SM City Baguio’s Independence Day 2017 centerpiece features the Centennial Commemorative Flag, the closest living replica of the 1st Philippine Flag of 1898 which was unfurled in Cavite on June 12, 1898 by President General Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy.
The Centennial Commemorative Flag was first shown to the public during the centennial celebration of the Philippine Independence in 1998 and has since been kept in the Emilio Aguinaldo Museum in Baguio City, repository of the 1st Philippine Flag — the same place where the original 1st Philippine Flag of 1898, in its frayed glory, is being put on limited display.
This is the first time the flag will be displayed in public outside of the Aguinaldo Museum. The flag bears the same design and details as those in the 1st Philippine Flag including the gold thread-embroidered words “libertad, justicia, yqualidad” and “fuerzas expeditionarias del norte”.
In 1998, the General Emilio Aguinaldo Foundation Inc. commissioned the University of the Philippines through the late Dean Lydia Arribas and her team in 1998 to examine, study and replicate the 1st Philippine Flag of 1898.
The structure in which it is being displayed is a replica of the famous Aguinaldo house in Kawit, Cavite, the first place the original flag was raised in proclamation of the sovereignty and independence of the Philippine Islands from the colonial rule of Spain.
The 1898 First Philippine Flag, Centennial Edition
According to the records from the General Emilio Aguinaldo Museum, on May 1898 in a house somewhere in Hong Kong, the 28-year old Aguinaldo handed the designs of a beautiful unique flag he had made to the young lady, Marcela Agoncillo. The flag was made just slightly over three days but was arguably the most beautiful and symbolic flag the world has ever seen.
Prominent among the features of the 1st Philippine flag were: a sun symbolizing the unconquerable spirit of the young Filipino nation; the sun’s eight rays in honor of the 8 provinces that first revolted against Spain; the three stars representing the country’s major island groups Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao; a rectangular top colored blue symbolizing the nation’s desire for peace and its nobility; a rectangular bottom colored red symbolizing the nation’s courage and bravery against all odds; a triangular white symbolizing the aspiration of liberty and the purity of its ideals.
One of the most unique features of this flag was it could be hung with the red portion on top in times of war.
The flag arrived in the Philippines sometime around May 10 with General Aguinaldo. Shortly thereafter it was waived in victory by Aguinaldo in the battle of Alapan on May 28, 1898.
Fifteen days later, President Emilio Aguinaldo raised the very same flag in Kawit, Cavite as the Filipino nation declared its independence to the whole world. On January 23, 1899 in Malolos Bulacan, the flag was the centerpiece during the inauguration of Asia’s First Democratic and Constitutional Republic, the First Republic of the Philippines.
After war officially broke out between the Philippines and the United States of America, the flag accompanied the Philippine revolutionary forces under the overall command of Aguinaldo.
The flag travelled up to Luzon through the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, the Mountain Province, Benguet, Cagayan, and finally Isabela. It was hidden from the public and banned from display together with all Philippine flags from 1907 to 1919.
The flag was paraded and hoisted during the restoration of Philippine Independence in 1946 but was once again hidden and kept during Martial Law. It found a home at the Aguinaldo Museum where it can be shown on limited display and protected against the slow but sure ravages of time. PR / ABN
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