As the Philippines held a national day of mourning yesterday for the victims of Monday's tragedy, many Filipinos have been expressing remorse amid a fierce backlash over the handling of the hostage crisis. Manila resident Lorraine Badoy Partosa said she could not even finish reading a story about survivor Amy Leung Ng Yau-woon, whose husband and two daughters were killed and whose son is in critical condition. 'I can't even read the entire piece. I want to beg for forgiveness. I want to go to each of them and say I am so so sorry, for so many, many, many things,' she said. 'This country shames me so. I would like to hang my head in deep and utter shame because I am a citizen of a country so rotten, [where] unspeakable tragedies like these are possible,' the mother of three said. On the social-networking site Facebook, some Filipinos have turned their profile pictures into black squares as a mark of mourning. Someone also created a Facebook page entitled: 'Hong Kong, our apology for what happened.' It now has more than 20,000 fans. Norman Konrad Sison said he would go to the site of the tragedy to lay flowers 'to show our sympathy for the victims, outrage at the cops, and hope for our nation'. Yesterday, the family of the slain hostage-taker, Rolando Mendoza, offered their deepest apologies. His sister, who was not named, said: 'On behalf of my brother Rolando Mendoza's family I would like to convey to the Hong Kong government, to the victims' families, our plea for forgiveness. What you feel we also feel in this hour. We are asking for forgiveness for what my brother did.' President Benigno Aquino said yesterday he would ask his budget secretary to study whether the Philippine government could give some sort of assistance to the victims and their families to convey the nation's deepest apologies. He also said the state would pay for all hospital expenses of the victims and for accommodation for their relatives, adding that he would send a delegation to the mainland and Hong Kong this week to deliver a formal apology. Amid the remorse, however, pictures of students smiling and having their photos taken in front of the bullet-riddled tourist bus have appeared on Facebook, angering many in Hong Kong. However, Francis Raymund Gonzales explained on Facebook that smiling is the Filipino way of coping: 'We smile even in pain.' However, Rosemarie Roxas baulked at the backlash against Filipinos. 'I've seen a lot of racist remarks all over. How about what the Filipinos felt when Filipino tourists were attacked with acid last year in Hong Kong, or who were stabbed in Tiananmen Square [when mistaken for Japanese tourists]?' 'Yes, we already know the world is angry at us, but are they aware of their own actions against others, too?'