By Ferdinan S. Gregorio

      During the time when our Archipelago was not yet a Spanish or American colony, our ancestors were already using different banners to represent their identity. The rulers in Luzon and Visayas had their own standards denoting their tribal affiliation. In Mindanao, red Turkish flags were used by the Moros as religious symbols. Aside from those venerated pieces of cloth, the early Filipinos also carved woods and stones, shaping them into animals, fruits or whatever thing that could characterize their ethnicity. 

      Today, proper education allows us to acquire nationalist concepts. We were taught in school that showing respect to our national symbols is an act of patriotism. One of the most important symbols of our country is the Philippine flag which is a fruit of our heroes’ martyrdom. It is a tangible heritage of our race, a sacred emblem of our nation.

      Our flag is not only a symbol but an expression of pride. To refresh our memory, all of us were very proud when Romy Garduce planted the Philippine flag at the peak of Mount Everest. We were in high spirits each time Manny Pacquiao raises our flag in his fights. We are very proud when WWE superstar Batista showed a portion of his body with a tattoo depicting the Philippine flag. If the Filipina-Mexican Jessica Sanchez had won the American Idol 2012, surely, crowds of Pinoys waving the Philippine flag would be the one of most visible scenes on TV.  This kind of pride is not felt by Filipinos alone. Even the Yankees had shown pride when Neil Armstrong planted the American flag on the moon. The Egyptians gloriously waved their flag after the triumphant ouster of Hosni Mubarak.

      Our flag is a reflection of history. Everytime we see the flag, the most common thing that comes to our mind would be Marcela Agoncillo, Emilio Aguinaldo, the Battle of Alapan, the historic June 12, 1898 or anything significant that is recorded in our history books. Our flag reminds us that we were once a colony of the Spanish and American governments. It is an indication that we should never let foreign oppression rule again in our soil.
      Our flag is a marker of sovereignty. On June 12, 1898, the highlight of the inauguration of the first Philippine Independence was when President Aguinaldo waved the flag in the air while the crowd were singing the national anthem. That flag was a visual representation not only of the reclaimed independence but the burning fervor of the celebrating Filipinos. On July 4, 1946, the hoisting of the Philippine flag in replacement of the American flag was a formal acknowledgement that our former colonizers recognized this country as a sovereign nation.

      The nation observes National Flag Day every 28th day of May. A simple way of expressing respect to the national flag is the public display of the Philippine flag in our homes from May 28 to June 12 in commemoration of the Philippine Flag Days.  Let us join in paying tribute to one of our emblems of our being Filipinos.