Why Do We Celebrate Independence Day in the Philippines?

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Illustrated by DJ Lumpia

Just like Araw ng Kagitingan, Filipinos celebrate Independence Day every year, on June 12.  This annual commemoration of our country’s freedom is a public holiday. Traditionally, it is celebrated all over the archipelago with colors and splendor. Now, with the current pandemic, we are bound to celebrate it online, with our unlimited high speed internet.

The observance of the nation’s independence day is not merely an ordinary event. It is remembering a significant milestone in Philippine history. We pay tribute to our national heroes who sacrificed their lives to fight for freedom. It is also the time when we should appreciate our sovereignty and nationalism as we celebrate our culture and traditions as citizens of this land.

Holiday Around the Country

As a national holiday, government offices, schools, and some businesses are closed. This is an opportunity for individuals to join in the celebratory activities. For some, it is a chance for families to enjoy bonding together – be it in the mall, in a park, or simply at home. 

Prior to the COVID pandemic, Independence Day is marked with grandiose celebrations spearheaded by government agencies, local government units, or civil society groups. Raising of huge flags are held in town plazas, followed by elaborate ceremonies to honor the country’s heroes. Streets everywhere also fly the banner to remind people of this most important affair.

Declaration of Philippine Independence 

It was on June 12, 1898 when General Emilio Aguinaldo declared the country’s independence in Kawit, Cavite. This was one of the first occasions when the new national flag was shown and waved to the public. It was also in this momentous occasion when the people first heard the Philippine national anthem, then dubbed as the ‘Marcha Nacional Filipina’.

However, this declaration was not recognized by the Spaniards who colonized the country for more than 300 years. The war against the Spaniards ended in August 1898. But the European colonizers did not yield the country to the Filipino revolutionaries. The signing of the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898, paved way for the Philippines to be ceded by Spain to the United States. Consequently, this was the beginning of the American occupation.

What About July 4?

After colonizing the Philippines for more than 30 years, the Americans granted freedom to the Filipinos. The United States chose July 4 so that it coincided with their own independence. On July 4, 1946, the Republic of the Philippines was officially given its independence.

On one hand, several Filipino patriots considered June 12 as the rightful day of independence. This included former President Diosdado Macapagal who moved the celebration of Philippine independence from July 4 to June 12

According to Macapagal, June 12 was the nation’s true independence day. He said it was in this the day when Filipinos demonstrated their courage and determination to the rest of the world and truly stood on their own. His proclamation later garnered immense support from various leaders throughout the country.

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Photo by Bohol Chronicle

June 12 as Philippine Independence Day

As conveyed in an official article, it was in 1962 that President Macapagal issued Proclamation No. 28, that effectively moved the date of Philippine independence from July 4 to June 12. This was the date the Filipinos were granted independence from Spain as proclaimed by Emilio Aguinaldo in Kawit, Cavite. 

Finally, in 1964, the Congress of the Philippines passed Republic Act No. 4166, which formally designated June 12 of every year as the date commemorating the anniversary of the proclamation of the country’s independence. Likewise, it remains as the foundation date when the nation was recognized as a modern, independent republic by the world community.

July 4 has been designated as “Philippine-American Friendship Day”.

Important Reasons to Celebrate Independence Day

Throughout the year, Filipinos celebrate several holidays. But, as a valued milestone in our country’s rich history, the Independence Day is truly significant. As the commemoration of Independence Day is fast approaching, let us enumerate major reasons why we are celebrating this national event.

1. To celebrate nationhood and appreciate our sovereignty 

Filipinos should be grateful that as a nation, we are free to direct our own destiny. This is the true meaning and purpose of sovereignty. It has bestowed on the people the full right and power to govern themselves without interference from external state or forces.

Our ancestors have fought hard for the attainment of our liberty. This led to the free nation that we are part of today. The birth of a nation is already a fascinating reason to celebrate Independence Day.

2. To honor our national and local heroes

If not for Lapu-Lapu, Andres Bonifacio, Antonio Luna, Melchora Aquino, and our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, among others, we would not be experiencing the freedom that we are relishing in the present time. We honor and pay tribute to these men and women whose valiant deeds pave way for our country to attain its independence. 

We may never truly repay the immeasurable debt we owe our national heroes, but commemorating how they devoted their lives for this nation is already an amazing endeavor. Remembering them on our freedom day is a form of affirmation that their ideals of justice, equality, and opportunity are emulated in the present generation. 

In this time of the pandemic, it is also fitting and proper to honor and recognize the sacrifices of the healthcare workers, medical frontliners, and other essential workers who selflessly dedicated their lives and services for the safety and protection of the people.

3. To show our love for country

It is always good to showcase our love for our motherland. What better way to show our devotion for our country than taking part in activities to celebrate the anniversary of our independence? We can demonstrate this love in numerous different ways. Even the small things such as displaying the flag in our homes or learning more about our nation’s history are great expressions of our love for country.

As law abiding citizens, we can also do things such as maintaining the cleanliness of the surroundings or doing actions to conserve our environment. Moreover, since we are in the midst of a health crisis, adhering to minimum public health standards and following quarantine protocols are remarkable ways to exhibit the ideals of being a good citizen of this country.


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Photo by Filipino Journal

4. To spread awareness of Filipino culture

The commemoration of our independence is also an opportunity to promote Filipino culture, tradition, and heritage. Our culture is a reflection of our great history as a nation. We are truly blessed that we have rich and colorful assemblage of heritage from the different parts of the country.

In this era of technological advancement, our lifestyle may have been influenced by practices from the Western countries. Nevertheless, it is never too late to reconnect with our indigenous roots and cultural identity. We can find richness in our culture through our values as Filipinos, our languages and dialects, our native cuisines, our songs and dances, our legends and folklores, and our traditional clothes, among others. 

Technology, particularly the use of the internet, can be valuable in spreading awareness of the Filipino culture and traditions.

5. To know our history as a nation

Studying the history of our nation is essential because one has to understand the past in order to gain wisdom on how to deal with the present. It is necessary to trace our roots so that our distinctiveness as a people and as a community will be grounded on strong historical tradition.

Through the study of history, our pursuit to accomplish our goals in the present and in the future will be abounded with confidence. More so, whatever mistakes that were committed by our ancestors in the past will not be repeated at the present time. Thus, we can fashion our own mechanisms and strategies on dealing with challenges by applying the wisdom gained from the past.

6. To remind us of our patriotic duties

We need not go to war to fulfill our patriotic responsibilities. Although there are concerns that the sense of patriotism is slowly waning among Filipinos, it is opportune to rekindle this trait in our hearts and minds, particularly to the younger generation.

We can start by patronizing local goods and products that can be found in our respective communities. With the help of the internet, we can promote these indigenous products and showcase them to the world.

7. To celebrate our uniqueness as a nation

It cannot be denied that the Filipino people are the primary assets of this country. Filipinos are known to be a “happy” people. We are optimistic and resilient individuals. That despite challenges and obstacles that may our way, we are still able to look at life with hope and put a smile on our faces.

Our identity as Filipinos makes us unique as a nation. For this reason alone, we know we deserve to celebrate our liberty.

Commemorate Independence Day Amidst the Pandemic with Your Unlimited High Speed Internet

As the country still grapples from the COVID pandemic, mass gatherings and large celebrations in general are still put on hold. However, as citizens of this country, we can still commemorate the Independence Day even in the comfort of our homes. Thanks to our reliable, unlimited high speed internet, we are able to express our love for our country through the following ways:

1. Join Virtual Commemorations

Government agencies, academic institutions, and other organizations stream their programs and activities during Independence Day via their social media platforms. Since last year, we have witnessed virtual commemorations from various localities. With the pandemic still not over, these ceremonies will likely be held using the digital realm this year. You can still take part in these activities by sharing these streams on your own social media accounts or pages. All you need to ensure is that you have unlimited high speed internet, and you’re good to go.

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2. Post Social Media Cards and Infographics

There are several applications and software that will unleash your creativity in crafting social media cards and infographics. These artistic outputs can very well draw interest for our family and friends who can also share them in their social media platforms.

 

3. Read More on Philippine History and Literature

 

You may have tackled our country’s history and literature in school. Knowing more about our history as a nation and spending time to read our literature go beyond textbooks. You can always find interesting stories and articles that will allow yourselves to gain valuable perspectives on how society works. 

 

4. Binge-watch Philippine Historical Films and Shows

A fun way to learn more about our country’s history is through binge-watching some historical films and shows on Netflix or iFlix. These films and television programs will showcase the rich culture of our native land. Furthermore, these can arouse the sense of patriotism in us.  Through unlimited high speed internet, viewing these movies will definitely be worth your day and a well-spent time to celebrate the country’s freedom day.

5. Display the Philippine Flag in our Homes

 

The flag is the nation’s most precious symbol. This is the perfect season to showcase how we revere one of our country’s official emblems. You may display it in your homes or in your car. 

 

6. Do Vlogs on Filipino History and Culture

Since vlogging has been an “in thing” nowadays, why not engage in shooting a video featuring your knowledge on Filipino history and culture? You can tackle range of topics including our national heroes, our local cuisine, or significant events that help shape the history of our nation. After creating such vlog, you may want to share it on various social media platforms using unlimited high speed internet.

 

Celebrate Independence Day Using Fast and Reliable Fiber Internet

Unlimited High Speed Internet - Streamtech

A meaningful and purposeful celebration of Independence Day can still be made possible even if you are just staying at home. Through fast, reliable, and unlimited fiber internet, you can engage in virtual activities during this national holiday. 

If want to get unlimited high speed internet from an amazing internet service provider, then you should subscribe to Streamtech. As the newest wave in fiber internet in the Philippines, Streamtech offers affordable home fiber plans that suit your needs. This high-speed internet can also be bundled with cable TV services through Planet Cable.

Subscribe to Streamtech now and enjoy upgraded internet experience and enhanced connectivity! Visit its website and Official FB Page for more details.

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