Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Cavite Food and Heritage Tour with Transitions Optical: A Closer Look At The Filipino Experience In The Best Light

Retracing the roots of the revolution and the site of the birth of the new republic leads to Cavite, less than an hour's drive from the metro. And seeing the historical sites up close adds a whole new and personal perspective to history, and appreciating the Filipino experience in a new light.  

Noted food writer, book designer and magazine editor, Guillermo "Ige" Ramos; and event host, speaker and entrepreneur, RJ Ledesma, in collaboration with Transitions Lenses, led our full day expedition with the Cavite Food and Heritage Tour with Transitions Optical for a closer look at the Filipino experience. And seeing it all in the best light with Transitions Lenses made it even more special.

The Cavite Food and Heritage Tour with Transitions Optical was a complete and total sensory experience, with stops at culinary destinations for a taste of local and regional flavors (for more on the flavors of Cavite, see my previous posts, A Rebel Breakfast at Malen'sCavite's Best with Ka Julia's Kakanin, and Tanza's Calle Real and The Pink Table). It's an experience that engages the senses, linking one with the past at each stop, making it real and relevant. But of all the five senses, the sense of sight is the predominant one as we perceive 80% of all impressions through our eyes. The other four senses are heightened and engaged with the sense of sight, and absolute visual clarity and protection from UV rays and excessive glare are vital elements in immersing yourself totally with the experience. Transitions Lenses are a key lifestyle essential, automatically adjusting to ever-changing light conditions, protecting our eyes both indoor and out. And when it comes to prescription lenses, all you need is one pair for all your adventures, indoors and outdoors, day and night.

Indoors, Transcription Lenses change automatically, perfectly adapting to the light conditions. It's chameleon-like qualities allow you to see life in the best light, in all light conditions. Transition Lenses blocks 100% of UV rays, effectively reducing glare, eye fatigue, and strain. It adapts automatically to the perfect shade, allowing you to see with just the right amount of light. This means all you need is one pair of prescription Transitions Lenses for all your indoor and outdoor activities, making it ideal for travel. I experienced the versatility of Transitions Lenses throughout the tour, in all the stops both indoors and out, to see #LifeInTheBestLight with the Cavite Food and Heritage Tour with Transitions Lenses.

Bright sunny days are normal days in Cavite, and my Transitions Lenses adapted with the right shade even behind the windows of our bus. On one stop, we visited one of Cavite's historic churches, Our Lady of the Assumtion Parish Church, commonly known as the Maragondon Church. The church was built in 1714 and declared by the National Museum as a National Cultural Treasure, and to this day is lovingly preserved by the town's faithful devotees.

The ornately carved centuries old wooden doors (L) greet faithful churchgoers at the entrance, with each panel intricately carved in detail. On the right panel (R), the province's connection with the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade is represented with a carving featuring the iconic galleon in full sail venturing across the wide Pacific.

And it's no surprise, since most of the wood used in building the fleet of galleons were sourced from the province of Maragondon with its coastal area's proximity to Manila Bay. Inside, the long aisle leads you to the elegant Retablo Mayor, with its intricate details slowly revealed as you come closer.

Religion has become one of the cultural linkages with Spain, bound together with a common faith that continues to this day. And religion runs deep in every fabric and layer of Philippine society.

Repairs and constant renovations are regularly done by the locals, funded both by the church and donations from the town. That day, one of the Maragondon Church's many religious statues was brought out to be cleaned.

From Maragondon, Guillermo "Ige" Ramos and RJ Ledesma led us to Kawit for a stop at the Museo ni Emilio Aguinaldo, the ancestral home of one of Cavite's proud sons and prominent historical figures. It was on this site where independence from Spain was declared back in June 12, 1898, now a national museum.

The expansive property features a sprawling garden bordered by a tranquil fish pond, where visitors can find the marble tomb of the country's first president, Emilio Aguinaldo.

In the sprawling gardens of the ancestral property, one can find a massive Kawa (L) transformed into a unique garden ornament, from one of the family's many businesses during the colonial period which included the production of panutsa. Inside the elegant ancestral home, the family's wealth is revealed with an indoor single-lane bowling alley (R).

Construction on the property began in 1845, with the mansion measuring over 1,400 square feet, with most of the prominent features designed by Emilio Aguinaldo himself. Incorporated in the design of the mansion are countless secret passage ways and storage compartments, revealing the cautious, and maybe even paranoid, character of the patriot, a not surprising attitude during the turbulent times of the revolution. The museum guide takes us through the museum's many displays, including the personal artifacts and memorabilia of Cavite's proud son.

Paintings and dioramas document the victorious battles led by General Emilio Aguinaldo, with each successful campaign establishing the faction he led, the Magdalo bloc, as the dominant force in the revolutionary movement. 
The walking tour of the ancestral home includes ascending elegant wooden staircases, as well as classic tiles with ornate designs. The mansion offers a glimpse of life back then, given more meaning by Guillermo "Ige" Ramos' insights and revealing commentary.

The Balcony of Sinners, wittingly named by the General himself, is another prominent feature of the ancestral home as this was where the revolutionaries plotted their military strategies and tactics. The Balcony, with its magnificent views overlooking the property, also served as the family's lounge.

Inside the main mansion, time stops, with period pieces preserved and maintained, allowing you to virtually step back in time. The Grand Hall of the mansion is every bit as grand as it should be, this is where the balcony is located where the historic declaration of independence was proclaimed by the General.

The elegant furniture pieces of the mansion adds to the overall experience of the tour, reliving the days of a bygone era with its old-world charm and elegance. History becomes real, and no longer just a page from an old school textbook. 

One of the distinct features of the ancestral home is the tower, said to be the favorite spot of the General. The tower provides panoramic and unobstructed views of the province, a perfect observation post.

Reaching the tower means navigating a series of narrow steps, but it's all worth it once you reach the top. In fact, it's one of the museum's many features that make it different. It's said that during the second world war, the aerial bombing of Manila by the invading Japanese forces could be seen from the Tower.
And once you reach the top of the tower, absolute clarity. Views of the town can be seen from all four sides, and with Transitions Lenses, the view is definitely clearer. This is #LifeInTheBestLight, with perfect visual clarity in all light conditions.
But no study of the Philippine Revolution is complete without a visit to the Teodorico Reyes Ancestral House (L), also known as the Bonifacio Trial House in Maragondon, Cavite. Built in 1889 and now a museum, the ancestral house is the site of the infamous trial of Andres Bonifacio, founder of the revolutionary movement.

The opposing factions of the revolutionary movement, the Magdiwang faction of Andres Bonifacio and the Magdalo bloc of Emilio Aguinaldo, finally came to a climactic end with the trial of Andres Bonifacio. Many say it was a sham trial, a result of the vicious internal power play within the revolutionary movement. Some say it was the eventual outcome when the paths of two dominant alpha males cross. Internal politics, it seemed, plays a continuous role in history, written by the victors. But a visit to the Bonifacio Trial House offers another perspective on the historic Philippine revolutionary movement...  

Inside, visitors are shown a video presentation on the life of Andres Bonifacio, founder of the revolutionary movement in 1892, advocates of Philippine Independence, the Samahang Kataastaasan, Kagalanggalang Katipunan ng Anak ng Bayan, also known as the Katipunan or the KKK.

The trial of Andres Bonifacio and his brother, Procopio Bonifacio, is recreated with life-sized statues and audio recordings based on actual transcripts. Charged with treason and sedition, the Father of the Philippine Revolution and his brother were executed on May 10, 1897, a dark side of history that remains controversial to this day.

One of the poignant displays at the Bonifacio Trial House is the room displaying a statue of Gregoria de Jesus, the wife of Andres Bonifacio, and her poem for her husband. After her husband's execution, Gregoria "Oriang" de Jesus searched the mountains of Maragondon for the body of Andres Bonifacio for days. Her poem is now memorialized with a song, played at the Bonifacio Trial House.

History's many tragedies temper the successes of the past, giving us a proper perspective to see history from all sides, and #LifeInTheBestLight.

Returning to Kawit, Cavite, Guillermo "Ige" Ramos concludes the full-day Cavite Food and Heritage Tour with Transitions Lenses with another tasty meal with local delicacies...

...including the special hand-kneaded Ensaimada de Cavite from Baloy's Bakeshop...

...and Pat & Sam's local malagkit delicacy, Samala Rice Cakes. The rice-based agrarian economy of colonial times and deep Spanish influences continue to play a role in the culinary heritage of Cavite, preserving one our links with the past.

After another filling meal of local kakanin, ensaimada, and pancit, it was time for the ride home back to the present. Time flies when you immerse yourself completely and breathe in the experience...

...capped by absolute visual clarity with Transitions Lenses. The tour led by Guillermo "Ige" Ramos and RJ Ledesma provides another perspective in our understanding of history and the rich culinary heritage of Cavite, making it real and relevant. It's experiencing history in a new light, and seeing #LifeInTheBestLight, all in one day, with the Cavite Food and Heritage Tour with Transitions Optical.

Museo ni Emilio Aguinaldo is located at Kawit, Cavite, open from Tuesday to Sunday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Bahay na Pinaglitisan Kay Andres Bonifacio is located at Maragondon, Cavite. 

Maragondon Church is located at the municipality of Maragondon, Cavite.

For more on Transitions Optical Philippines, visit their website at http://www.transitions.com/en-ph/ and FB Page here at https://www.facebook.com/TransitionsPhilippines.

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