Friday, June 12, 2015

Happy Independence Day, Philippines!

Filipinos mark Independence Day to commemorate General Emilio Aguinaldo’s declaration of independence from Spain in June 12, 1898.

But did you know that this has not always been the case?

1. It was only in 1964 that Philippines began celebrating Independence Day on June 12. Filipinos used to mark Independence Day on July 4, the day the U.S. granted Philippine independence, which is now called the Filipino-American Friendship Day.

2. Aguinaldo’s declaration of Philippine independence was not recognized by both Spain and the U.S. since the Spaniards sold the archipelago to the Americans in the Treaty of Paris on Dec. 10, 1898.

3. The first declaration of independence was prepared and written in Spanish by lawyer Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista, a distant relative of national hero Jose Rizal. Bautista also read the declaration in Cavite el Viejo.

4. The original copy of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence is being kept in the National Library. It was among the many revolutionary papers stolen from the Library. The 21-page document was returned only in 1994 by University of the Philippines professor Milagros Guerrero, who acted as a mediator to retrieve the stolen papers.

5. Aguinaldo’s declaration of independence in 1898 also marked the first time the Philippine flag was flown. This is why before 1964, June 12 is celebrated in the Philippines as Flag Day.

6. Since June 12 was designated as Independence Day, the celebration of Flag Day instead commemorated the Battle of Alapan on May, 28, 1898, when the Philippine flag was first unfurled in the battlefield.
Juani Guirado waves the Philippine flag. (Czeasar Dancel/NPPA Images)
7. The Philippine flag was designed by Aguinaldo and handsewn in Hong Kong by three ladies: Marcela Agoncillo, a diplomat’s wife; her five-year-old daughter Lorenza; and Delfina Herbosa de Natividad, Rizal’s niece by sister Lucia.

8. The Philippine flag’s design is inspired by the flag of the United States and countries which also fought Spanish rule, including Cuba, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Peru and Uruguay. Symbolisms used in flags used by the revolutionary movement “Katipunan” also prominently figure in the national colors.

9. A unique feature of the Philippine flag is how its colors may be used to signal that the country is under a state of war. In times of peace, the flag is flown with the blue strip on top. The red stripe is on top during war.

10. Although now taken to signify the three island groups in the Philippines—Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao—the thee stars in the Philippine flag originally represented Luzon, Panay and Mindanao.

“[T]he tree stars, signifying the three principal Islands of these Archipelago – Luzon, Mindanao, and Panay where the revolutionary movement started…” the Declaration of Independence read.

11. June 12, 1898 was also the first time the national anthem was performed. The anthem composed by Julian Felipe was originally entitled “Marcha Filipina Magdalo.”

12. The lyrics of the national anthem now known as “Lupang Hinirang” have been adapted from a Spanish poem entitled “Filipinas,” written by Jose Palma and originally published in La Independencia in 1899.


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