The Provincial Profile of Cavite

 

Cavite

Colonizers arriving in the late 16th century saw an unusual tongue of land thrust into Manila Bay and saw its value as the main staging ground from where they could launch their bulky galleons. Formed in the shape of a hook, which in Tagalog is called kawit, it became the most important port linking the colony to the outside world. Today, the province that bears the name is again a leading staging ground from where Philippine products are penetrating world markets.

Cavite is just south of Metro Manila. It is bounded on the east by Laguna, and by Batangas on the south. Manila Bay lies northwest of the province. The land is characteristically flat in the north, rising towards a low ridge towards the south that overlooks the enchanting Taal Volcano. Cavite has a pronounced dry season, which usually begins in November and ends in April, and a rainy season, which starts in May and ends in October.

 

History

What is now Cavite City was once a mooring place for Chinese junks trading that came to trade with the settlements around Manila Bay. In 1571, Spanish colonizers founded the port and city of Cavite and fortified the settlement as a first line of defense for the city of Manila. Galleons were built and fitted at the port and many Chinese merchants settled in the communities of Bacoor and Kawit, opposite the Spanish city to trade in silks, porcelain and other Oriental goods. The vibrant mix of traders, Spanish seamen and local residents gave rise to the use of pidgin Spanish called chabacano.

In 1614, the politico-military jurisdiction of Cavite was established covering all the present territory except for the town of Maragondon, which used to belong to the corregimiento of Mariveles. Maragondon was ceded to Cavite in 1754. Within Maragondon was a settlement established in 1663 for Christian exiles from Ternate, Moluccas.

Owing to its military importance, Cavite was attacked by foreigners in their quest to conquer Manila and the Philippines. The Dutch made a surprise attack on the city in 1647, pounding the fort incessantly, but were repulsed. In 1762, the British occupied the port during their two-year interregnum in the Philippines. American forces attacked the Spanish squadron in Cavite. The Spanish defeat marked the end of Spanish rule in the country.

Missionary orders acquired and enlarged vast haciendas in Cavite during the 18th and 19th century. These haciendas became the source of bitter agrarian conflicts between the friar orders and Filipino farmers and pushed a number of Caviteños to live as outlaws. This opposition to the friar orders was an important factor that drove many Cavite residents to support reform, and later, independence.

In 1872, a mutiny by disgruntled navy men in Cavite led to a large-scale crackdown on reformers and liberals. Three Filipino priests were executed and dozens others sent into exile. In 1896, after the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution, Cavite took center stage as thousands of Katipuneros liberated most of the province's towns.

Emilio Aguinaldo, the first Philippine president, came from the town of Kawit and directed the conduct of the Revolution from his base in the province. He agreed to go into exile in December 1897, but returned to the Philippines in May 1898. On June 12, he declared Philippine independence from the balcony of his home in Kawit.

The Americans established civil government in the province in 1901. The naval station in Sangley Point became the chief American naval base in the country. The Japanese targeted the naval base during the first wave of attacks on military installations in the Philippines.

 

People, Culture and the Arts

There is something of a rebel in the Caviteño, a tendency to move against the flow of things and to chart a separate direction for himself. During the Spanish period, the highlands of the province were the refuge of tulisanes or outlaws causing authorities to call the province 'madre de los ladrones', or literally the 'mother of thieves'. In popular media and literature, the Cavite brigand or outlaw has been romanticized and even idolized as an avenger of the wronged. Even the monuments that dot the Cavite landscape are memorials to revolution and struggle against the colonial status quo.

The men and women who have struck against the grain and persisted and won against their adversaries, were oftenly attributed with supernatural powers. The belief in the anting-anting or agimat (talismans), is widespread among all Filipinos and particularly strong among Cavite folk. Brigands like Luis Parang and Nardong Putik, and revolutionaries like Emilio Aguinaldo and Mariano Trias were widely believed to possess unusually powerful talismans.

Most talismans were prayers and formulas written on cloth, bark or paper energized by herbs, stones or other materials with ascribed powers. There were different types of talismans with different effects. Most required the bearer to perform observances to keep the talisman powerful or to reenergize the pieces during Holy Week. Faith in the power of talismans is believed to predate Catholicism and is a vital link with Cavite's pre-colonial past.

The firewalkers of Indang and Alfonso also celebrate a pre-colonial ritual called the sanghiyang. It combines elements of folk religion, magic and Christian faith, is a gesture of thanksgiving and a rite to cure the sick. People conducted sanghiyang rituals as an offering to Bathala for a bountiful harvest, recovery from illness, or deliverance from death. The ritual is believed to have started in Naic long before the arrival of the Spaniards and the friars suppressed its observance. The people learned to incorporate some Catholic elements into the rituals and the majority of the spirits invoked are Christian saints.

Today, sanghiyang is held for various reasons. A sanghiyang performed to celebrate a new house is called basang gilagid. The patnugot is an annual thanksgiving celebrated before Ash Wednesday, or the onset of Lent. A sanghiyang conducted to cure the sick is called lawit. In this sanghiyang, the nalawit, or ritual performer, goes into a trance during long hours of chanting. Making an offering to the spirits, he invokes them to cure the sick person. As part of the ritual he offers native delicacies along with candles, medals, and rosaries to the spirits and saints.

 

Trade and Investments

Cavite is the leading industrial zone outside of Metro Manila and the provincial strategy for development focuses on maintaining economic development while ensuring that all Caviteños will enjoy a better quality of life. The province covers an expanse of 1427 square kilometers of generally flat or rolling terrain. The land is suitable for all types of agricultural production and yields fruits, vegetables, coffee, and rice. The coastal flats and offshore fishing grounds are a good source of fish, mussels and oysters. Limestone, clay, gravel and sand are present. The province has a population of 1.6 million people with an annual growth rate of nearly 7 percent. It has a labor force of 877,000 highly skilled and highly trained people who answer the growing workforce demands of the province's industries.

The province has built its industry largely on its accessibility from Metro Manila. It lies 47 kilometers from the heart of Manila via well paved roads. The Ninoy Aquino International Airport lies less than thirty minutes from Trece Martires City while the Manila International Container Port can be reached in an hour's time. The Manila Electric Company franchise distributes electricity to the province. The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company handles the bulk of telephone service but other companies, have expanded their service coverage to the province. Water utilities are under the supervision of the DPWH, Maynilad Waterworks and the LWUA.

The Cavite Export Processing Zone located in Rosario is one of the biggest contributors to the country’s export receipts. There are more than 20 other industrial estates, which not only employ thousands of workers, but also drive the engine of the country's growth. With ready facilities available within these estates, there is a continuing opportunity to invest in light to heavy manufacturing, especially in electronics, garments manufacture, engineering services, automotive assembly, food processing and handicraft, toys and gifts production. At the same time, the province hopes to attract more investments in real estate, banking, utilities, trade and commerce to match industrial growth with a corresponding increase in living standards and conditions for Cavite's population.

The mild climate of the Cavite highlands have been drawing an increasing number of tourists and vacationers to Tagaytay. Recreational facilities, such as world-class golf courses, resort hotels, restaurants, conference venues and sport complexes are being constructed to provide businessmen the ideal venue for relaxation.

 

Region

IV

Province

Cavite

Governor

Erineo S. Maliksi

Capital

Trece Martires City

Income/Financial Resources (1999)

P744.9 M

Income classification (1996)

1st

Expenditure (1998)

P455 M

Population (2000 projection)

1,852,396

Voting Population (1994)

772,281

Labor Force (1998)

572,000

Land area

1,474 sq. kms.

Major dialects/languages

Tagalog

No. of Barangays

828

City/ies

TRECE MARTIRES, Cavite, Tagaytay

Municipalities

(20) Alfonso, Amadeo, Bacoor, Carmona, Dasmarinas, Gen. E. Aguinaldo (Bailen), Gen, M. Alvares, Gen. Trias, Imus, Indang, Kawit, Magallanes, Maragondon, Mendez (Mendez-nunez), Naic, Noveleta, Rosario, Silang, Tanza, Ternate

Infrastructure facilities

Hospitals (1996): 31, Coll./Univ. (1995): 18

Bgy. Health stations (1996): 159

 

 

Major products

 

 

 

Natural resources

Agricultural land, fishing grounds

Indigenous people

 

 

Development Initiative Highlights:

  • To sustain agricultural productivity for rural development
  • To continue industrialization program and attract more investors to locate in economic zones within the province
  • To develop tourism into a major industry
  • To maintain peace and order
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