A PEEK AT SOME CAVITE ATTRACTIONS
BY EDWIN ALLAN DIAZ
FROM OPEN SPACES THAT RESEMBLE EDEN TO HISTORICAL PLACES WHERE EVENTS THAT HELPED SHAPE THE NATION TOOK PLACE, CAVITE PROVINCE HAS SO MUCH TO OFFER FOR EVERY TRAVELER.
Cavite’s name evolved from the Filipino word kawit which means "hook." Part of the province is shaped like one, particularly the peninsula jutting out into Manila Bay. Figuratively, the province lives up to its being a hook, pulling people in with must-see tourist destinations, sumptuous food, and a rich heritage.
Here are some of the things in Cavite that will keep anyone hooked and looking forward to their next visit.
A rustic bed and breakfast in Alfonso, Cavite, Sonya’s Garden has become a popular wedding and retreat venue. The 1.8-hectare garden is filled with endemic trees and plants, where the restaurant, bakery, bed & breakfast, apothecary, and spa grow and source their ingredients. Customizable staycation and workation packages are available, with activities like firefly watching, basic gardening, greenhouse tours, and a three-day organic farming/ bed & breakfast masterclass.
NHCP MUSEO NI EMILIO AGUINALDO
Philippine independence was declared here, the ancestral home of the first Philippine president, Emilio Aguinaldo. The first floor shows his revolutionary paraphernalia and the bomb shelter that he was said to have used to pray at St. Mary Magdalene Church. There are multiple secret passages on the second floor, where the bedrooms, veteran’s hall, dining rooms, kitchen, and balcony are located. Aguinaldo donated the house to the national government in 1963, one year before his death. It was declared a national shrine by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) the following year. His tomb can be found in the backyard.
This family-run cafe in Silang, Cavite, is known for unique takes on a number of dishes, like ube latte, bolognese chicken fingers, beef tapa flakes, and the best-selling twice-cooked adobo (adobo that is braised then fried). Originally an events place that sold cakes and pastries, Cafe Agapita was named after the Baranda family’s Lola Pitang. It is their late grandmother’s warmth and love that the owners want to impart to all visitors through their sumptuous food and superb service.
ASIONG’S CAVITEÑO RESTAURANT
Another icon in Silang, Asiong’s Caviteño Restaurant has been serving authentic Caviteño food, using only ingredients from Cavite since 1960. Its signature dish, the original pancit pusit, is guaranteed to make every smile truly infectious. Their laing and adobong pula are other musts, going well well with their Caviteño cheesecake and sapin-sapin.
There’s nothing quite like buffalo milk. At GenTri’s Best in General Trias, Cavite, it’s in all of the cooperative’s fresh milk products, which come in chocolate, strawberry, ube, pandan, and melon flavors. They also have pastillas, ice candy, white cheese, mozzarella cheese, and yogurt. Licensed food technology professionals handle production to ensure their products are unadulterated and safe to consume.
An iconic tourist attraction in Tagaytay City, Picnic Grove offers a stunning view of Taal Volcano and Taal Lake. These can be best viewed through the place’s Ferris wheel or suspended cable car, or the two ziplines for the adventurous at heart. Visitors can rent tables and cottages, with cook and grill provisions. Those eager to take memorable photos and videos could do so on horseback or at the eco-trail, with nothing but beautiful trees in the background.
EMV FLOWER FARM
The go-to place for blooms in Indang, Cavite, EMV Flower Farm grows 10 varieties of Malaysian chrysanthemums and sunflowers, using state-of-the-art Israeli drip irrigation in two large greenhouses. Flower arrangements can be taken care of by Estrella’s House of Flowers, whether it’s a bouquet or a wedding arch. Visitors could stay at EMV Villa, which has four Bali-inspired villas, a swimming pool, and an events venue. The flower farm is also perfect for family gatherings and small events, which could be held at the pavilions to the tune of exotic birds’ songs and the rustling of leaves.
Silang, Cavite’s home for Filipino arts, culture, and heritage, Shambala was inspired by James Redfield’s book, “The Secret of Shambala.” The museum’s name is also a play on “Siya’ng bahala, Siya nawa.” The Tawid Living Museum and Gallery showcases interesting indigenous items and artwork from Ifugao, Mountain Province, Antique, and Bukidnon. After visiting the museum, visitors may spend the night in a traditional Ifugao hut, walk on the meditation path, and enjoy authentic Filipino food at the restaurant.
BALSA MARAGONDON RIVER CRUISE
Balsa River Cruise offers adventurers the chance to travel downstream on one of the largest river basins in Maragondon, Cavite. This experience is sure to let tourists realize where the name Maragondon came from— the dagundong (rumbling sound) of the cascading water of the river on whose banks the first Malay and Indonesian settlers of the region established their community. Lunch may also be eaten aboard the boat.
A native products enterprise that sells hand-knotted textiles and bamboo products, Likhang Maragondon preserves Maragondon’s rich heritage. It is immediately evident in its accordion wallets, clutch bags, ponchos, and dresses. Worldclass bamboo products like vase stands, smartphone speakers, and animal-shaped lamps are also available on their website. Paintings, food, and other souvenirs are also up for grabs—that is if they’re not already sold out.
THE CATHEDRAL OF OUR LADY OF THE PILLAR
Imus Cathedral, also known as Our Lady of the Pillar Parish Church, is a Baroque-style church modeled after the Manila Cathedral, which dates back to 1823. It is named after the city’s patron saint, Nuestra Señora del Pilar, who is also the protectress of the whole of Cavite. The image of the Madonna and Child was inspired by the Virgen de Consolacion and was brought to the Philippines from Spain in 1623. Initially, it was kept at the Church of San Nicolas de Tolentino in Intramuros before being transferred to Imus by Recollect friars in 1694.
MUSEO DE LA SALLE
Visitors could step into the past and experience the grandeur of the 19th-century bahay na bato at Museo De La Salle inside the De La Salle University Dasmariñas campus. This lifestyle museum takes visitors on an immersive journey through history, showcasing the beauty and elegance of a bygone era of the Ilustrados. Antiques from the period show how opulent life was for the enlightened ones, with family heirlooms, decorative objects, fine and applied arts, and religious statues displayed in faithfully recreated rooms. Museum-goers are sure to be transported to a different time and place!
A collaboration between Indang, Cavite’s tailors, weavers, and other artisans, YNDAN is a "slow fashion" brand that creates vibrant hand-loomed clothing. Using an intricate pedaldriven system and locally sourced polyester thread, it takes YNDAN weavers three to seven days to create specially designed items for men, women, and children. Handloom weaving has been the town’s main source of income for generations, the epitome of “slow fashion.”