Learning about people’s backgrounds can help you understand them better. And there is no better way to learn about a country’s history than to observe its holidays, festivals, and celebrations. Another year, another list of holdays to anticipate for the year 2023. The Philippines is no different. Filipino culture is visible via their annual celebrations, which include over 50 holidays throughout the year. A primarily Christian country with nice people who are among the happiest in the world. It’s no surprise that Filipinos are such joyful people, with a festival or celebration every month of the year. Their independence from Spanish authority, as well as their religion, are deeply embedded in their culture. These are the two most celebrated features in the Philippines, although there are many minor festivals that are fun and offer joy to many people. If you’re wondering how something like Asian languages might affect a country, just look at its culture, history, and holidays to discover how they’ve been influenced.
The beginning of September marks the first day for Filipinos to feel the Christmas ambiance, preparing for their Christmas decorations while playing the popularly known pieces of music of Jose Mari Chan. As a country with one of the world’s longest Christmas seasons, expect to see festivities in city parks and town plazas throughout the month of December until the advent of the New Year. Expect the holiday season to bring in a festive mood in every city, municipality, and town in the Philippines, whether you find yourself in a booming metropolitan city or small town. Immersing oneself in the festive mood in these locations will provide you with a superb opportunity to experience authentic Filipino hospitality.
It goes without saying that the Philippines has a lot of holidays. It’s intentional. The administration may even change the holiday calendar to bring holidays closer to weekends. As a result, it appears that they have more holidays than are mentioned on the calendar. One of the main reasons for this is that when you have a long vacation, you are more inclined to travel. This supports the tourist industry, which is one of the country’s largest contributors to GDP and employs 13% of the workforce. Even throughout the pandemic, Filipinos continued to travel since it is sometimes safer to stay in less congested rural and coastal locations.
Get your travel goals and destinations ready as the Palace announced the list of regular and special non-working holidays for 2023!
As per the Presidential Proclamation no. 42 of President Ferdinand E. Marcos, Jr. inked last August 22, there will be 10 regular holidays and 7 special non-working holidays for the coming year. The following days are declared as regular holidays and special days for 2023:
2023 Regular Holidays
- January 1 (Sunday) – New Year’s Day
- April 9 (Sunday) – Araw ng Kagitingan
- April 6 – Maundy Thursday
- April 7 – Good Friday
- May 1 (Monday) – Labor Day
- June 12 (Monday) – Independence Day
- August 28 (last Monday of August) – National Heroes Day
- November 30 (Thursday) – Bonifacio Day
- December 25 (Monday) – Christmas Day
- December 30 (Saturday) – Rizal Day
Special Non-Working Days
- February 25 (Saturday) – EDSA People Power Revolution Anniversary
- April 8 – Black Saturday
- August 21 (Monday) – Ninoy Aquino Day
- November 1 (Wednesday) – All Saints’ Day
- December 8 (Friday) – Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary
- December 31 (Sunday) – Last Day of the Year
Additional Special Non-Working Day
- November 2 (Thursday) – All Souls’ Day
Aside from this, the Proclamation under its Section 2 made mentioned that the declaration of national holiday for the observance of Eidul Fitr and Eidul Adha will be issued after the approximate dates of the Islamic holiday have been identified according to the Islamic calendar (Hjira), the lunar calendar, or upon Islamic astronomicalC calculations whichever is possible or convenient. The recommendation of the actual dates of these observances to the Office of the President will come from the National Commission for Muslim Filipinos.
The Philippines remain to be one of the countries with the most number of declared public holidays in 2023. As a matter of fact, the Philippines in 2022 is the 4th country in rank in terms of the countries with the most declared public holiday. We share the same spot with Colombia and Trinidad and Tobago. The country’s 2023 holiday, similar with previous years, are combination of religious celebration like Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary and Eidul Fitr while others are commemoration of significant pages in the country’s history and martyrdom of some of the most notable heroes like the EDSA People Power Revolution Anniversary and Rizal Day.
For you to further appreciate the value of these celebrations, Bria Homes will give you the history or primary basis of the 2023 holidays.
January 1 (Sunday) – New Year’s Day
Without a doubt, many of us look forward to the change of the year as this brings great hope and joy. Though there are various calendars depending on culture or religion like the Islamic and lunar calendars, nothing is more used as the common basis of the majority than the Gregorian calendar (named after Pope Gregory XIII) which is composed of 12 months beginning with January and ending in December.
However, the origin of the January 1 New Year celebration was pagan as this was first instituted by Roman Empire Emperor Julius Caesar to honor the month’s namesake: Janus, the Roman god of beginnings. In medieval Europe, Christian leaders temporarily replaced January 1 as the first of the year with days carrying more religious significance, such as December 25 (the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ) but Pope Gregory XIII reestablished January 1 as New Year’s Day in 1582.
February 25 (Saturday) – EDSA People Power Revolution Anniversary.
The 2023 commemoration of the EDSA People Power Revolution will mark its 37th Anniversary. This peaceful revolution has paved the way for political, social, and economic reforms in the country needed to recover from the havoc caused by the dictatorial regime under the Marcos Administration, especially during the later years of the Martial Law.
April 6 – Maundy Thursday, April 7 – Good Friday, and April 8 – Black Saturday
Being a predominantly Catholic nation, Christian in general, the Holy Week celebration is the cusps of the Christian faith. As such, numerous religious activities and traditions are highly valued by many like the Visita Iglesia, Pabasa, Senakulo, Easter Vigil, among others. The most recent legal basis of the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday holiday declaration is the Republic Act. No. 9492 enacted on January 30, 2007.
Black Saturday is traditionally declared as a Special non-working holiday to provide additional days for Filipinos to observe the Holy Week. Also, the Holy Week is also a high-time for the local tourism in the Philippines due to the long weekend celebrations.
Read Also: Bria Affordable House and Lots: Holy Week Traditions and Practices in the Philippines | Observing Holy Week Traditions in Pampanga, Philippines
April 9 (Sunday) – Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor)
At dawn on April 9th 1942, Major General King, of the United States Army was forced to surrender his forces of over 76,000 Filipino, Chinese and American soldiers to the Japanese in Bataan. Unprepared for the number of prisoners, the Japanese decided to walk the prisoners 150km to a prison camp in San Fernando. Over 20,000 prisoners died on this march either through starvation, exhaustion or at the hands of the Japanese. The trek became infamous as the ‘Bataan Death March’.
Read Also: Araw ng Kagitingan: A Celebration of Victory and Heroism of Filipino Freedom Fighters | Bria House and Lot
May 1 (Monday) – Labor Day
The first May Day celebrations focused on workers took place on May 1st 1890 after its proclamation by the first international congress of socialist parties in Europe on July 14th 1889 in Paris, France, to dedicate May 1st every year as the “Workers Day of International Unity and Solidarity.” Labor Day was first observed in the Philippines on May 1st 1903 when a hundred thousand workers marched through Malacañang, demanding fairer working conditions from the then American-led government.
On April 8th 1908, the Philippine Assembly passed a bill officially recognizing the first of May as a national holiday.
Read Also: Labor day: A Tribute to the Capeless and Invisible Heroes by Bria House and Lot
June 12 (Monday) – Independence Day
The 2023 Philippine Independence day will be the 125th Commemoration of its declaration. However, from 1946-1962 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. Only on May 12, 1962, President Diosdado Macapagal, officially reverted the date of the commemoration of independence from July 4 to June 12 every year through Proclamation No. 28, s. 1962.
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.
August 21 (Monday) – Ninoy Aquino Day
What historians say that sparked the EDSA People Power Revolution was the assasination of Senator Ninoy Aquino at the then Manila International Airport. Through the virtue of Republic Act 9256, August 21 of every year is declared a special non-working holiday in order to commemorate his death anniversary.
August 28 (last Monday of August) – National Heroes Day
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed Republic Act No. 9492 which amended Book 1, Chapter 7 of the Administrative Code. By the virtue of the said law, the celebration of the National Heroes Day is celebrated every last Monday of August to celebrate and provide an avenue for the Philippines as a nation to recognize the heroism done by our numerous heroes, both the named and unsung heroes.
November 1 (Wednesday) – All Saints’ Day and November 1 (Wednesday) – All Saints’ Day
These days mark a special place in the hearts and minds of the millions of Christian Filipinos across the country as we remember the lives and visit the graves of our dearly departed loved ones. According to the Proclamation of 2023 Holiday, November 2 was declared an additional special non-working holiday to boost local tourism as part of efforts to recover from the pandemic.
November 30 (Thursday) – Bonifacio Day
This day remembers the heroism of the Father of the Philippine Revolution, Andress C. Bonifacio. Because the exact date of his death is unknown – the commemoration of one’s heroism and martyrdom is remembered on the day of their death– his birthday became the basis for this celebration.
December 8 (Friday) – Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary
Through the Republic Act no. 10966, that actually lapsed into law, declared the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the principal patroness of the Philippines, as a national special non-working holiday.
December 25 (Monday) – Christmas Day
Without a doubt, one of the most looked forward holidays in the Philippines is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, Christmas day. The country is regarded as the country with the longest celebration of the holidays that starts with the coming of the “Ber” months in September and lasts until the celebration of the New Year.
Read Also: Bria House and Lot: Best Appliances to Give as a Gift this Christmas
December 30 (Saturday) – Rizal Day
This day marks the celebration and commemoration of the heroism of the Philippines’ de facto National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. This is the day when the Dr. Rizal was executed in Bagumbayan, now Luneta, because of a charge against him of being a traitor to Spain and the mastermind of the revolution.
To preserve the solemnity of the occasion President Elpidio Quirino signed Republic Act No. 229 in August 1948 that prohibits cock fighting, horse racing, and Jai-alai every 30 December.
December 31 (Sunday) – Last Day of the Year
To allow families to celebrate the yuletide season and New Year, the Proclamation of the 2023 Holidays included that last day of the year as a special non-working holiday.