On 26 May 2021, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) through the Museo nina Marcela Mariño at Felipe Agoncillo offered a wreath to the monument of Felipe Agoncillo monument in celebration of his 162nd birth anniversary.
Best known as the first Filipino diplomat, Agoncillo endeavored for the recognition of Philippine independence especially during the negotiations that led to the 1898 Treaty of Paris.
This was discussed during a webinar offered by the Museum on 19 May 2021 with Mr. Eufemio Agbayani III of the NHCP as speaker. He was part of the Museum’s curatorial development in 2016. The webinar can still be viewed through this link: https://www.facebook.com/426898337512908/videos/105737904943768
The First Filipino Diplomat
Born in Taal, Batangas on 26 May 1859, Felipe Agoncillo first became known for giving free legal services for the poor. He was implicated in a supposed revolt and to escape exile to Sulu, he escaped to Hongkong in April 1896.
In Hong Kong, Agoncillo formed a revolutionary committee which helped the Katipunan and later, the Junta led by Emilio Aguinaldo.
In August 1898, he was appointed by Aguinaldo as representative of the Philippines to the Treaty of Paris conferences. Unfortunately, he was not allowed to officially attend the deliberations.
However, he continued to promote the fledgling Republic in Europe and America. After the Republic’s defeat, he reunited with his family in Hongkong in July 1901.
He returned to the Philippines in 1907 and was elected representative of the First District of Batangas in the first Philippine Assembly. He also served as chief defense lawyer for El Renacimiento in the Aves de Rapiña case. He became Interior Secretary in 1923-1925 and president of the first session of the Philippine Independence Congress in 1930. He died of pneumonia on 28 September 1941 at the Manila Doctors Hospital, Ermita, Manila.
The memory of Felipe and his wife Marcela is now promoted by the NHCP Museo nina Marcela Mariño de Agoncillo located at their Taal, Batangas home.
The NHCP is the national government agency mandated to promote and preserve Philippine historical heritage through research and publication, conservation, marking of historic sites and structures, and administration of national shrines and museums.