Philippine flag, who designed it?

July 25, 2013

According to Julio Nakpil, Aguinaldo did not came out with the flag design. Another man did.

Feliciano Jocson.

Who is this guy?

Jocson was part of Aguinaldo’s cabinet. He was the secretary of welfare when the young president organized his government after the Battle of Mt. Puray.

He was one of the most active revolutionary. Months after the revolution broke out, with Jose Alejandrino, he went to Cavite to help. When Aguinaldo accepted the terms of Biak-na-Bato, he resume Katipunan activities with Emilio Jacinto.

An account I remember most about him was when he was in Maragondon soliciting support for the revolution. Shouting “¡Viva la libertad! in Maragondon’s convent, reassuring people that arms from Hong Kong would soon arrive. When there’s actually none left. According to Nakpil, there’s about a few remington. There was no shipment of arms.

Jocson was an inciter of rebellion. And he died for it.

Today, Jocson, a farmacéutico turned revolucionario is largely forgotten. He doesn’t even have a wikipedia page under his name.

Feliciano Jocson’s storied career as a revolutionary gives weight to Nakpil’s account that it was he who designed the flag. Hard to prove, yes, because such secret activities are not recorded. But I would side with Julio Nakpil’s account.

Nakpil wrote in these papers that had his name and address for a header. What an elegant era: Filipinos had style. Here are some miscellaneous notes he jotted down to aid Teodoro Kalaw’s book. In this document he repeats the incident where allegedly Aguinaldo’s mom asked those who assassinated the general Luna, “ano humihinga pa ba?”

Julio Nakpil’s writing, that included his music and notes about the revolution was entrusted to the National Library. His only condition was that it would only be made public after his death.

Having read the book I see no reason to doubt Nakpil. While it is true that there are many examples of people lying in their own autobiography, Nakpil would have no motivation to do so. He had a clean record. The guy never got involved in any wrongdoing. He lived a modest life after the war. Taking care of his extended family and Bonifacio’s widow, whom he took for wife after the supremo was murdered.

H. de la Costa on Nakpil, “[his] high regard for historical truth and for the critical reading of sources as a prinicipal means of arriving at it. “Si acaso he incurrido incorrecciones,” he says, “en estas mis apreciaciones, los que esto leyeren pueden rectificarlo, y de este modo tendremos historia fiel y verdadera.”

So, when he wrote down, “Bandera – Feliciano Jocson es el autor del diseño de la bandera filipina y los que digan lo contrario serán unos mentirosos y usurpadores.”

I actually believe him.

Note: Julio Nakpil and the Philippine Revolution (with the autobiography of Gregoria de Jesus), Edited by Encarnacion Alzona. Great book from the “Renato Constantino Filipiniana.”

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CrisPepeDe AnDAPepe Alas (@Pepe_Alas) Recent comment authors
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Pepe Alas (@Pepe_Alas)

Remember Mommy Tina, my teammate in APAC? Her late husband was related to Feliciano Jocson.


Proud to be a Jocson of today…