People urged to see first Philippine flag before it crumbles

Baguio, northern Philippines (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Heirs of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo have sped up their drive to popularise the gains of the Philippine Revolution, including what is arguably the era's most important treasure: the first Philippine flag.

Emilio Aguinaldo Suntay III, great grandson of the country's first President, said the latest examination of the flag revealed a large fabric tear that could worsen because of natural decay.

To keep its memory alive, the family intends to popularize the flag and draw more people to see it before it crumbles and is forgotten, he said.

"We were scared it would not last longer than we hoped, so the family is now discussing whether we would eventually need to conceal the flag to try to preserve it longer or make sure every Filipino gets a chance to see it one last time," Suntay said on Monday, the eve of the 114th Philippine independence celebration.

Cooperation deal

On Tuesday, the family signed a deal with the University of Baguio to tap its resources to study the impact of the Philippine Revolution in northern Luzon and to complete the narratives detailing how the region played a role in fighting the Spanish colonial government.

This is the first academic collaboration being developed by the Aguinaldo-Suntay clan to make northern Luzon students aware that their ancestors had played a role in the quest for Philippine independence.

"And maybe, they will be drawn to the symbol of that freedom which is this flag," Suntay said.

The flag has been kept by the family here since Suntay's grandmother and Aguinaldo's daughter, Cristina, found it beneath the hero's deathbed in 1964.

The flag bears a face stitched into the image of a sun. Its blue field is lighter than the modern flag. Sewn in gold thread is the phrase 'Fuerzas Expedicionarias del Norte de Luzon.' The words 'Libertad' and 'Justicia' are on the other side of the banner.

Frayed flag

While the flag appears to be a combination of silk and satin, its fabric is so frayed that only a thin layer of metal mesh keeps it together.

"We saw larger holes when we set the flag beneath a pale light,¿ Suntay said. "The flag used to be laid out in a different case with a solid base so we never saw the degree of tearing until we transferred it to its new, specially designed dehumidifying case [inside the Aguinaldo Museum here]."

"The soft light beneath the case revealed to us stages of [decay] which worried the family," he added.

During the last decade, the family tapped experts from abroad to help preserve the fabric. Some suggested replacing each worn-out thread, but the family could no longer find fabric manufacturers which could approximate the original material of the flag.

Instead of replacement threads, experts commissioned a replica of the flag, which is displayed above the original relic's casing and held by a statue of Aguinaldo.

The statue has Aguinaldo's height and complexion, Suntay said. It stands in a gallery of heroes which includes the statues of Andres Bonifacio and Dr. Jose Rizal.

Del Pilar flag

The original flag also has a neighbor, the bloodied flag that Gen. Gregorio del Pilar seized from Spanish forces on which he drew three sun faces that mimic the sun face of the original banner.

"This [Del Pilar] flag proves the authenticity of the first flag since he was aware of the design [Aguinaldo made for the Philippine banner]," Suntay said.

He was referring to the continuing debates on whether the Philippine flag kept by the family is the flag Aguinaldo unfurled in Kawit, Cavite province, 114 years ago.

But more details about north Luzon's revolutionary war stories would be crucial, he said.

Aguinaldo's visit

During Kalinga's Independence Day rites, Governor Jocel Baac discussed Aguinaldo's visit to that province.

In his speech, Baac said: "Aguinaldo passed by Asibanglan, Pinukpuk, Kalinga, and set up a military garrison atop the hill that overlooks the hilly barangay. To this day, the hill is called Aguinaldo Hill in his honour. From Asibanglan, he went to Lubuagan, Kalinga, and established the revolutionary government of the republic for quite a time. But the pursuing Americans made General Aguinaldo [flee to] Palanan in Isabela province where he was caught by his pursuers."

Suntay said discussing these stories help introduce the flag to young Filipinos.

COPYRIGHT: ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Mercy pleas for Indonesia death row inmates as families arrive
    Mercy pleas for Indonesia death row inmates as families arrive

    Families of foreign drug convicts set to be hauled before the firing squad in Indonesia issued desperate mercy pleas on Saturday, as France warned of "diplomatic consequences" if one of its nationals is executed. Consular officials and relatives were arriving at a town near Nusakambangan, the high-security prison island where Indonesian executions are carried out, and where all of the death row convicts are now congregated. The foreigners -- two from Australia, one each from Brazil, France …

  • United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot
    United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot

    The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft, and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington's next phase in its Asia "pivot", deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia "pivot" has already seen U.S. Marines rotating through the …

  • China's island-building to loom large at SE Asia summit
    China's island-building to loom large at SE Asia summit

    China's creation of new island footholds in contested seas will hover over a Southeast Asian summit that has become an annual test of the region's nerve in standing up to its massive neighbour. The South China Sea hot potato drops this year into Malaysia's lap as the rotating chair of the 10 member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and host of Monday's meeting. ASEAN states Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts of the strategic South China Sea, but Beijing …

  • Philippines, China trade accusations over sea threats

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines accused China of aggressive maneuvers against its reconnaissance plane and fishermen in disputed seas where Beijing has stepped up construction of artificial islands, but China reiterated its claim on the strategic waterways. …

  • Indonesia orders execution of Mary Jane, 9 others
    Indonesia orders execution of Mary Jane, 9 others

    Indonesia has ordered preparations for the execution of 10 drug convicts, including Filipina Mary Jane Veloso, as the Philippine government filed yesterday a second appeal for judicial review of the case to save the maid from death by firing squad. The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) of Indonesia released an official letter dated April 23, instructing prosecutors to prepare for the execution of 10 convicts, the Jakarta Post reported yesterday. The execution would be conducted after the …

  • Business groups back K to 12 program
    Business groups back K to 12 program

    The government’s K to 12 program adding two more years to basic education received support from various business groups yesterday. However, they urged relevant government agencies to deal with issues regarding the implementation of Republic Act 10533, the Enhanced Basic Education Act or K-12 Law. In a statement, business groups led by the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) said RA 10533 is a milestone piece of legislation that intends to bring the Philippines up to par with the rest of …

  • Happiest nations: Phl ranks 90th
    Happiest nations: Phl ranks 90th

    Switzerland is the happiest country in the world, while the Philippines placed 90th, according to a global ranking of happiness unveiled in New York on Thursday. Switzerland was followed closely by Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada. The 2015 World Happiness Report is the third annual report seeking to quantify happiness as a means of influencing government policy. The United Nations published the first study in 2012. …

  • Asean leaders want binding sea code with China
    Asean leaders want binding sea code with China

    Southeast Asian leaders will seek to speed up plans for a binding code of conduct with China governing behavior in the disputed South China Sea at a summit next week, Malaysia’s foreign minister said Friday. Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said a massive flow of Muslim Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to neighboring countries will also be discussed at the two-day summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which starts Monday. Anifah said leaders are expected to raise concerns …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options