On June 12, the Philippines is set to commemorate the 124th anniversary of the declaration of the day of independence from being a colony of the Kingdom of Spain for more than three centuries. The Spaniards first landed in the archipelago on March 16, 1521 after the expedition of Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer sailing for Spain, mistakenly thought that they had reached the spice islands.
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However, Magellan was defeated and killed in the Battle of Mactan by the natives headed by its Chieftain and the first Philippine hero, Lapulapu. This did not stop Spain from exploring the East Indies. In 1543, this was followed by the expedition of Ruy López de Villalobos who named the Islands Las Islas Filipinas (The Philippine Islands), in honor of the Prince of Spain, Philipp II, who then became King Philip II. Villabos was not warmly welcomed by natives and forced to leave the Islands in 1544.
Only during the expedition of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in 1565 was the 333 years Spain’s colonization of the Philippines began. Legazpi was the first Governor-General of Spain and responsible for bringing the nation’s capital from Cebu to Manila while Basilio Augustín y Dávila was the one in-charge when the Spanish-American war broke out and Emilio Aguinaldo declared the country’s independence from Spain in Kawit, Cavite On June 12, 1898
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On the same day of our independence, Aguinaldo raised for the first time the Philippine Flag designed by Marcela Agoncillo, Lorenza Agoncillo, and Delfina Herbosa The rays of the sun symbolize the first eight Philippine provinces that fought against Spanish colonial rule. The first Philippine Republic, the first Republic in Asia, was officially inaugurated at the Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan in January 1899.
The quest for independence was not a walk in the park as it required sacrifices of resources, efforts, and of course, lives. The oppressive, degrading, and humiliating regime of Spain in the Philippines caused great havoc to many during that time and caused the awakening of patriotic sympathy and movements headed by some of the renowned Philippine heroes.
The American Occupation of Manila
Meanwhile, the short- lived independence was greatly threatened and followed by the annexation of Manila by the United States when the Treaty of Paris was signed on December 10, 1898 in which they paid Spain 20 million dollars for the possession of the Philippines. And on 21 December 1898, U.S. President William McKinley issued a Proclamation of Benevolent Assimilation officially taking over the archipelago.
In August 1916, the Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916 of the Jones Law was enacted by the US Congress promising the Philippines independence once the country proved that they could govern themselves. However, there was no identified timetable but when the United States got involved in World War I, Filipinos were given the opportunity to run the government.
In March 1934, the Tydings-McDuffie Act, also known as the Philippine Commonwealth and Independence Act was enacted and signed by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ensured the Philippine Independence Day to take effect on July 4, 1946, after a 10-year transition period of Commonwealth government. Before the establishment of the Philippine Commonwealth, a constitution must be drafted, which also became the legal framework not just for the Commonwealth government, but also of the coming Philippine Republic.
And on July 4, 1946, after 10 years of the transition period under the Commonwealth Government, the Philippines finally gained back its autonomy and sovereignty from the United States of America and the nation became known to the world as the Republic of the Philippines.
Considering these historic and momentous occasions, why does the Philippines now celebrate June 12 as its day of independence?
From 1946 to 1962, the Philippines commemorated its independence every July 4 as it was the day the Philippines gained full autonomy from the United States as mandated by the Tydings-McDuffie Act. This was quite unthinkable as a free nation shared the same independence with its former colonizer. Thus, on May 12, 1962, President Diosdado Macapagal, officially changed the date of the commemoration of independence from July 4 to June 12 every year through Proclamation No. 28, s. 1962.
In his proclamation, President Macapagal cited “the establishment of the Philippine Republic by the Revolutionary Government under General Emilio Aguinaldo on June 12, 1898, marked our people’s declaration and exercise of their right to self-determination, liberty and independence.”
President Diosdado Macapagal stated in June 12, 1962 in his address on Independence Day “Let me avail of this opportunity to disabuse the minds of those who suggest that the transfer of our commemoration of independence was prompted by the action of the American Congress in backing out of a material commitment and obligation to our people,” He further acclaimed that it was only rightful to acknowledge June 12 as the Philippines’ independence day as it was truly the birth of an independent Filipino nation whose sovereignty was seized by the United States.
After gaining so much support from the local government units and the public, this move was further cemented by the virtue of Republic Act 4166 of the Act Changing the Date of Philippine Independence from July 4 to June 1 and Declaring July 4 a Philippine Republic Day, Further Amending for the Purpose Section 229 of the Revised Administrative Code.
Due to these measures, the Philippines now officially celebrates its Independence Day every 12th of June. A great patriotic day marked by colorful parades and family gatherings and reunions.
2022 Philippine Independence Day Celebration
This year’s public celebration of the 124th Independence Day of the Philippines will not be hampered anymore by the ongoing Pandemic. This year’s theme “Pagsuong sa Hamon ng Panibagong Bukas” call for renewed Filipino enthusiasm in facing the challenges of the future as a nation.
On June 12, through the Memorandum 2022-066 issued by the Department of Interior and Local Government, all local government unit are enjoined to support the simultaneous flag-raising and wreath in the following locations:
● Rizal Monument (Manila City)
● Bonifacio National Monument (Caloocan City)
● Barasoain Church Historical Landmark (Malolos, Bulacan)
● Aguinaldo Shrine (Kawit, Cavite)
● Pinaglabanan Memorial Shrine (San Juan City)
● Museo ng Kasaysayang Panlipunan ng Pilipinas (Angeles City, Pampanga)
● Mausoleo de lo Veteranos dela Revolucion, North Cemetery (Manila City)
● Rizal Park (Davao City)
● Plaza Independencia (Cebu City)
● Other similar historical monuments or locations deemed fit by the LGU.
In Kawit, Cavite, the cradle of Philippine Revolution and Independence, marks the celebration of the country’s independence through the Kalayaan Festival – a 2 week-long and province wide celebration held annually from May 28 to June 12. First launched 2005, the festival is graced with street dancing, float parade, beauty pageants, and trade fairs.
Wanting to easily partake in these historic celebrations, explore now the list of available affordable house and lot in Cavite. With improved infrastructure and connectivity and vibrant culture and community, Cavite becomes now an ideal place you can call home.
The world’s biggest celebration of Filipino culture
The Philippine Independence Day is deemed to be the world’s biggest and grandest celebration of Filipino culture. Filipino communities across the globe participate in various commemorative events, palarong pinoy, Misa ng Bayang Pilipino, and many more. Through these activities, though geographically distant, keep the Filipino spirit alive.
The commemoration and celebration of the Philippine Independence Day reminds us of the sacrifices of our heroes as it is on this day that we remember and reap the courage and sacrifices of our soldiers and heroes who fought for our motherland. Inspired by this, may we continue to contribute in our own little way in nation-building and be worthy of the sacrifices they made 124 years ago.
Happy Independence Day! As we say it in Filipino, “Maligayang Araw ng Kasarinlan!”