BAGUIO CITY, June 9 (PIA)- - SM City Baguio recently launched its Independence Day centerpiece-the Centennial Commemoration Flag-the closest existing replica of the first Philippine Flag which was unfurled by General Emilio Aguinaldo in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898.
The flag is displayed in a replica of Aguinaldo’s house in Kawit, Cavite where the General raised the original flag in proclamation of the country’s independence from Spanish colonial rule.
Emilio Aguinaldo Suntay III, great grandson of Gen. Aguinaldo, in his message during the launching, spoke of the importance of the flag and independence and in overcoming the challenges to the nation.
Suntay shared that after the war between the Philippines and the United States of America broke out on January 23, 1899, the Revolutionary Forces under the overall command of President Emilio Aguinaldo travelled up north with the flag through the island of Luzon across Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Mountain Province, Benguet, Cagayan, and finally Isabela.
Aguinaldo said the first Philippine flag has writings which read “Fuerzas Expedicionarias del Norte de Luzon” (Expeditionary Forces of Northern Luzon) on one side “Libertad, Justicia e Igualdad” (freedom, justice and equality) on the other side.
”Our forefathers, our grandparents were all witness to this flag at one point in time”, Aguinaldo said.
Rona Vida B. Correa, SM Baguio mall manager, said the flag highlights the value of Philippine history in these present times.
”We want to recognize that the first Philippine flag has travelled across the North and found a home here in Baguio, and we want to expose this part of our history and educate the locals of Baguio by displaying the replica, as this is not written in our history books”, she said.
The first Philippine flag which Aguinaldo raised in Kawit was made in Hongkong by Marcela Agoncillo and brought to the country on May 10, 1898. It is kept at the Aguinaldo Museum at Happy Glen Loop, in this city.
The General Emilio Aguinaldo Foundation Inc., commissioned the University of the Philippines to examine, study and replicate the first Philippine flag and its replica was first displayed in public during centennial celebration of the Philippine Independence in 1998. This is just the second time the replica is displayed in public.
The Independence Day centerpiece will be on display at the Atrium of SM Baguio until June 17, 2017, Correa said. (JDP/JBZ/ J.Esmele and S.Yusuf- PIA CAR/UC Interns)