Independence Day Philippines is one of the most important events celebrated in the country because after more than 300 years of being under the Spanish rule, the Pearl of the Orient Seas has been freed.

In this blog, you will learn about the history of the Philippine Independence and some unknown facts that were not usually stated in the books. 

About Independence Day Philippines

The Independence Day Philippines is commemorated every June 12. After hundreds of years under the Spanish rule, Emilio Aguinaldo has waved the Philippine flag for the very first time and declared independence in Kawit, Cavite.

What’s inside this blog?

Philippine Independence Day History: When is Philippine Independence declared?

Between the 16th and 19th centuries, the Philippines was under the Spanish rule. In 1896, Filipinos attempted to break free, which resulted in what’s called the Philippine Revolution. 

When Emilio Aguinaldo declared Philippine independence on June 12, 1898, it lacked two essential elements of statehood: territory and sovereignty. The territory lacked legitimacy that comes from recognition by other states. And since the Philippines was still under Spanish rule at that time, Aguinaldo’s government also lacked sovereignty. 

In August 1898 when the Philippine Revolution ended, the Philippine-American War took place the following year, and the Philippine was colonized by America for the next 50 years. Then on July 4, 1946, the Philippines gained independence from the West. That was the time when the Philippines officially became a state where it had people, territory, government, and sovereignty.

So why do we greet each other a happy independence day on the 12th of June instead of the fourth of July? You’ll find out below.

A commonly overlooked fact about Philippine history is that there are many events in which Filipinos or their colonizers declared independence in the Philippines. You will find out about the many declarations of the Philippine Independence as you read on. 

However, the law recognizes that the commemoration of the Philippine Independence is and must be June 12, 1898. This is all thanks to then President Diosdado Macapagal who moved the PH Independence Day from July 4 1946 to June 12 1898. 

On June 12, 1962, Macapagal explained in an address why he moved the Philippines’ Independence Day to June 12 1898. According to him, it was only correct to recognize June 12 as the country’s true independence day because it was the birth of the independent Filipino nation. Various leaders of local governments nationwide gave their extraordinary support and unity to the proclamation of June 12 as independence day. 

Macapagal also stressed that it doesn’t matter whether actual independence was in effect during or after the proclamation. Specifying the situation of America, Macapagal argued that when the United States declared its independence from England on July 4, 1776, it was only after 7 years on September 3, 1783 when their former mother country formally recognized the America’s independence.

“Nevertheless, the American people have regarded July 4 as their day of freedom. In the same way, June 12, 1898 is the true birthday of an independent Filipino nation, for it was on this day that they called the whole world to witness their powerful resolve to consider themselves absolved of allegiance to the Spanish crown,” said Macapagal.

He also said that there had been other Asian revolutions before, but the revolution which culminated on June 12, 1898 was the first successful national revolution in Asia since the coming of the West, and the Republic to which it gave birth, was the first democratic Republic outside of the Western hemisphere.

“The irrefutable claim of June 12 as our day of freedom is bolstered by the fact that it is the culmination of many acts of patriotism and nationalism. June 12 1898 is pregnant with meaning not only for our people as the birthday of their sovereign nation but also for the world, since it was our Filipino patriots and leaders, Rizal, Aguinaldo and Bonifacio, who led the nations of Asia in breaking the chains of colonialism in order that they may breathe the fresh air of individual liberty and national dignity,” Macapagal said.

Araw ng Kalayaan date falls on June 12 because it was the day when Filipinos showed the world how much Filipinos value freedom and democracy, proving that we can stand on our own. Hence, the birth of the independence day PH.


Facts About Independence Day Philippines

1. PH independence day was declared several times

Some of the most notable proclamations include Andres Bonifacio’s declaration on April 12, 1895 and Emilio Aguinaldo’s on October 31, 1896.

Then on October 14, 1943, Japan symbolically granted independence to the Pearl of the Orient Seas by establishing a new government headed by its Filipino president, Jose P. Laurel. Historians branded Laurel’s government as “Puppet Government” because of the tight control that the Japanese wielded over its affairs.

But the official Araw ng Kalayaan date as stated by the law is June 12, 1898.

2. President Diosdado Macapagal moved the Independence Day from July 4, 1946 to June 12, 1898

Yes, that’s right. Phil independence day was actually July 4, 1946 but Macapagal has all the good reasons to move it to June 12, 1898.

“The irrefutable claim of June 12 as our day of freedom is bolstered by the fact that it is the culmination of many acts of patriotism and nationalism. June 12 1898 is pregnant with meaning not only for our people as the birthday of their sovereign nation but also for the world, since it was our Filipino patriots and leaders, Rizal, Aguinaldo and Bonifacio, who led the nations of Asia in breaking the chains of colonialism in order that they may breathe the fresh air of individual liberty and national dignity,” Macapagal said.

3. Visayas does not represent one of the three stars on the Philippine flag

The three stars on the Philippine flag represent the islands of Luzon, Panay, and Mindanao. Back then, Panay was referred to as one of the archipelago’s three principal islands.

4. Emilio Aguinaldo visited Marcela Agoncillo was asked by Emilio Aguinaldo to make the flag while she was in Hong Kong

“In the house at No. 535, Morrison Hill, where I lived with my family, exiled from our country on account of the national cause, I had the good fortune to make the first Philippine flag under the direction of an illustrious leader, General Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy. It took me five days to make the national flag, and when completed, I myself delivered it to General Aguinaldo before boarding the transport McCulloch… General Aguinaldo is the best witness who can give the information whether or not that flag was the first to be displayed in Cavite at the beginning of the revolutionary government against the government of Spain in these islands,” Marcela Agoncillo wrote in an account.

5. The very first anniversary of the declaration was celebrated in Angeles, Pampanga.


Places that are Significant in the Philippine Independence

1. Cavite

aguinaldo shrine makasaysayang lugar sa pilipinas

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Kawit, Cavite is the most significant place in the Philippine Independence Day History because this was where Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed the independence day PH on June 12, 1898, gave his independence day speech, and waved the Philippine flag for the very  first time. This was also the place where  the Marcha Nacional Filipina, which became the music to the Philippines national anthem, was first heard.

2. Manila

intramuros makasaysayang lugar sa pilipinas

Manila has played a huge role in the June 12 independence day we have today because this is the place where many battles have been fought and the place where some of the highest officials are based during the Spanish rule. One of the most notable places in Manila that reminds us of the war is the Intramuros. While Luneta Park, also known as Bagumbayan, was the place where Dr. Jose Rizal was shot. So in case you’re planning to commemorate independence day 2021, these are the best places to be.

3. Laguna

Rizal Shrine Laguna Independence Day Philippines

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

We wouldn’t be celebrating a happy independence day if not for the strong and brave Filipino warriors who have fought against our colonizers. One of these people is none other than Dr. Jose Rizal. He was born in Calamba, Laguna and spent his early childhood there. In Laguna, he learned a lot of things and grew up to be a bright young boy thanks to his family, especially his mother Teodora Alonso. The province has partly shaped the young Rizal’s mind. 

Fast forward to his adult life, Rizal quickly emerged as a leading Propagandist. His novels Noli Me Tángere (Touch Me Not; 1887) and El filibusterismo (The Reign of Greed; 1891) exposed the corruption of Manila Spanish society and stimulated the movement for independence. These novels sparked the revolution that led to the country’s independence.

Suggested article: Top 17 Laguna Tourist Spots to Visit if You Want An Ultimate Relaxation

4. Rizal

tinipak river

Named after the Philippine hero, Rizal Province also has a huge role in the Philippines’ independence. Andres Bonifacio, along with seven comrades of the Katipunan who included Emilio Jacinto, hiked the mountain and found the cave, which was a suitable hideout and meeting place. There, they recruited new members into the Katipunan, after which, Bonifacio wrote the informal declaration of independence on the cave’s wall.

On April 12, 1895, Bonifacio proclaimed Philippine independence inside the Pamitinan Cave in Rodriguez, Rizal. Bonifacio wrote “Viva la independencia Filipinas!” (Long live the Philippine independence!) using a piece of charcoal on the wall of the cave. 

Must-read: 10 Must-See Rizal Tourist Spots for an Amazing Adventure in 2021


Frequently Asked Questions About Independence Day Philippines

Q: Why is Independence Day important in the Philippines?
A: Celebrating a happy independence day every June 12 in the Philippines is important to the Filipino people because this is the time where the country has gained independence from the hundreds of years of colonialism. 

Q: When is Philippine Independence declared?
A: The Philippine Law recognizes that the Philippine Independence Day is on June 12, 1898. However, a commonly overlooked fact is that there are many events in which Filipinos or their colonizers declared independence in the Philippines. 

Q: When is Araw ng Kalayaan date?
A: The Araw ng Kalayaan date is June 12, 1898.

Q: Who proclaimed the Philippine independence?
A: During the Spanish-American War, Filipino rebels led by Emilio Aguinaldo proclaim the independence of the Philippines after 300 years of Spanish rule.

Q: Why is Independence Day in the Philippines not July 4 1946?
A: On June 12, 1962, Macapagal said he moved the Philippines’ Independence Day from July 4 1946 to June 12 1898 because it was the birth of the independent Filipino nation. Various leaders of local governments nationwide gave their extraordinary support and unity to the proclamation of June 12 as independence day. 

Q: When is American Philippine Friendship Day?
A: American Philippine Friendship Day is celebrated every July 4.

Q: What is the Independence Day meaning?
A: The meaning of independence day is a holiday celebrating the anniversary of a country’s independence from another country that ruled it in the past.

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