Flag raising at the Olympia: Event venue inappropriate?

Olympia firing dewey-manila

The USS Olympia a steel clad cruiser of the U.S. Navy blasted through the Spanish fortifications along Cavite and demolished the Spanish navy ships and won the day; May 1, 1898.  The event marked the rise of America as the new colonial power in the Far East. Photo from: http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/manila-bay.htm

Opinion by Dr. Alex Almario:

Almario iconEditor’s note: We invite your comments on the subject. This is Dr. Almario’s personal view and is shared by some members of our Community but do not reflect the opinion of the Council. We welcome your comments and your VOTE below.

It is my belief and opinion that the venue of this event is inappropriate. In battles or in war a flag is raised by the conquering army over a territory that has been vanquished.

The USS Olympia is the lead battleship of the US Navy that invaded the Philippines and annihilated the Spanish Navy in Manila Bay on May 1, 1898 during the Spanish – American War.

At this time the Philippine revolution against Spain lead by Gen. Aguinaldo was already ongoing .

In June 12, 1898 Aguinaldo proclaimed the Philippine Independence against Spain. But the Americans stayed after defeating Spain. A Filipino-American war followed that resulted in the conquest of the Phlippines. Therefore the Philippine Independence was revoked by the Americans.

Are we raising our flag on USS Olympia which represents our loss of Independence. It would be more meaningful to do that at the Rizal Park in Cherry Hill where Rizal’s Monument signify our struggle for Independence.

Olympia legacy

Photo Original caption: “The Flag must ‘Stay Put.’ The American Filipinos and the native Filipinos will have to submit.” This 1902 two-page graphic in the American magazine Puck depicted the U.S. conquest of the Philippines in a heroic light. On the left, prominent U.S. anti-imperialists (dismissed by the magazine as “American Filipinos”) protest American actions in the Philippines. Puck 51 (June 4, 1902). From the MIT Visualizing Cultures website, link immediately following.

U.S. Conquest and Occupation.

Olympia Vital Statistics.

Courtesy of Louis Smaus, 1985. Photo from the Naval History & Heritage Command website.  More Link.


15 thoughts on “Flag raising at the Olympia: Event venue inappropriate?

  1. The result will be very interesting. Please click the FB share button and post this on your FB and encourage your friends to vote.


  2. The editorial board decided to abstain from voting on this SS Olympia issue. I see no logical reason why not. This is a pool of personal opinions and the result is non-binding. The Council may or may not abide by the results.


    • @Anon < that is the whole point of Dr. Almario; that the USS Olympia is part of the U.S. attack force who took over the Philippines. Now this elevates the discussion into the next level.


    • For years, the Philippine flag raising ceremony at the Olympia has been a tradition of our Fil-Am community in the Greater Philadelphia Area to start our Philippine Independence week,…to answer your question. This is not permanent however.


      • we need to listen to the majority as we moved on and watch the results. even constitutions and holidays are re-considered in the light of present day realities and its historical significance.


  3. I certainly agree with Nonong that Flag Raising at the USS Olympia is the wrong symbol. The sinking of the USS Maine off the harbor of Cuba started the American-Spanish war on the pretext that Spain bombed the battleship. The USS Olympia that was positioned in Hong Kong attacked the Spanish Fleet in Manila Bay. Spain was already a losing world power and General Aguinaldo was close to winning the Philippine Revolution. But, when a Filipino soldier was shot on the bridge of Binondo, it started the Filipino-American war. This resulted in the colonization of the Philippines by the United States of America.
    Because the USS Olympia is a symbol of that occupation and loss of independence, I think Filipinos can find a more appropriate activity to celebrate Philippine Independence Day.


  4. It is very wise to express your feelings on this important matter or subject, be it positive or negative, rather than keeping quiet and say nothing at all ! Let us keep our ideas rolling…. Thanks!


  5. Another reason to relocate the flag raising ceremony to the Rizal Monument area is the possibility of better public exposure in the Rizal monument area than in the cramped space and isolated location of the SS Olympia….Dr Almario


  6. I wonder how many of those who voted “yes” to continue our flag raising in the USS Olympia actually participated in the past ceremonies


  7. Editor: Here we copy the comments made by Mayette Balglieri she posted on the Events Page < Mayette Calleja-Baglieri, RN, M.A. December 8, 2014 at 2:11 pm wrote: "The man has a valid point! I believe that a country or group of people should celebrate its victory or commemorate a historical occasion on its own ship or its own space with its own venue of significance. I did not know that the USS Olympia’s effect represented merely the replacement of Spanish supremacy with American rule! This is not what I learned in my high school history lessons. With no blame intended, certain important facts such as what Dr. Alex Almario stated were either omitted or skewed to favor the powers that be. Nevertheless, if the goal of the Philippine communities of New Jersey and Pennsylvania is to celebrate our June 12, 1898 independence with our Philippine flag raising, then we should re-evaluate the correctness of using the USS Olympia as a venue for such an important historical occasion."


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