AGUINALDO'S 150TH BIRTH ANNIVERSARY. Guest of Honor and speaker Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles (center) is joined by National Historical Commission of the Philippines chairperson Rene R. Escalante (left) during the wreath-laying ceremony of the 150th birth anniversary of General Emilio Aguinaldo at the Aguinaldo Shrine, Kawit, Cavite on March 22. (PNA photo by Gladys S. Pino)
KAWIT, Cavite -- It was all bright and sunny and it was not just about the weather.
The festive mood all around seemed unending as people from all ages and various locations flocked to the historic Aguinaldo Shrine here Friday to partake in a milestone event -- the 150th birth anniversary celebration of revolutionary and first president of the Republic, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo.
Led by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), the event began with a flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles, who graced the event as guest of honor and speaker, led the attendees from the national, regional, provincial and local government agencies, members of the Aguinaldo clan, Independent Freemasons of the Philippines, diplomatic community and non-government organizations.
During his speech, Nograles advised the public not only to remember Aguinaldo for his heroism and contributions to the Filipino people but more for his word of advice that the country cannot attain freedom if Filipinos do not move forward as one nation.
Nograles likened the struggles Aguinaldo went through to what President Rodrigo Duterte has to face on a day-to-day basis.
He said a true leader will never ever think of anything else but the people’s welfare and preventing bloodshed.
Nograles received the Aguinaldo @ 150 commemorative coin and stamp from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno and Philippine Postal Corp. chairman, Norman Fulgencio.
Attendees included Cavite Vice Governor Ramon Jolo Revilla III, Cavite 1st District Rep. Francis Gerald A. Abaya, Kawit Mayor Angelo Emilio Aguinaldo, Bacoor City Mayor Lani Mercado Revilla, Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office head Rozelle Sangalang, Cavite Police Director Col. William Mongas Segun, and former prime minister Cesar Virata.
'Momoland' generation doing the 'karakol'
The celebration continued with the "karakol" (religious dance procession) competition, where elementary schoolchildren from the town’s various public schools outdid each other with their choreography and colorful costumes in honor of St. Mary Magdalene.
Karakol is an original dance of prayer for Sta. Maria Magdalena, patron of the Revolution and Kawit parish church.
The religious dance procession is the devotees’ way of petitioning a request. It is a practice in the cities of Imus, Bacoor, and General Trias and the towns of Rosario and Noveleta, which used to be under the parish of St. Mary Magdalene.
The Gahak Elementary School emerged as the winner in the contest, taking home the PHP10,000 cash and an Aguinaldo bust.
'Bayanihan' at Kawit grounds
The world-renowned Bayanihan, the national folk dance company, was among the featured artists in the evening festivities, dubbed as “Sa Iyong Pagwagayway: A Celebration of History and Culture.”
The provincial government of Cavite, through its Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office (PTCAO), in partnership with the local government here and the NHCP, also featured Kawit’s pride – the Kawit Singing Ambassadors, joined by the Campus Medley, and Dr. Madonna Amora for a three-hour showcase capped with a seven-minute fireworks display.
Born on March 22, 1869, Aguinaldo became president at the age of 29. His presidential proclamation of the Philippine Independence in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898 paved the way for the birth of the Philippine Republic on Jan. 23, 1899.
Malacañang has declared March 22, 2019 as a special non-working holiday in Cavite province to commemorate Aguinaldo's birthday under Proclamation 694, which was signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, by authority of President Rodrigo Duterte on March 12. (PNA)