Publisher's Note

  • Publisher’s Note

    by CK This morning when I woke up, I noticed that some leaves in our tree in the backyard are starting to turn yellow and I told myself, what an early sign.  For sure we have our nice days numbered as Fall is soon approaching.  I love the color of Fall because it feels so refreshing [...]

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Page added on September 20, 2011

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A GLIMPSE OF CAVITE TODAY


by El Caviteno

(Editor’s Note: El Caviteno is a member of The Cavite Association of Calgary)

____________________________________

Inspired by Bayani Hintay’s “Cavite”, this article aims to bring awareness to all young Cavitenos in North America of the rich heritage, natural beauty, and abundant resources of the province of Cavite, including the concomitant evils of progress that the province now faces.

One of the most historic provinces of the Philippines is Cavite. It is a province very rich in natural resources, a very beautiful and peaceful land, but most of all, it is our HOME.

Sitting along the shore off the main island of Luzon, Philippines, Cavite luxuriates before the breathtaking view of the sun setting in the horizon beyond the South Pacific Ocean. Just before the evening strikes, one can admire the scene of the sun slipping into the deep blue sea, its yellow orange rays reflecting off the water like wild fire that has ignited life to everything in its path. As this spirit touches the sandy beaches, its inhabitants will go down with the sun and sleep. With the new morning’s sunrise, they will awaken again only to give life to the rice fields, trees, and animals in the interior towns and valleys of this province.

By geography, Cavite lies within the confines of mountain ranges that protect its home and people from the ravages of storms. Hook-like in appearance, this geographical quirk of nature lent itself to the origin of the name Kabite, a derivation from the Tagalog translation of hook which is Kawit.

A few minutes drive from Metro Manila to the south, Cavite belongs to the southern Tagalog region of the Philippines. Tagalog is the predominant tongue of the province, although Chabacano – a coarse adaptation of the Spanish language – is widely spoken in Ternate and Cavite City.

Approaching the border of Rizal and Cavite, one remembers Cavite’s courageous history. The Battle of Zapote occurred at this border town, where hundreds of Cavitenos died in a bitter fight against the mighty colonial forces of Spain. History then repeated itself when the Americans, after securing the surrender of Spain, engaged in a fierce battle with the Filipinos – most of whom were Cavitenos – at this same border town.

Zapote is the gateway to the town of Bacoor, famous for its delicious talaba, tahong, clams and crabs. Along Aguinaldo Highway, one will find a hodgepodge of automotive shops, hardware stores, restaurants, banks and supermarkets.

Kawit is the next town after Bacoor. At Kawit, the first Philippine Republic was formally proclaimed on June 12, 1898 at the veranda of Emilio Aguinaldo’s mansion. It was also on this occasion that the Philippine flag was first unfurled as the Philippine national anthem was being played by the San Francisco de Malabon band.

After Kawit is Noveleta, historically significant for its Bridge of Calero uprising – the first known armed revolt of the Filipinos against Spain. Today, Noveleta is famous for its sweet corns, mangoes, salt farms, fish farms, and beaches. Its Lido and Villamar beaches are well known all over Cavite.

From Noveleta, one can either go north to Cavite City or west to the town of Rosario.

Cavite City is known in the past, and probably until now, as the site of the United States Sangley Point Naval Base. After the Americans had abandoned the base in the early eighties, the Philippine Navy declared the place its home port. Today, it is one of the major employers in the province, employing almost twice as many people as those who used to work for the old U.S. Navy base before.

Heading west from Noveleta, one will find Rosario, formerly known as Salinas – famous for its delicious Tinapang Salinas. Rosario is the home of CEPZ (Cavite Export Processing Zone) industries. The Philippine government’s tax-free incentives attracted over a hundred foreign corporations which chose Rosario as the site of their manufacturing and assembly plants. The massive employment opportunities in Rosario bring about a huge demand for housing, rental accommodations, banking, restaurants, recreation facilities, and numerous service-related industries.

Tejero, one of the seven barangays of Rosario, is in the history book because it was the seat of the Revolutionary Assembly during the historic Tejeros Convention. This convention was significant in that it replaced the Katipunan with the revolutionary government of Emilio Aguinaldo.

Tanza, the next town, is the birth place of Felipe Calderon, author of the Malolos Constitution. Tanza is known for its almost virgin beaches, rivers, and farms that feed most of the people of Cavite. Capipisa, one of the barangays of Tanza, is the home of Lino Bocalan.

Past Tanza, one will find the beautiful town of Naic. This town is known for its fishing and farming industries.

The neighboring Ternate probably has the best beaches of all the towns in Cavite. It has the best forest in the country as well.  Because of the abundance of bamboos in this town, some historians call it the bamboo capital of the world.

Ternate’s best known beach resort is Puerto Azul. Many foreign tourists and balikbayans can not resist the temptation of going to Puerto Azul when they visit Cavite and want something memorable from their vacation.  Ternate boasts of fine accommodations such as the five-star Royal Ternate where guests attending conferences and conventions and rich, influential politicos congregate to enjoy the best in life there is.

A visit to Cavite will be incomplete without experiencing the breathtaking landscape of Tagaytay City. Located on top of a mountain ridge 2200 feet above sea level, Tagaytay City offers a serene atmosphere where everything seems to be in a standstill. The experience is similar to being on top of a mountain, or say on top of the Calgary Tower, where everything is visible at 360 degrees. From the ridge, one can see the beauty and splendor of the Taal Volcano, the breathtaking Taal Lake and the awe-inspiring Mount Makulot. Halfway to the south, there is the vast farmland of Alfonso, General Aguinaldo-Bailen, Amadeo, Mendez, and Magallanes.  It is as if the air coming from the lowlands has been purified in the vast tropical forest before it reaches the ridge, providing an almost magical tonic for the soul and mind of the revellers. Occasionally, a whiff of breeze will ascend and brings with it the aroma of coffee and flowers of the most delicious fruits and vegetables in the world.

While this is happening, one can zoom his camera to the west to uncover the historical events that happened at the island garrison of Corregidor, the symbol of Filipino gallantry. It was here that Filipino and American soldiers died side by side while defending the island fortress from the invading Japanese forces.

To the south, one will see the valleys of the towns of Silang, Indang, and Maragondon. From the ridge’s vantage point, one can almost witness the paradise-like setting of farms and plains and valleys interspersed with waterfalls and swamps and rivers and forests below an almost touchable blue sky. There are the mango trees whose branches are hanging low to the weight of their fruits; not far away are the caymitos, guyabanos, santol, lukban, langka, duhat, camatsili, and cashew trees.  From the farthest distance, one can visualize the verdant thick forest of bananas, clustered among each other like devotees praying together in a pilgrimage site. Along the flatlands is a perfect pattern of rows upon rows of tall coconut trees giving scant shadows to the papayas and pineapples growing abundantly under their wings. At the foot of a hill is a picture-perfect view of a nipa hut surrounded by a vegetation of peanuts, singkamas, eggplants, cassavas, string beans, bitter melons, purple yams and endless variety of fruits and vegetables. To the east where the thick rain forest seems to be basking under the scorching sun, one can find the ageless yakal, apitong, acacia, ipil-ipil and many more. And at the parang, wild trees of guava, mabolo, siniguelas, makopa and sampaloc sway gently with the afternoon breeze.

But while contemplating these rich resources, one should not forget to take a glimpse of the undulating rivers around these towns which are teeming with martiniko, dalag, hito and kuhol hiding underneath the wild water lilies and fragrant camias.

Then, finally, at the end of this Cavite journey, one should travel north to the towns of Dasmarinas, Carmona, Gen Alvarez and Imus – the industrial heartland of Cavite – if only to appreciate the importance of these towns as the lifeline of the people of Cavite.

This is how we see Cavite today – a beautiful memory of what it was in the past.  Cavite is not any more the paradise that our forefathers had handed down to us many generations ago. It was more like a mansion in ruins, crumbling and disintegrating due to neglect and abuse heaped upon it by the people who inhabit it.

Our tropical forests are disappearing. Our rich rivers are dying.  The parangs are all gone. All the blessed gifts that God had given us are now like stinking garbage in a dump.

Vanished are all the birds that are instrumental in spreading all the seeds of those fruit bearing trees. Thanks to the chemicals that we used in our homes and factories, our pugo birds, hito, dalag, palak, kuhol, and suso which once upon a time were bursting in our rivers are now on the verge of extinction. Meanwhile, the onslaught of people building new housing subdivisions, roads, golf courses, and industrial and commercial complexes continues at an alarming pace in Cavite. Our politicos and capitalists call this progress.  But what a dear price we are paying!

We, Cavitenos, are known for our courage and ingenuity to solve our problems head on. Faced with the most difficult fight in our generation – indeed, more difficult than the battles we had waged against the Spaniards, the Americans, and the Japanese – we should band ourselves together and forget our personal interests for the good of all Cavitenos. Understanding that our number one enemy is none other than ourselves, we should learn how to care for the bounties that Nature has generously endowed upon us. We should make it our inherent responsibility to protect and conserve these resources for the sake of many generations of Cavitenos to come, Cavitenos who may never ever get a chance to see and appreciate this province-paradise we call Cavite.









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