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Why Laguna deserves a ray of sun in the Philippine National Flag

Laguna Tourism, Culture, Arts and Trade Office
June 11, 2014

        One of the most cherished symbols of the Philippines is the National Flag, which was designed by General Emilio Aguinaldo during his exile in Hongkong. The flag was sewn at 535 Morrison Hill Road by Mrs. Marcela Mariño Agoncillo – wife of the first Filipino diplomat Felipe Agoncillo, her daughter Lorenza, and Delfina Herbosa de Natividad, niece of Dr. Jose Rizal.
 
          General Aguinaldo returned to the Philippines with the flag and hoisted it for the first time in Cavite, after the victorious battle in Alapan on May 28, 1898. Then on June 12, 1898, he unfurled the flag in Kawit, Cavite during the declaration of Philippine Independence.
 
          During the early days of the American occupation a law was passed in 1907 prohibiting the display of the flag. The law was repealed in 1919. And in 1936, President Manuel Quezon issued Executive Order No. 23, proposing the description and specifications of the flag.
 
          It was obvious that the flag’s design was carefully thought of, the white triangle on the flag stands for equity; the blue stripe for peace, truth and justice; the red stripe for patriotism and courage; while the three yellow stars are for Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Furthermore, the sunburst of eight rays represent the eight provinces that Spanish Governor Ramon Blanco declared to be under Martial Law on August 30, 1896, during the initial outburst of the Philippine revolution. These were Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Pampanga, Tarlac, Batangas, Nueva Ecija and Laguna.
 
          Laguna stood prominently at the center of the Philippine Revolution. Her people were quick to realize the promise of freedom through the uprising. Even during the Reform Movement, Laguna was at the heart of the action, led by Jose Rizal. And the Spanish clerical retaliation that later came in the wake of Rizal’s fiery verbal attack against the Dominican masters of Calamba, Laguneños felt the tyranny of colonial clamp down up close pushing them deeper into misery and open revolt.
 
          In 1896, Laguna was a powder keg waiting to explode and the Katipunan of Andres Bonifacio provided the lighted match.
 
          On December 12, 1894, a Katipunan chapter was founded in Pagsanjan by Severino Taiño, called “Maluningning”. Members came over from Lumban, Paete, Pakil, Siniloan, Cavinti, Santa Cruz, Magdalena and other towns even from Tayabas province.
 
          On November 16, 1896, General Taiño led a force of Katipuneros in defending the crossroads at a place called Sambat, Pagsanjan from a Spanish detachment of cazadores. As the colonial troops were far better armed and more experienced in battle, the Laguneños were dislodged from their defense positions and were forced to retreat. During the battle Colonel Francisco Abad was killed while riding a horse, charging and leading the beleaguered Filipinos against the cazadorez.
 
          It was in Pagsanjan, that the first battle for freedom was fought. This incident was known as the “Battle of Sambat”. And today a lone sentinel of stone marks the place where the blood of Filipino fighters sanctified the soil.
 

          With this kind of fighting spirit, Laguna was put under martial law by the colonial government, thereby landing the province a place in the National Flag of the Philippines.