On May 28, 1898, Emilio Aguinaldo led his men against a small garrison of Spanish troops in Alapan, Imus. After emerging victorious, Aguinaldo unfurled the Philippine flag for the first time. Each year, Imus celebrates the Wagayway Festival on May 28 as the rest of the country observes the anniversary of Flag Day. In 1998, the Alapan Flag Monument was unveiled by President Fidel V. Ramos in observance of the centennial of the Battle of Alapan.
Did you know?
Emilio Aguinaldo was in exile in Hong Kong when he designed the Philippine flag in 1897. The very first flag was hand-stitched by Marcela Agoncillo, her seven-year-old daughter Lorenza Agoncillo, and Delfina Herbosa de Natividad, José Rizal’s niece.
The Battle of Alapan, which took place on May 28, 1898, is known as the Emilio Aguinaldo’s first decisive military victory after his exile in Hong Kong. After the battle, Aguinaldo would unfurl the Philippine national flag for the very first time, hoisting it at the Cavite Nuevo’s Teatro Caviteño before hundreds of Filipino revolutionaries, Spanish prisoners, and American sailors. To this day, Flag Day is commemorated every May 28 to celebrate this historic event.
Aguinaldo had been exiled to Hong Kong after signing the Pact of Biak-na-Bato, which was a truce between the Spanish government and Emilio Aguinaldo to end the Philippine Revolution. In exchange for his exile in Hong Kong, Aguinaldo and his comrades were given amnesty and a large sum of money. (Aguinaldo would later end up using this money to purchase firearms and ammunition.)
While Aguinaldo was exiled, the Spanish-American War erupted. Though most of this war’s battles took place in Cuba, the clash of naval forces at the Battle of Manila Bay was the war’s first battle. The US Navy emerged victorious and took control of Manila and the Spanish government.
While the Battle of Manila Bay was raging on, Aguinaldo was in Singapore. After hearing the news of the Spanish’s defeat, he doubled back to Hong Kong and asked for US Navy Commodore George Dewey’s help to come back to the Philippines.
Aguinaldo came back to the Philippines with a flag he designed himself, hand-stitched in Hong Kong by Felipe Agoncillo’s wife Marcela Agoncillo, her seven-year-old daughter Lorenza Agoncillo, and Delfina Herbosa de Natividad, José Rizal’s niece. Soon after his return to the homeland, Aguinaldo reassembled the Philippine Revolutionary Army.
It was 10 o’clock in the morning when Aguinaldo and his troops attacked an encampment of over 270 of General Leopoldo Garcia Peña’s Spanish troops. A combined army of 6,000 men under Juan Cailles, Mariano Noriel, Artemio Ricarte, and Luciano San Miguel clashed with Peña’s 2,800 troops around Cavite. 500 Spanish infantrymen were dispatched from Manila to support Peña. However, they were blocked in Laguna by troops led by Pío del Pilar and Paciano Rizal.
The fighting in Alapan was done in close-range, and the Filipinos, armed with Mauser rifles and bamboo cannons, fought forcefully in spite of fierce Spanish resistance. After five hours of fighting, the Spaniards’ ammunitions supply was completely depleted, and they were forced to surrender at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
After his victory, Aguinaldo went to Cavite with around 300 Spanish prisoners, including General Garcia-Peña, and unfurled the Philippine national flag for the first time. This was “greeted with tremendous applause and loud, spontaneous and prolonged cheers for independence.”
After going through the Binakayan-Kawit Toll Plaza on CAVITEx, take the exit on the left toward EPZA. Then, continue down Binakayan Diversion Road/Covelandia Road. Turn left onto Daang Hari Link. After 2.1 kilometers, turn right onto Toclong-San Sebastian Road, then turn left onto Advincula Avenue. At the Lancaster Rotonda, take the third exit onto Bucandala-Alapan Road. After 1.2 kilometers, you should arrive at Alapan Heritage Park.
Alvarez, Amarico M., and Nicolas G. Ricafrente. “First Unfurling of the Philippine Flag, May 28, 1898.” Philippine Center for Masonic Studies, http://www.philippinemasonry.org/first-unfurling-of-the-philippine-flag.html
Aguinaldo, Emilio. “True Version of the Philippine RevolutionBy Don Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy.” Authorama, http://www.authorama.com/true-version-of-the-philippine-revolution-7.html.