Referendum: FAQs
RP: Terrible Truths
Partitioning the Philippines

Our Flag: Copied Colors

Do the colors of our flag actually signify what we're told they signify? Apparently not. From the historian Sonia M. Zaide: 

During his exile . . . Aguinaldo designed the flag as it looks today. . . . It was made of silk with 
a white triangle at the left containing a sunburst of eight rays at the center, a five pointed star 
at each angle of the triangle, an upper stripe of dark blue, and a lower stripe of red. The white triangle stands for equality; the upper blue stripe for peace, truth and justice; and the lower red stripe for patriotism and valor.

This is the fiction virtually all our textbooks repeat. Now for the facts: Aguinaldo in his memoirs tells us that at the time he designed the flag shortly before he returned to Manila to resume his stalled rebellion, he was already persuaded that the United States' sole interest was to help Fili- pinos gain independence. On June 12, 1898, in Kawit, Cavite, he authorized Ambrosio Bautista to read the "Declaration of Philippine Independence," which Bautista had prepared under his [Aguinaldo's] careful guidance. Excerpts:

Before me, Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista, War Counselor and Special delegate designated to proclaim and solemnize this Declaration of Independence by the Dictatorial Government of the Philippines, pursuant to, and by virtue of, a Decree issued by the Egregious Dictator Don Emi- lio Aguinaldo y Famy . . . [L]astly, it was resolved . . . that this Nation . . . must use the same flag . . . the white triangle signifying the distinctive emblem of the famous Society of the "Ka- tipunan" . . . and the colors of Blue, Red, and White, commemorating the flag of the United States of America, as a manifestation of our profound gratitude towards this Great Nation for
its disinterested protection which it lent us and continues lending us.

So there it is: we copied the colors of the Stars and Stripes "as a manifestation of our profound gratitude" to America. It turns out that not only did we borrow our country's name from one colonizer; we also borrowed the colors of our banner from another. Since the day I learned that the rays of the sun in that standard stood exclusively for the Tagalog and Pampango provinces that rebelled against Spain in Luzon --- effectively ignoring the separate sacrifice of our other nations --- I never really identified with that flag. That was my only reason. Now I have two.