Marcela Agoncillo St., Taal
Province of Batangas
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Marcela Marino Agoncillo of Taal, Batangas, sewed the first Philippine flag. The house where she grew up was built by her grandfather, Andres Marino, in the 1700s. It contains the furniture, furnishings and personal memorabilia of the Agoncillo family. To emphasize its link with history, the house also showcases a permanent exhibit of the various flags of the Revolution and a diorama depicting the sewing of the first Philippine flag. In its garden stands the bronze statue of Marcela Agoncillo, cradling in her arms her legacy to the nation,
For five days in May 1898, in a house on Morrison Hill Road in Hong Kong Marcela Agoncillo, assisted by her eldest daughter Lorenza and Delfina Herbosa de Natividad, a niece of Jose Rizal, worked over pieces of colored cloth. From their nimble fingers emerged the symbol of the nation.
Why was our flag created in Hong Kong? In December 1897, an agreement was drawn to put an end to the conflict between the Filipinos and the Spaniards. This was the Pact of Biak-na-Bato. One of its terms called for the voluntary exile abroad of General Emilio Aguinaldo and other leaders of the Revolution. Aguinaldo and his men went to Hong Kong, where they established the Junta Patriotica, a political body that closely watched developments affecting the Philippines.
When Aguinaldo decided to return to the Philippines, among the things he wanted to bring with him was a national symbol, a flag.
While in Hong Kong, Aguinaldo was a frequent visitor to the home of Felipe and Marcela Agoncillo. Felipe, a patriot and statesman, was himself a political exile.
When Aguinaldo asked Marcela to help create a national flag, she readily agreed.
The design of the flag—two solid fields, one blue and one red, held together by an equilateral white triangle with an eight-rayed sun and three stars—was created under the direction of Emilio Aguinaldo and the Junta. It embodied the ideals and aspirations of the new Filipino nation.
The white triangle represented the emblem of the Katipunan; the three stars the principal islands of the archipelago-Luzon, Mindanao and Panay; the sun the “gigantic strides…made by the sons of this land in the road to progress and civilization”; the sun’s eight rays the first eight provinces placed under martial law by Spain because of the insurrection-Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Manila, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, and Tarlac.
Originally, our flag’s colors paid tribute to the colors of the flag of the United States of America. Today, they carry a new meaning. Red symbolizes the willingness of Filipinos to shed their blood in defense of the nation; blue stands for unity and the noble aspirations of the Filipinos people; and white signifies spiritual purity.
The flag was first unfurled on May 28, 1898 at the Teatro Caviteño in Cavite Nuevo (now Cavite City) in celebration of the revolutionary army’s victory in the Battle of Alapan. – nhcp.gov.ph