535 Morrison Hill Road

Satellite image of the Morrison Hill Playground in Hong Kong

I came from a Hong Kong family vacation this weekend, and to share my experiences—the Vista Pinas way—I will do a 3-part series about three Philippine-related sites in Hong Kong (similar to the 3-part series I did for Cory Aquino). The first site I will feature is 535 Morrison Hill Road in the Wan Chai district in Hong Kong.

This address was where the first Philippine flag was sewn by Marcela Agoncillo, her daughter Lorenza, and José Rizal’s niece Delfina Herbosa de Natividad in 1897. Marcela’s husband, Felipe Agoncillo, a lawyer and diplomat, went on a self-exile to Hong Kong when he was tagged by the Spanish authorities as a subversive. Marcela and her children followed afterwards and their residence at Morrison Hill Road became a safehouse for other Filipino revolutionaries. Gen. Aguinaldo himself came to this place after the Pact of Biak-na-Bato and there he gave Marcela the designs for a national flag. The rest is history.

Context photo of the 535 Morrison Hill Road marker

To mark this occasion, a marker was installed by Hong Kong’s Antiquities and Monuments Office at the site where the residence used to stand, which is now part of the Morrison Hill Road Playground. Shown below is a photo I took of the red oval marker’s location in the playground. (That’s my younger sister, looking at the marker, by the way.) The blue arch is the back entrance of the playground along Oi Kwan Road and you can see the other side of the entrance in this Google Street View (the marker is behind the bushes to the left).

Photo of the 535 Morrison Hill Road marker

Shown above is the marker itself and on it is written the following inscription in both Chinese and English:

In May 1898, In this vicinity, the first Philippine national flag was sewn by hand by Dona Marcela Agoncillo, wife of Felipe Agoncillo, the first Filipino diplomat, assisted by her daughter Lorenza and Mrs. Delfina Herbosa Natividad, niece of the Philippine National hero Dr. Jose Rizal. This flag, which became the rallying symbol of unity for the Filipino people during the Philippine revolution, was officially unfurled during the proclamation of Philippine independence on June 12, 1898 in Kawit, Cavite.

This marker is installed to commemorate the historical role of Hong Kong in the Filipino people’s struggle for independence.

I’ve been wanting to feature this site for years now, but I had a hard time doing research about this historically significant site back then. Fortunately, when I was learning about Hong Kong for my trip, I found this sort-of press release by the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong about the three sites I am featuring now. The pictures accompanying the article provided me with a visual to look for. But it was this blog article by Tutubi giving me the very important clue that 535 Morrison Hill Road is now in a playground. From there, it was extremely easy to find the place in Google Maps. Thanks Tutubi!

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Posted on
March 7, 2011
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