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Heritage and urbanization, how an icon stood the test of time





The iconic Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite
(Photo courtesy of Museo ni Emilio Aguinaldo


by Gladys Pino
September 28, 2019
 
KAWIT, Cavite - The province of Cavite, with its plethora of historical sites (not to mention events), is being transformed as an investment hub in the greater capital region. With this changing landscape, how will history play in the backdrop of modernization and industrialization?

In celebration of Museums and Galleries Month this October, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), through its Museo ni Emilio Aguinaldo (MEA), has mounted the exhibit "Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine: Identity on Shifting Landscape" from October 5 to November 22 to present the rich historical and cultural face of the iconic Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine amid recent developments and the influx of migration.

Cluster head of NHCP-Cavite and MEA curator Haidee Paulette Bedruz said Thursday that the theme came about as the construction of new establishments and the imminent completion of a business site offer a new face for the town.
"It gives people new things to see and visit in Kawit, unlike in the past where(in) visiting Kawit means visiting the Aguinaldo Shrine," she said.

The NHCP has brought this concept to revisit the role the Aguinaldo Shrine played in the town's historical, cultural, and tourism dynamics.

By creating awareness of the significance of built heritage in perpetuating the ideals of the 1896 Revolution and the Proclamation of Independence in 1898 as relevant to the people in the present, Bedruz expressed hope that this would empower Kawiteños to see the value of the Aguinaldo Shrine, "amidst their current progress and continue to associate themselves in the identity of the house."

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"As presented in its narratives, it will show how the Aguinaldo Shrine has been part of the larger community of Kawit, allowing it to remain a part of our national history yet relevant to the local perspective of the people," she said.

In recent years, cultural mapping engaged the community and saw the significance of other heritage sites, such as the Irasan, Pandayan, and the St. Mary Magdalene Church.

In the past, these sites were visited not for tourism but for their actual purposes. Today, they are part of a bigger cultural and historical narrative of the town.

The Museum and Galleries Month is observed every October by virtue of Presidential Proclamation 798 series of 1991. This year's celebration theme is "Building the Nation, One Exhibit at a Time".

The exhibit also forms part of “Project Bayani: Curating South Luzon”, a simultaneous exhibit among members of the Southern Luzon Association of Museums. The project attempts to promote a museum route by creating a unifying exhibit to capture in a single theme the thrusts of each participating museum.

The MEA is one of the three NHCP-run museums in Cavite, along with Museo ni Baldomero ni Aguinaldo (MBA, also located in Kawit town), and the Museo ng Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio (Bonifacio Trial House) in Cavite's Maragondon.

The museum, located at the ground floor of the iconic Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine in Kaingen village here, is open from 8 a.m. to 4.p.m. on Tuesdays to Sundays. (PNA)

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