The shrine is the ancestral home of Emilio Aguinaldo, the first president of the Republic of the Philippines. Philippine independence from Spain was proclaimed from a window of the home on June 12, 1898. The proclamation of Philippine Independence (subsequently replaced by another declaration written and signed in Malolos, Bulacan) was read, and the Philippine flag formally unfurled, although it had been displayed in battle in late May, 1898. The Philippine national anthem was also played (its lyrics still to be written in 1899) by the music band of San Francisco de Malabon (now General Trias, Cavite) on that date. President Aguinaldo, particularly while in retirement after his capture and release by American forces, greatly enlarged his home, building an elaborate Independence balcony which many visitors assume was the actual site of the independence proclamation. President Aguinaldo is buried in the garden of his home, which he donated to the Philippine government in 1962.