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The First Filipino Flag?

I took this shot of my nephew David at the SF’s War Memorial Building after Rudy Asercion graciously allowed me and my family, who were in town from LA a few weeks ago, to visit & view what possibly may be the first Filipino flag. The original flag was sewn by my great great grandmother, Doña Marcela Marino Agoncillo. Rudy’s research so far was very convincing that this is indeed the flag. Prior to our visit, my dad was adamant, after talking to a cousin who is a direct descendant of Marcela, that the original flag was located in Baguio City at the Aguinaldo Museum and that the flag here was not the original. Walking into the Memorial, my hopes were on the low side that the flag we were about to see was not the one.

Don’t get me wrong I was still excited. We walk into the Memorial and Rudy directs us to wait in the room where the current exhibit about 911 was showing. Rudy then comes in and unwraps a rolled up paper and inside was the flag. Frankly, I was shocked at how the piece was being stored. Coming from my museum days, I know that the flag is a very delicate item and to preserve it, it would have to be treated with kid gloves. Anyway, Rudy may have convinced me that this is indeed the flag.

After viewing and discussing with Rudy his ongoing research and what he had found, I’m hopeful that the flag in SF is the original. Some of the points that were most convincing were that the SF flag is made of satin and the image of the sun appears to be done by hand. According to Rudy, the flag that is thought to be the original is made of cotton and the blue part of the flag is black. The satin material convinced me that this is the original. The flag is clearly sewn by hand upon looking at it. Rudy sent me the following email in regards to the Aguinaldo Shrine in Baguio which has the flag:

This flag, by arrangement of the U.S. State Department and the Kalamazoo Public Museum, was returned to General Aguinaldo through Ambassador Charles Bohlen in appropriate ceremonies on June 12, 1957, and the flag settled into quiet existence, hanging on the wall of the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite

Lynn Smith Houghton, curator of collections of the Kalamazoo Public Museum in Michigan, wrote on November 26, 1985:

“According to our records, the flag was captured from General Aguinaldo in 1901 by Frank L. Riley of Company F, 160 Indiana Infantry. He presented it to the local organization of the Spanish American War Veterans… the Richard Westnedge Camp #6 United States War Veterans. The flag was given to the Museum on February IS, 1956 by the last surviving members of that group. These three men, and our Museum director at that time, Alexis Praus, decided to return the flag to the Philippines. According to our records, the flag was red, white, and black.”

Moreover, this red, white and black flag is made of cotton.

Also according to Gen Frederick Funston and Gen Aguinaldo himself, there were only five Americans in the raiding party that captured Aguinaldo in Palanan, Isabela on March 23, 1901, they were: General Funston, Captain Hazzard, Captain Newton, Lieutenant Hazzard, and General Funston’s aide, Lieutenant Kitchell,

There was no Frank Riley present when Aguinaldo was captured.

click for larger image

Looking at the detail photographs you can clearly tell the “sun” was done by hand. In addition, why would they keep this flag hanging in the trophy room if it wasn’t of value? Because the flag was locked up in a case in the dark & dingy Trophy Room, the flag was preserved and is in the condition it’s in now. There were signs of blood on the flag and Rudy mentioned that they if they needed a DNA sample, he would ask me for one since I am a direct descendent. Who knows who’s blood that is really. I will absolutely provide any samples. I hope to hear more from Rudy about his research. I am so grateful that he allowed me and my family to see it. Rudy mentioned, that there will be an “opening” of some kind in the near future to display the flag in it’s full glory. He also mentioned that the flag will be sent to Atlanta to be restored. I can’t wait to see it again!

My apologies for the long post.

5 comments to “The First Filipino Flag?”

  1. i was amazed on what i saw but i highly doubt that this is it but it is pretty kool!!!!!!!

    kuya joey
  2. has this issue been resolved? where is the original flag???

  3. According to this article it is not the original flag.

  4. where in baguio is the original flag located? 🙂 can i know? 🙂 thanks.

  5. The Flag of San francisco shown here and the flag kept inside the Aguinaldo Museum of Baguio City aren’t the original flag who Aguinaldo brought from Hong Kong, the first flag was lost in Luzon by Aguinaldo and his troops… .
    For more details visit my web site : or contact me :



    Paolo Paddeu

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