Aguinaldo kin insist PH flag raised in Kawit not lost

BAGUIO CITY — Descendants of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo on Wednesday said they believed their grandfather’s assertion that a tattered Philippine flag that the Aguinaldo family had kept at a museum here was the original flag that was raised in Kawit, Cavite, on June 12, 1898.

“Most of our history now is read and proclaimed by historians in retrospect. As such, our history is fraught with many inaccuracies and biases,” said Emilio Aguinaldo Suntay III, who is the custodian of the relic.

His grandmother, Aguinaldo’s daughter Cristina, found the flag beneath the general’s deathbed.

Designer, guardian

“We, however, humbly adhere to the fact that Aguinaldo himself, the designer and guardian of the flag, stated in public that this was the first flag, the very same flag he raised in Kawit,” he said, in reaction to an assertion made by historian Ambeth Ocampo that the original flag was lost and the Baguio museum was preserving a “contemporary one, in cotton.”

Suntay said this was the flag “Aguinaldo hid then claimed lost when the Americans banned it for close to 20 years.”

But he said Aguinaldo brought out the same flag which the general “paraded during the restoration and recognition of Philippine Independence from the 1940s.”

“We dare not doubt Aguinaldo and instead offer our respect and loyalty to our first flag and our current national flag,” said Suntay.


The flag is fragile and has been deteriorating. It has been encased in glass inside a temperature-controlled room at the Aguinaldo Museum for years now.

It had not been recognized by the government as a national relic, although it was examined by the Smithsonian Institution.

The flag is distinctive for a golden face stitched into its pale yellow sun symbol. Its blue field has a lighter hue, unlike the dark blue of the present flag.

The phrase “Fuerzas Expedicionarias del Norte de Luzon” is stitched with gold silk thread on one side of the banner. On the other side run the words “Libertad” and “Justicia.” The letters were stitched.

Touching lives

Suntay said the relic was “the very same flag around which our revolutionary forces and our forebears rallied in the Philippine-American War.”

“It was the flag that touched many lives and traveled through the Luzon provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos, Mountain Province, Kalinga, Cagayan and Isabela,” he said.

Suntay said his grandmother protected the flag during the martial law years and the family only put it on display on June 12, 1998, during the celebration of the centennial of Philippine Independence declaration.

Historical truths

“Ocampo and many historians will forever debate history yet not one of them nor us has a monopoly of historical truths. We are all mere spectators,” he said.

But he thanked Ocampo for urging people to rally behind the flag.

“While we are embroiled in trivialities, our country and people suffer as China has occupied part of our territory, while Malaysia has usurped other parts of our territory…Shall we wait for another foreign flag to be hoisted before we start giving our flag our due and utmost respect and loyalty?” Suntay said.

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