Every year on June 12th, the Philippines comes alive with festivities and patriotic fervor as the nation commemorates its Independence Day. Today we celebrate our 125th Independence, a significant day that marks the country’s liberation from Spanish colonial rule and the beginning of its journey towards self-governance. The celebration serves as a reminder of the Filipino people’s indomitable spirit and their enduring struggle for freedom.
The Philippines’ fight for independence was a long and arduous one. It was on June 12, 1898, when General Emilio Aguinaldo, standing on the balcony of his residence in Kawit, Cavite, proclaimed the nation’s independence from Spanish colonial rule. This declaration, known as the “Act of the Declaration of Independence,” sparked a flame of hope and ignited the Filipino people’s aspirations for self-determination.
Momentary Freedom from Americans
However, the path to complete independence was far from easy. Shortly after the proclamation, the Philippines faced a new challenge when the United States acquired the country from Spain through the Treaty of Paris. The Filipinos found themselves under a different colonial power, which led to a protracted struggle against American rule.
The Philippine-American War, which lasted from 1899 to 1902, tested the Filipino people’s resilience and determination. Despite facing a formidable opponent, Filipino revolutionaries fought valiantly to defend their sovereignty. The war eventually ended with the Philippines falling under American control, but the struggle for true independence continued.
The Philippine Flag
It is believed that Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, President of the Revolutionary Government, personally designed the Philippine flag. It was Mrs. Marcela Marino Agoncillo – wife of the first Filipino diplomat Felipe Agoncillo who sew the flag, with the help of her daughter Lorenza and Mrs. Delfina Herbosa Natividad, niece of Dr. Jose Rizal and wife of Salvador Natividad at 535 Morrison Hill Road, Hongkong. The flag was created within five days and handed over by Mrs. Agoncillo to Gen. Aguinaldo before the latter boarded the American dispatch boat, McCulloch on May 17, 1898 on his way to the Philippines.
Philippine Liberation from America
Years of resistance and advocacy finally paid off when the United States granted the Philippines its independence on July 4, 1946. However, in 1964, the date of Independence Day was changed to June 12 to commemorate the original declaration of independence in 1898. This change aimed to honor the Filipino heroes and revolutionaries who fought bravely for their nation’s freedom.
Philippines Independence Day Today
The Philippines Independence Day is now a national holiday that we celebrate with great enthusiasm throughout the country. Various activities and events take place, showcasing the rich culture, heritage, and achievements of the Filipino people. Flag-raising ceremonies, parades, street performances, and cultural exhibitions are just some of the highlights of the day.It is a time when Filipinos reflect on their history and the sacrifices made by their forefathers. It is also an occasion to honor the heroes who played significant roles in the fight for independence, such as Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, and Emilio Aguinaldo. Their courage and dedication continue to inspire generations of Filipinos to value their freedom and work towards the betterment of their nation.
Philippines Independence Day is not only a celebration of the past but also a reminder of the challenges that lie ahead. It serves as a call to action, urging every Filipino to contribute to the country’s progress and uphold the values of freedom, justice, and democracy. It is a day to embrace unity and solidarity, transcending differences and embracing the shared goal of a prosperous and independent Philippines.As the Philippines marks another Independence Day, let us remember the struggles and sacrifices that paved the way for our nation’s freedom. Let us celebrate our diversity, resilience, and unwavering spirit. And let us continue to work together towards a future where every Filipino can truly enjoy the blessings of liberty and self-determination. Happy Independence Day, Philippines!