The Significance of Philippine Independence Day

Written by: Quinto

Edited by: Justin

Visual by: Kahyun

As ISM is about to close the school year, time draws even closer to one of the Philippines’ and its people’s most important celebrations, Independence Day! On June 12, 1898, the Philippines finally gained their independence from the Spanish monarchy. Just like any other country’s celebration of independence, Independence Day represents freedom, history, culture and strength for the people. June 12th reminds the Filipinos about the pride and honor that is shared with the people of our country and the heroes that once fought for our country. The country’s sovereignty is respected, inspiring nationalism in its residents while also honoring its culture and traditions. 

Declaring independence from Spanish rule over 120 years ago, General Emilio Aguinaldo was responsible for claiming what was the Filipino peoples independence, freedom and much needed justice from the rule of the Spanish monarchy. However, it wasn’t until 1962, that then-President Diosdado Macapagal made June 12th a public holiday through a presidential proclamation. On Independence Day  in 1898, the Filipino flag was unfurled for the first time amid an exciting ceremony that included the first public performance of the Philippines national anthem. The significance of the Philippine flag’s colors were described by General Emilio Aguinaldo, who gave meaning to them. He told the people, the color red stood for Filipino bravery, blue represented how Filipinos would rather die than surrender to the enemy and the color white symbolized the Filipinos’ love for peace.

Because the Philippine Independence Day is such a joyous occasion, many individuals, including government officials, employees, and students participate in nationwide parades during the day to celebrate. Honoring the occasion, most hang up the Philippine flag in most public places and take the day off to celebrate. However, the primary celebration, is the police and military parade in Manila. This is led by the country’s current president, including a heartfelt speech about the beloved country, followed by a 21-gun salute. 

  Aside from spending their celebrations at the huge parade, a large number of Filipinos spend their Independence day celebrations in parks and shopping centers.  Usually, the day is an opportunity to gather with friends and family to commemorate the country’s independence, progress and health. In fact, many international Filipino communities around the world also celebrate the country’s Independence Day. Although these Filipinos aren’t present in the country, the celebrations are still similar from the flag raising and visits to Filipino monuments to the parades. To appreciate the festival, many Filipino families around the world congregate around dinner tables for a huge feast. Aside from getting together with the people you love, the beauty of the celebration is the fact that it’s truly open to anyone! People are able to join in however they want to! Anyone can pick up famous Filipino street food, because there isn’t anything more Filipino than eating the endless list of wonderful foods like barbeque, dirty ice cream or fish balls. Those who want to indulge in the Filipino culture could watch historic Filipino films, like Heneral Luna, José Rizal or Lapu-Lapu. As well as explore and visit loads of the Philippines’ tourist attractions like Intramuros, Luneta park, and even the National Museum to honor culture, the significant historical events and heroes of the Philippines.

Independence Day is truly an event meant to shed light on the people of the Philippines, it supplies the Filipinos with feelings of freedom, hope, strength and most importantly happiness. Through the holiday, people are able to connect with their fellow Filipinos and celebrate with the people they love. Filipino culture is welcoming to all, which makes the day even more meaningful. As the people of the Philippines stand for peace and good nature, it is easy to feel the celebration as everyone comes together.