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Sa Tahanan ng Heneral at Kasarinlan ng Pilipinas: A Live History Edit

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Lorrianne Aryenz Valdecantos  • Contributor
Opinions expressed by Explora.ph Contributors are their own.

Between history books and classroom discussions, General Emilio Aguinaldo was only painted as a General and a President. People often forget that General Miong had a family and a life after the revolution and sadly, his story seems to stop abruptly after he waved the flag of the Philippines at one of the windows in his house in Kawit, Cavite

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In celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of President Emilio Aguinaldo, Sa Aming Tahanan is born. It is a project of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, in partnership with Fundación Santiago that offers an intimate look at the President’s life before, during, and after the revolution. 


It gives a new wave of understanding for our first president through a play-like live history experience. Visitors sit through a 10-minute monologue of the characters of the play and are permitted to ask questions afterward. 

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In three locations around the Aguinaldo Shrine, we were transported to three different years. We met Miong’s mother as she is preparing the goods to be loaded on their boat. 

We stumbled upon a veteran of the war and learned a thing or two about the General. Lastly, we startled the maid of the house and she ended up spilling all the secrets of Señor Aguinaldo. It all went down like this:

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Photo from: Sa Aming Tahanan Facebook page

1886. Miong as a kid was a little bit mischievous, like all the other kids. His mother, Doña Trinidad Famy told us about his antics, his certain dislike for school, and how he almost got kidnapped. 


But then her eyes would sparkle at the mention of his name, she did tell us that Miong has a special place in her heart.    

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There were also tales when Miong met girls through sailing in their ‘Paraw’  or boat as their small business of selling goods from Cavite grew. They were able to ship those goods to other parts of the country. Doña Trinidad was not thrilled by these stories of her little Miong going out with girls. 

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1920. Emilio Aguinaldo is a religious leader, Roberto Magsilang, a veteran of the war attested to that. The Magdalo faction of the Katipunan was named by General Aguinaldo after Saint Mary Magdalene, the Patroness of Kawit. 

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Soon after the war, the General opened the doors of his home to the veterans. It is a place where they could go to ask for some help, wisdom and even their missing carabaos (the General is quite the ‘manghuhula’, according to these veterans.)

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1939. Señor Aguinaldo is rather quiet and as his maid, Soledad Galang described him, ‘Hindi makabasag pinggan’. As he retires to his house in Kawit after the revolution, he would spend most of his days writing. 


In his house that big, I can only imagine that the former president passing time in his swimming pool or the bowling alley. His favorite ulam is Adobong Dilaw, a specialty of his Batangueña wife, Maria Agoncillo

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Before Sa Aming Tahanan, I only saw Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo like a textbook character, not much depth, though I know that there is a story there, I only saw the story that was being told not the story hidden beneath the surface.

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Now, it opens up a new avenue for history telling. They breathe new life into the museum and made it possible for people to not just go past the velvet ropes but time travel as well. Through that, the mansion is given far more recognition, respect, and life

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The actors are commendable for staying in character and taking their time to do research, read articles, and interview the relatives of the General. In the end, it is not just a museum visit, nor a regular play, it is history telling redefined, a history telling of modern times, and this is what we need.

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Thanks to Sa Aming Tahanan, the next time I’ll be visiting a historic house, I will be seeing the people that used to live there, the busy halls and crowded living room, most importantly, I will be seeing people, not for their singularity but the collective life that they lived.

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The Museo ni Emilio Aguinaldo (formerly Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine) is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 8 a.m to 4 p.m. You can catch the performance of ‘Sa Aming Tahanan’ every Saturday. They have two shows, 10 a.m and 2 p.m. It will run until December so better visit now for a different kind of history telling! 


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