Marcela Agoncillo

Doña Marcela Mariño Agoncillo (Mariño y Coronel; June 24, 1859 – May 30, 1946) was Filipina renowned as the principal seamstress of the first and official flag of the Philippines, gaining her the title of “The Mother of the Philippine Flag.”

Marcela Coronel Mariño was the daughter of Don Francisco Diokno Mariño and Doña Eugenia Coronel Mariño, a rich family in her hometown of Taal, Batangas. She finished her studies at Santa Catalina College, Marcela acquired her learning in music and feminine crafts. At the age of 30, Marcela Coronel Mariño married Felipe Encarnacion Agoncillo, a Filipino lawyer, and a jurist, and gave birth to six children. Her marriage led an important role in Philippine history. When her husband was exiled in Hong Kong during the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution, Marcela Mariño Agoncillo and the rest of the family joined him and temporarily resided there to avoid the anti-Filipino hostilities of the occupying Spain.

While in Hong Kong, General Emilio Aguinaldo requested her to sew the flag that would represent the Republic of the Philippines. Doña Marcela Mariño de Agoncillo, with her eldest daughter Lorenza and a friend Delfina Herbosa Natividad, niece of Dr. Jose Rizal, manually sewed the flag in accordance with General Emilio Aguinaldo‘s design which later became the official flag of the Republic of the Philippines.

While the flag itself is the perpetual legacy of Doña Marcela Mariño de Agoncillo, she is also commemorated through museums and monuments: like the marker in Hong Kong (where her family temporarily sojourned), at her ancestral home in Taal, Batangas which has been turned into a museum, in paintings by notable painters as well as through other visual arts.