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Flags across the Philippines will fly at half mast tomorrow, Wednesday, on a national day of mourning for Hong Kong tourists killed in a hostage crisis, amid a hailstorm of criticism over alleged police blunders.

President Benigno Aquino called the day of mourning to remember the eight tourists who perished when police stormed a hijacked bus to end a day-long hostage siege in the heart of Manila's tourist belt on Monday.

Survivors and the bodies of the dead are due to be flown back late Wednesday to Hong Kong, where fears are mounting of possible retaliation against the army of Filipinos working in the southern Chinese city.

Small ceremonies were held around the Philippines while Internet social networking sites were flooded with messages from Filipinos apologising to the victims' families and hitting out at police for bungling the rescue attempt.