Philippine Independence Day: What You Need to Know
If you’re an expat who’s been living in the Philippines for quite a number of years, then you should know that we always celebrate Philippine Independence on June 12. However, there are a couple of things that even Filipinos are not aware of (or may have forgotten) regarding this date.
THE ORIGINAL. This is a photo of the first flag that was flown in the Aguinaldo ancestral home in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898. You can find this at the Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo Museum in Baguio City./IMAGE Watawat.net
Here are a couple of things you need to know about June 12, more commonly known as Araw ng Kalayaan or Philippine Independence Day:
1. It was declared on June 12, 1898 in Kawit, Cavite. On this faithful day, we were proclaimed free from 333 years (yes, it was that long) of Spanish rule by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. However, it wasn’t Aguinaldo who prepared, wrote, and read it: it was his adviser, Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista, known as Don Bosyong.
2. The National Anthem was composed by Julian Felipe, but wasn’t called “Lupang Hinirang.”
It was called “Marcha Nacional Filipina.” It didn’t have lyrics until 1899, when Jose Palma wrote a poem that people started singing to the tune of “Marcha Nacional.” It wasn’t until 1938 that it was officially given the title “Lupang Hinirang.” It was sung in Spanish until 1956, when it was first heard and sung in Tagalog.
3. The Treaty of Paris wasn’t meant to give us freedom from Spain.
The treaty was a deal between Spain and the United States, making the former cede control of the Philippines to the latter for a cool US$20 million, which is roughly US$571 million today. That’s how much our country was in 1898.
4. June 12 wasn’t our original Independence Day.
It used to be July 4, the day when we were granted independence by the United States after WWII. Former Pres. Diosdado Macapagal had it moved in 1962 via Presidential Proclamation No. 28. July 4 is still celebrated as Republic Day or Filipino-American Friendship Day.
5. The Philippine Flag wasn’t flown for the first time on June 12.
Rather, it was first flown on May 28, 1898 after the Battle of Alapan. This was recognized by both Macapagal former Pres. Fidel V. Ramos, who declared that National Flag Day be celebrated from May 28 – June 12 via Executive Order No. 179. This also means we celebrate Philippine Independence for 16 days.
Got any more trivia and tidbits about Philippine Independence? Hit us up in the comments section.