sun and stars

When I was a youngster living in Bontoc, Mt. Province with my paternal grandparents, this time of the year was marked by numerous Philippine flags proudly displayed all over our small town.

Our house, which also doubled as Lolo’s barber shop was no exception. We would buy our share of flags and hang them inside the shop. As a five-year old, I didn’t have much patriotic sense, but I somehow understood that this was something special. I don’t remember if there were any special events to commemorate our Independence Day but I’m sure the town celebrated with as much enthusiasm as we did displaying the flags.

I was reminded about this while reading Manuel Quezon III’s PDI column on Philippine flags. Fidel Ramos, he says, issued a presidential proclamation “to display the flag proudly and prominently from May 28 until June 12. The two-week period is officially referred to as our nation’s “flag days.” It starts on what is said to be the anniversary marking the first time our national flag was displayed in battle and ends with the anniversary marking the day our flag was waved from a window in Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo’s home in Kawit, Cavite.”

Two days ago on the LRT 1, I happened to glance at the bridge leading from Taft Avenue to Binondo and it was festooned with flags. A man happened to pass by with a bunch of flags; for sale, of course. I don’t know about you but I get a little emotional when I see things like this. I know it has something to do with love of country and being proud of this place even if it’s sometimes the source of your misery and frustration. Or maybe, they just remind me of my Lolo and the life we had in the northern valleys and mountains.


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