St. Mary Magdalene Parish Church
The St. Mary Magdalene Parish Church is the oldest church in Kawit, Cavite. The Jesuits arrived in Cavite el Viejo in 1624. The first wooden church was constructed in 1638 with the help of six families from Silang and Maragondon. The corner stone of the current church was placed in 1737. In 1768, management of the church was transferred to secular clergy as a result of the expulsion of the Jesuits. It was transferred to the control of the Augustinian Recollects in 1849. President Emilio Aguinaldo was baptized in the church in 1869. His baptismal certificate is kept inside a glass cabinet on the left side of the baptistry. The church sustained major damage during the Philippine-American War.
Inside the church are three ornate retablos that date back to the 18th century. The church is a Marked Structure.
Town Fiesta (Feast of Santa Maria Magdalena)
The feast of the town patron, Saint Mary Magdalene, is celebrated every July 22. On the eve of the fiesta, July 21, the image is brought around in a procession called karakol, where it is borne on an anda and brought around town while dancing. The image is brought all the way to Binakayan and Alapan to ensure good fortune in the two barrios. After the land procession, the image is loaded onto a kasko (boat) for a fluvial procession by the shoreline to ensure a bountiful catch. The karakol starts at seven in the morning and ends at eight in the evening with the entry of the image into the church. It can take longer especially if devotees block the path of the image by dancing in front of it. The common dance of the karakol is the pandanggo. On the day of the fiesta, the image is brought around the town in an evening procession, accompanied by men and women in traditional attire.
A Kawit tradition that takes place on Christmas Eve, Maytinis is reenactment of the “Panunuluyan” or the search of the Virgin Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem for a place to stay. Different floats depicting different Biblical scenes from Adam and Eve up to Mary and Joseph in a procession that moves along the streets of Kawit, stopping at several houses before it reaches the Kawit Church. There, the Virgin Mary and Joseph are welcomed by angels in a giant nativity scene that covers the whole altar. Songs are performed by angels, little girls from the town, mostly in Spanish and Tagalog.
This annual event is organized by the Confradia de Sagrada Familia, together with the Parish Pastoral Council. The Confradia choose the Ama (Hermano Mayor) and Ina (Hermana Mayor) who serve as principal sponsors of the Maytinis.