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The Filipino Spirit

ThePhilippine Flag

The Philippine revolution of 1898 started at ten o'clock in the morning, a fight that lasted till three o'clock in the afternoon, when the Spaniards surrendered with all their arms to the Philippine revolutionaries.

I took advantage of this glorious opportunity to introduce and wave the national flag, which was saluted by an immense multitude with cheers of delirious joy and tremendous vivas for a Filipinas Independiente.

Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo
May 28, 1898

The present flag, first raised on June 12, 1898

The Filipino flag has an interesting story.

During his exile in Hongkong, General Emilio Aguinaldo designed the flag as it looks today. Mrs. Marcela de Agoncillo sewed it with the help of her 7-year old daughter Lorenza and Mrs. Josefina Herbosa de Natividad(niece of Dr. Jose Rizal) in the tradition of fine embroidery of Taal, Batangas.

It was made of silk with a white triangle at the left containing a gold sunburst of eight rays at the center, a five pointed star at each angle of the triangle, an upper stripe of dark blue, and a lower stripe of red. The white triangle stands for equality and the emblem of the Katipunan; the upper blue stripe for peace, truth and justice; and the lower red stripe for patriotism and valor. The sunburst of eight rays inside the triangle represented the first eight provinces placed under Martial Law by Spain because of the insurrection, Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Manila, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga and Tarlac. The three stars symbolized Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

The flag which Mrs. Agoncillo made in Hongkong was taken to the Philippines by General Aguinaldo aboard the ship McCullough. After the Battle of Alapan in Imus Cavite, this flag was first unfurled by Gen. Aguinaldo at the Teatro Caviteño in Cavite Nuevo ( now Cavite City ) on May 28, 1898 before victorious Filipino revolutionaries. It was witnessed by 270 captured Spanish marines, plus officers and men of the U.S. Asiatic Squadron under Admiral George Dewey.

The Philippine flag was first unfurled by Gen. Aguinaldo at the Teatro Caviteño in Cavite Nuevo ( now Cavite City ) on May 28, 1898

The same flag was first hoisted officially at Kawit on June 12, 1898, during the proclamation of Philippine independence. From that date, it has served as the National Flag of the Filipinos.

I visited Admiral Dewey, who after complimenting me on the "rapid successes of the Philippine Revolution," informed me that the French and German admirals had asked him why he permitted the Filipinos to use a flag unrecognized by their navies, to which Dewey had replied that the Filipinos used the same flag with his knowledge and consent (because) by their courage and firmness in war, they were worthy of such a right.

Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo
June, 1898

Flag of the Philippines

Excerpts from Wikipedia

Flag used from 1898 to 1907.

The flag of the Philippines as conceived by Emilio Aguinaldo, and first displayed in Alapan and Cavite Nuevo on May 28, 1898. Used from 1898 to 1901 (the shade of blue is still a matter of debate.)

The Philippine-American war broke out in 1899. The flag was first flown with the red band up, signifying a state of war, on February 4, 1899.

After the Filipinos were defeated, the country was placed under American rule. On August 23, 1907, display of the Philippine flag was declared illegal by the Sedition Act of 1907.

Flag used from 1919 to 1941.

The Sedition Law of 1907 was repealed on October 30,1919. The Philippine Legislature passed Act. No 2928 on March 26, 1920, which legally adopted the Philippine flag as the official flag of the Philippine Islands.

Due to availability of red and blue cloth with shades similar to the red and blue of the United States flag, the Philippine flag adopted the navy blue color.

The flag was banned December 1941 with the Japanese invasion of World War II.

Flag used from 1943 to 1945.

In October 1943, the flag of the Second Philippine Republic was hoisted by Emilio Aguinaldo with the original Cuban blue and red colors restored. The flag was initially flown with the blue stripe up, until President Jose P. Laurel proclaimed the existence of a state of war with the Allied Powers in 1944.

Flag used from 1919 to 1941, then 1944 to 1981.

The Commonwealth government-in-exile in Washington DC continued to use the flag with the American colors, and had flown it with the red stripe up since the initial invasion of the Japanese. With the combined forces of the Filipino and American soldiers and the liberation of the Philippines in 1944 to 1945, the flag with the American colors was restored, and it was this flag that was hoisted upon the granting of Philippine independence from the United States on July 4, 1946.

Flag used from 1981 to 1986.

The shade of Blue used here is Light Blue, similar to the shade used in the Cuban Flag at the time of the proclamation of the Philippine Declaration of Independence. In 1985, President Ferdinand Marcos officially ordered the colors of the flag restored to the original blue and red of the Cuban flag.


Flag used from 1986 to 1998.

The Marcos order was reversed, and the flag with the American colors was used after the People Power Revolution.


Flag used from 1998 to present.

For the 1998 centennial of the proclamation of Philippine independence, the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines (RA 8491) was passed, changing the shade of blue to royal blue, as a compromise. This was used for the Philippine Centennial Celebration


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