While we have been taught extensively about history and Philippine independence, there are actually still some facts that are not discussed in school. Perhaps in the interest of brevity, or perhaps these are not deemed as important as details as the others. Here are six lesser known facts about the our country's Independence Day, and the flag we hold dear:
1. The Philippine Flag was unfurled prior to what we now know as our Independence Day.
The Philippine flag was first presented on May 28, 1898, days before Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo declared independence on June 12, 1898. During the administration of Pres. Fidel Ramos, he signed EO 179, declaring the period between May 28 and June 12 as Flag Days, where all government buildings, agencies, and official residences are required to display the Philippine flag prominently.
2. One of the flag’s three stars did not represent Visayas. Technically speaking, the three stars represent Luzon, Panay, and Mindanao, and not Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, as we all know.
Back then, it was Panay that represented one of the three stars, because it was cited as one of the archipelago’s three principal islands under the Proclamation of Independence in Kawit. Not to disregard Cebu’s efforts during the Spanish revolution, the Proclamation of Independence referred to the principal islands of the archipelago, not the principal grouping of the islands.
3. The first government of the Philippines is in fact a dictatorship.
The reason why Aguinaldo chose to have a dictatorship back then, as suggested by Ambrosio Bautista, his adviser? The Philippines needed a government with a strong executive branch to unify the country that has been divided during the Spanish occupation.
4. The actual flag used on June 12, 1898 remains to be missing.
While the first Philippine flag can be seen in Baguio, the actual flag that Aguinaldo used in Kawit, Cavite remains to be missing, after being lost somewhere in Tayug, Pangasinan during the Filipino-American war.
5. Philippine independence was actually declared six times between 1895 to 1946.
Aside from the 1898 declaration of independence we all know, there are several instances that independence was declared in the Philippines. These include one on April 12, 1895 by Andres Bonifacio inside a cave in Montalban, one on August 23, 1896 in Pugad Lawin (now Balintawak), and one on October 31, 1896 by Emilio Aguinaldo in Kawit, Cavite. After 1898, there were two more declarations, which include on October 14, 1943 during the Japanese Occupation, and on July 4, 1946 in Luneta.
6. The blue in the Philippine flag has been done in various shades.
Yes, you read that right, there have been variations in the shade of blue used in the Philippine flag. This was something historians have been debating on, some stating that the shade of blue that was used is navy blue, as ordered by Aguinaldo, and then others insisting it's sky blue, as said by Apolinario Mabini; on February 25, 1985, though, Pres. Ferdinand Marcos ordered that the shade of blue that should be used is sky blue, which never became popular and so the color was reverted back to navy blue after People Power. The final change was made in 1998, when Pres. Fidel Ramos declared royal blue as the flag’s official shade.
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