Cavite is a province in the CALABARZON Region, to the northeast is Manila, to the east is Laguna, and Batangas to the south. It is historically known to be one of the provinces that battled for the Philippine Independence, with many landmarks in the province which used to be historical battle sites. Let us not forget to cite a few of our generals who were veterans in all the wars against our colonizers who hail from the province. Even the First President of the Philippines Republic, Emilio Aguinaldo, is a proud Caviteño himself. Let’s get to know more about Cavite, the Land of the Brave and why it is called such in this article.
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Cavite is also a melting pot of a variety of different cultures and norms, one of the closest provinces to Manila, many of our countrymen who tried to seek opportunities in the Metropolis migrated to Cavite once it was deemed too crowded in Manila, to look for a place to settle, with many spaces for real estate. In a span of 117 years, the population in Cavite increased by almost 4.2 million people, from 135,000 in 1903 to 4.35 million in 2020. This has greatly influenced the traditions and culture of the province it its entirety. It’s like several different cultures being melded into one fabric, which now becomes the identity of the people, and the province itself.
The growth of the province through the last century is greatly attributed to its people. The resilience of the Caviteño is something that comes naturally to us. It’s like we were born to stand up and fight to survive. During the early days of the COVID Quarantine, each local government unit was hell-bent on ‘guarding’ their borders, so as to make sure that each entry and exit is regulated, essential, properly traced and accounted for. This opened up a little banter between Cavite and Laguna governors, Gov Jonvic Remulla of Cavite and Gov Ramil Hernandez of Laguna, as one accused the other of not allowing entry to their province. Gov Remulla, cited that the Caviteños are born to fight, with most of our towns—even the barangays— named after Police Officers, Generals, to be exact: General Mariano Alvarez (GMA), General Trias and General Aguinaldo, to name a few. While those in Laguna are named after saints: San Pedro, Sta Rosa and Sta Cruz, among others.
Cavite is widely known as the land of the brave, and why is this so, you might say? This prior example of our own governor being ballsy and a true-blue Caviteño, is one reason we are cited as being brave, but believe me that there’s a lot to it than more than just friendly banter. Of course, this exchange is shared in jest, but Caviteños have long been known to be brave, straightforward and blunt. You may picture a Caviteño or Caviteña friend or officemate or carpool-mate while you’re reading this and you may find a few of these answers definitive of him or her.
We are just literally brave, or ‘matapang’.
This braveness is at times misconstrued as overconfidence, or yabang, but truthfully speaking, it’s just the way we are raised. Myself being a born and raised Caviteña, I can sometimes come off as cocky, as even my own mother (who also is a born and raised Caviteña) would say, but I think it’s just that we know we should fight for what we think is right. Staying true to the ancestral braveness of the Caviteños, as our lolos and lolas were instrumental to the eventual Independence of the Philippines, we know better than to waste all that ‘tapang’ and the sacrifices made by the ones before us.
Be it on the streets when we are not treated fairly in the market, or at work when I’m trying to say something to my colleague and all my ideas are ignored or rejected even though I think I make a good case, or in school when my classmates look down on me and tell me I can’t do things; you can be pretty damn sure that coming from the land of the brave, these Caviteños will stand up to what they think is right and fair. Sometimes, though, it may not be worth the trouble, but we are already on the way to knowing the balance between letting it go and putting up a fight.
I will not deny, however, that there are times we tend to go overboard on showing a brave face, but this is probably because other people need us to be strong for them. We cannot stand someone who talks over us and belittles us, especially if we know we are on the right. We just can’t let anyone walk over us, because we work hard and we work fair. It’s from the land of the brave where we learn to stand with one another, anyway, and we obviously cannot let that community down. You can’t expect the descendants of Emilio Aguinaldo to just sit down and not put up a fight.
We talk loud.
Oh, that classic Caviteño tone of voice. I don’t know how to justify it, or whether or not it is a plus or a minus. But I will admit to it, surely. I do have a loud voice. Caviteños talk so loud; you’d think they’re fighting over something when they’re just talking casually to one another. I work in Cavite and sometimes my non-Caviteño workmates think I’m angry, when in fact I’m just explaining something, trying to make a point. It’s probably because we are raised in a household or a community where there are a lot of talkers, maybe not much listeners, that we feel we have to raise our voice to get our points across—to be literally heard.
It may also be because we are emotional. We get carried away in expressing our feelings or sharing our thoughts to one another. Sometimes when my father has friends over and in the middle of their conversations we would hear some voices rise, my mother would just comment ‘masarap kasi ang kwentuhan’. There are instances when we become too noisy for other people who hear us, and we feel we’re the only people in the room with our conversations. It’s just that we really love getting together with other people, sharing these memorable conversations and chit-chats, and make sure we give it our all—story-telling always, always have to have gestures to make sure we do justice to the story.
We are social.
You’ve known all these public personalities hailing from the province, from actors, actresses to police officers to public officials in the national scene, and there might be more of them you didn’t know was Caviteño or Caviteña. We can’t help but rub elbows with other people and we meet so many people on a daily basis. The capacity to win over a group or a crowd takes much from someone, and as Caviteños, we want to belong, that’s why we try to get over ourselves, get over our shyness and just try to win people over, as our way of introducing Cavite, the land of the brave as also the land of the hospitable.
Cavite being the province closest to the Metro, we are the catch basin for all the people who tried to thrive in Manila but felt it was too much for them. We welcomed them with open arms. A good number of local ‘migrants’ now found affordable house and lots in Cavite, as we are next in Manila to develop the land for residence and have good quality housing locations, many of our fellowmen have flocked to Cavite to work or reside. Most Caviteños have also found work in Manila, but can’t seem to let go of their hometown. We’re already experienced so many people coming in and as we welcome more and more new people, norms, and cultures, we need to take a step up to make sure that the land we know, the land of the brave, the traditions and the home we know and love won’t be swept under the rug as these new people and culture come in.
We want to be as respectful, as open and as welcoming to one and all as we can, but at times we have to stand our ground to make sure that we take care of what our ancestors have laid down for us, the identity we have as a people, as a province. Knowing when and how to assert yourself in a sea of ‘newcomers’ is a skill we have learned to adapt, so as to keep at least a glimmer of Caviteño passed on from generation to generation.
It’s not like we have any other choice. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies out here, it’s a jungle. We have to work to put food on the table. We have to break our backs so we are sure our children are in the best school we could put them into. You’ve seen every Ramon Revilla movie where the struggles depicted hit so close to home: working day and night, managing to pay every debt or bank loan while trying to own a house and lot, just basically doing what we can to make ends meet. This is the typical day of a regular Caviteño. Many Caviteños are in the working class, and as some of us have ventured to our own businesses, the pandemic hit us, and now we feel like we’re back to square one.
It cannot be stressed enough that every single person in the world has been greatly affected by this pandemic, and the land of the brave is no exception. But what we do have is the braveness to put on a tough face, and make it seem like everything is right in the world, while our insides are like in a spin cycle. What we have ingrained in our minds is the determination to survive, however hard it takes, just so we can come on the other side of every situation a better person, just better versions of ourselves.
Some of us are blessed to have our own house, stable jobs and supportive families, but still there are those of us who only have to rely on ourselves, and stay strong in order to make it through one day at a time. It is an amazing thing that the province offers a lot of opportunities where one can thrive, grow, and get support. It just takes a Caviteño-amount of braveness to pull it together, tough it up and see it through, because being able to experience the struggle and come out of it alive is indeed a gift in itself.
Simply put, Caviteños are one with the country in wanting to be brave for whatever life gives us. Throughout the country and the province’s history, we’ve weathered many storms—literally and figuratively, and we’ve learned to be brave as the situation calls us to be. And as the current times call for us to be braver than ever, especially in this pandemic, we need to firmly plant our feet and brace for the storms that will come to us on a daily basis. Life calls us to be aware of whatever it is thrown at us, and whatever the situation may be, we fight like hell to sink or swim, and we always manage to survive.
Being brave is more like a reflex action, a reaction to the struggles and fights we’ve weathered and thrived from. Since we were kids we have been taught to stand our ground when push comes to shove: when it’s a new kid trying to take our toys from us, a school bully getting our lunch, or some classmates teasing us for our physical imperfections. We know that what’s ours is ours, and that we may or may not share what we have, but it’s entirely up to us. We’ve embraced our imperfections so that no one can hold it against us, and we feel perfectly well, however flawed other people think we might be.
Caviteños have long embraced this braveness, converting the negative connotation attached to it to a positive attribute we can be proud of, and made it a trademark. Some Caviteños may consider this braveness a compliment, but some may still think of it as a bane to our existence, intimidating other people in this regard. It’s both a privilege and a responsibility, and with years of practice and experience, we are obliged to perfect making sure we are using it correctly.