wide flat screen television – am not sure if there are more but I seem to remember only one! The chandeliers are simple and elegant enough but I ogled more time marveling at the ceiling. Wood, yes its made of wood and if that is a fake then I did not notice it. Impressive! I was just trying to roam a bit more but was cut short and immediately sneaked out to the side of the school when I heard a hearse with a lot of wailing and crying people entered. Gosh!

Outside, I walked back to the “back-of-the-altar” which is the national road so I can probably get my mini-bus ride back to Cavite City. Actaully, I was also toying at the idea of taking them buses all the way back to Las Pinas or even Taft Avenue as many of them were passing in front of me going both ways. Oh, there are big and air-conditioned “real” buses here too. I saw the names “Saulog transit” and “Saint Anthony” on them. One bus even had a sign that it was boud for Olongapo City. Wow! I didn’t know there were buses plying that route directly! As I circled the back-of-the-church, I happened to have brushed my hip on a kilometer marker (because the road here is so narrow, you’ll have to watch out and avoid being swept by vehicles). It said “KM 23” and “K 0” . Does that mean this very spot is 23 kilometers from Rizal’s monument in Luneta (meaning a “national” kilometer marker) or does it mean this spot is 23 kms from the provincial capitol which is in Trece Martires (meaning a provincial kilometer marker)? Hmm, I got a bit of wondering there. Golly, when I checked google maps as I write this, the distance to both places would be about the same! So I guess this is just 23 kms from Luneta. One thing is for sure though, this very point on earth is K 0 (kilometer zero) of Kawit Cavite – and that means if you want to count from Kawit, start counting from this marker.

Lastly, a few steps away from this point, just across the little street on the side of the church is the smallest (but not ugliest) city or town hall I have ever seen in this entire country. My badness! It is even tinier than most of the Barangay halls I have seen in Ilocos, the Visayas and Metro Manila! But I don’t really care. Maliit man ang gusali, kung mapagsilbi at matapat naman ang mga kawani, I will love this Municipal Hall! Yey! Go Kawit! Is there anything else I should see in this town?

Oh, I finally decided I’d just go back to Cavite City and catch my boat ride back to SM MOA!

I’ll be back to discover other things Cavite… Promise!