Battle of Alapan

The Battle of Alapan (Filipino: Labanan sa Alapan, Spanish: Batalla de Alapan) was fought on May 28, 1898, and was the first military victory of Emilio Aguinaldo after his return to the Philippines from Hong Kong. After the American naval victory in the Battle of Manila Bay, Aguinaldo returned from exile in Hong Kong, reconstituted the Philippine Revolutionary Army, and fought against a small garrison of Spanish troops in Alapan, Imus, Cavite. The battle lasted for five hours, from 10:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M.

Battle of Alapan
Part of the Philippine Revolution
Imus Heritage Park.jpg
Shrine of the National Flag
DateMay 28, 1898
Alapan, Imus, Cavite, Philippines

Decisive Filipino victory

  • Surrender of entire garrison including the commanding officer.
  • Raising of the Philippine National Flag for the first time.
Filipino revolutionaries recapture Cavite province
Filipino revolutionaries Spanish Empire
Commanders and leaders
Emilio Aguinaldo
Artemio Ricarte
Mariano Noriel
Luciano San Miguel
Juan Cailles
Leopoldo García Peña Surrendered
12,000 at Alapan
6,000 nearby
270 in Alapan garrison
2,800 in Cavite
Casualties and losses
Unknown (KIA) Unknown (KIA)
about 300 captured

After the victory at Alapan, Aguinaldo unfurled the Philippine flag for the first time, and hoisted it at the Teatro Caviteño in Cavite Nuevo (present-day Cavite City) in front of Filipino revolutionaries and more than 270 captured Spanish troops. A group of American sailors of the US Asiatic Squadron also witnessed the unfurling.

Flag Day is celebrated every May 28 in honor of this battle. This day also marks the start of the national Independence Day celebrations, as well as of the province-wide Kalayaan Festival celebrated all over Cavite province, honoring the province's role in the achievement of national independence.


The previous year marked the end of the first part of the Philippine Revolution with the signing of the Pact of Biak-na-Bato. Under the terms of the agreement, Aguinaldo went into exile in Hong Kong and prepared for the continuation of the revolution.

When Aguinaldo was in exile, the Spanish–American War began. While most of the war's battles were in the Spanish colony of Cuba, the first battle was between the U.S. Navy and Spanish Navy in the Battle of Manila Bay. On May 1, 1898, U.S. Navy Commodore George Dewey and the U.S. Asiatic Fleet decisively defeated the Spanish and seized control of Manila Bay, effectively controlling Manila and the Spanish government of the Philippines. Aguinaldo, who at the time of the battle was visiting Singapore, returned to Hong Kong and sought Dewey's help to return to the Philippines. On May 19, 1898, Aguinaldo returned to the Philippines aboard the U.S. Navy ship the USS McCulloch.

He had with him a flag of his own design, sewn in Hong Kong by Marcela Agoncillo and her daughter, with the help of Delfina Herbosa de Natividad, niece of José Rizal.

Upon returning to the Philippines, Aguinaldo reconstituted the revolutionary army and formed a government.

The battleEdit

The monument at the site of the Battle of Alapan located inside Alapan 1 Elementary School
The monument of Battle of Alapan located in the Shrine of the National Flag

Fierce fighting erupted at 10:00 o'clock in the morning and lasted until 3:00 in the afternoon on May 28, 1898, Aguinaldo attacked a garrison of 270 or more Spanish troops under the command of General Leopoldo García Pena, who commanded 2,800 men loosely scattered across Cavite. Upon hearing of Aguinaldo's return, a column of 500 infantrymen from Manila had rushed to reinforce Peña, but they were stopped in Laguna by a force commanded by Paciano Rizal and Pío del Pilar.

Back in Cavite. a combined force of over 6,000 men under Artemio Ricarte, Luciano San Miguel, Mariano Noriel, and Juan Cailles pressured Peña's troops around Cavite. At Alapan, they fought at rather close range, armed with bamboo cannons and Mauser rifles and fought with full force despite heavy Spanish resistance. However, they had much more ammunition than the Spaniards, and after five hours, the Spaniards ran out of ammunition and surrendered.

Flag-raising and aftermathEdit

After the battle, Aguinaldo marched to Cavite together with 300 Spanish captives, including General García-Peña himself, and unfurled what was to become the Philippine national flag. A personal account of Aguinaldo's battalion described the battle and the ceremony:

There it was that the first engagement of the Revolution of 1898 took place. The battle raged from ten in the morning to three in the afternoon, when the Spaniards ran out of ammunition and surrendered, with all their arms, to the Filipino revolutionists, who took their prisoners to Cavite. In commemoration of this glorious achievement, I hoisted our National Flag in the presence of a great crowd, who greeted it with tremendous applause and loud, spontaneous and prolonged cheers for independence.[1]

By the evening of May 31, the entire province of Cavite was under revolutionary control. Over the next few months, the Philippine revolutionaries would solidify their control of areas outside of Manila, while the Spanish controlled Manila and the Americans controlled Manila Bay and landed U.S. Army troops in the Philippines. The Americans would take control of Manila in the "mock" Battle of Manila of 1898 in September and eventually, this stand-off, with American forces controlling Manila and Manila Bay and the Philippine revolutionary forces surrounding the city, would end with the outbreak of the Philippine-American War in February 1899.


  1. ^ Aguinaldo, Emilio. "Exhibit No. 71". Philippine Insurgent Records. 1.