by Alyssa Caldito
At first glance, this Philippine flag appears to be displayed upside-down, where the blue stripe is normally on top. Along with this change, the words “Kabinataang Baliwag” or “Youth of Baliwag” are placed where the flag’s iconic sun is usually placed, and the words “Magbangon Bayan” or “Rise, Country” are situated on the edges of the triangle. Along with this, the KA on the corner of the triangle likely references the Katipunan, a nationalist rebel group that fought for Philippine independence from Spanish rule.
This flag originated from the Ifugao Province in the Northern Philippines between 1909 and 1915, a time of great political turmoil: The Philippines had just declared independence from Spain in 1898 and was ready to establish itself as a new nation, even boasting a new national flag designed by its first President, Emilio Aguinaldo. The beginning of America’s occupation of the Philippines sparked insurrection all over the country, causing the US to ban images of the original Filipino flag. It is likely that this flag was created as a way for rebel groups in Ifugao and other areas in the northern Philippines to proudly display their defiance against the US Occupation of the Philippines while intentionally flipping the flag upside down as a declaration of war, symbolizing courage and valor.
This item is part of the Tomlinson Collection, which was collected by Owen A. Tomlinson, an American Constabulary who stayed in the Ifugao region between 1909 and 1915. Other items from the Tomlinson Collection, including papers from his stay, can be found not only at the UMMAA but also at the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan.
- Flag of the Philippines | Britannica. (n.d.). Retrieved February 2, 2022, from https://www.britannica.com/topic/flag-of-the-Philippines