The City of Imus, known as the Flag Capital of the Philippines, is celebrating until June 12—Independence Day—the 16-day journey of the Philippine flag from its inception to its sewing and unfurling in Kawit, Cavite 119 years ago with National Flag Days.
The celebration began on May 28.
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines said the festivity is held for 16 days because it took this long for the flag to make the journey from Hong Kong to Kawit.
The Battle of Alapan happened on May 28, 1898, the day when the Philippine flag was first unfurled.
The flag was sewn by three women: Marcela Mariño-Agoncillo, her daughter Lorenza Agoncillo and national hero Jose Rizal’s niece Delfina Herbosa-Natividad.
It was finished in five days and was personally given to General Emilio Aguinaldo on May 16, 1898.
The next day before right before noon, he went on board the American warship McCulloch and arrived in Cavite the day after.
Five days later, Aguinaldo declared Kawit as the capital of the new Philippine government.
He assembled people for a new army and declared that the flag “Araw at Bituin,” which means Sun and Star, is the new symbol of the republic.
In the barrio of Alapan in Imus, the flag was “baptized in blood and fire” on May 28 in the now famous Battle of Alapan.
After a six-hour battle that led to the capture of 270 Spanish soldiers, the enemy surrendered to Filipino revolutionaries.
To commemorate the victory, Aguinaldo proudly waved the flag in front of a large platoon and was welcomed by roaring applause.
The second victory of the revolutionary army happened in Binakayan, and the third in Bakood now Bacoor (both in cavite) where 300 armed Spaniards were captured.
Again, the flag flew proudly atop the Church of Bakood and could be seen from a ship anchored in the Port of Manila, symbolizing the victory of the Filipino army against the Spanish army.
And finally, on June 12, through a window of Aguinaldo’s residence in Kawit, the national flag was officially proclaimed as the symbol of the new Philippine government and the country’s independence.
Thus, it took 16 days from the Battle of Alapan in Imus where it was first flown to the declaration of Philippine Independence in Kawit when the flag was unfurled as the official standard of a newly independent nation.
National Flag Days in Imus was officially celebrated beginning in 2013.
Prior to this, the city celebrated the Wagayway Festival from May 24, 2008, headed by Mayor Emmanuel Maliksi and former Vice Mayor Mandy Ilano.
It is the only festival that is centered on the Philippine flag as the standard of the country’s freedom.
The fstival helps in the development of tourism as well as the city’s economy, encouraging locals to celebrate the city’s beauty and history.
The celebration of the country’s independence was a month-long affair in Imus, with all streets and roads were filled with the four colors of the National Flag.
The city tourism office said it decided to celebrate the flag’s journey from Alapan to Kawit to reenact history and to pay tribute to the heroes that fought for Philippine freedom.
In Wagayway, the official publication of the Imus city government, Baby del Mundo, chairman of the city tourism office said, “The flag represents our freedom.”
This Monday, the last day of the celebrations, the city of Imus will again lead the flag-raising ceremony at the Dambana ng Pambansang Watawat or Heritage Park, where the Battle of Alapan took place 119 years ago.