Independence Day (Philippines)

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This article is about the national holiday. For the day the Philippines gained its independence from the United States, see Treaty of Manila (1946).
Independence Day[1]
Araw ng Kalayaan
Casa del general Aguinaldo en Cavite, Luzón, Filipinas.jpg
Aguinaldo Shrine where Emilio Aguinaldo declared the country's independence from Spain
Official name Araw ng Kasarinlan
Also called Araw ng Kalayaan
Twelfth of June
Observed by Philippines
Type National
Significance Declaring Philippine Independence from Spain
Date June 12
Next time 12 June 2015 (2015-06-12)
Frequency annual
Related to Republic Day

Independence Day (Filipino: Araw ng Kasarinlan; also Araw ng Kalayaan, lit. "Day of Freedom") is an annual national holiday in the Philippines observed on June 12, commemorating the Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain on June 12, 1898. It is the country's National Day.

The day of celebration of independence varied throughout the nation's history. The earliest recorded was on April 12, 1895, when Andres Bonifacio wrote Viva la independencia Filipina!, in walls of Pamitinan Cave in Montalban, Rizal. Bonifacio also led the Cry of Pugad Lawin, which signals the beginning of Philippine Revolution. A declaration was also made on September 2, 1945, after the country liberated from Japanese occupation, and the formal surrender of Japanese forces. The formal recognition of independence from the United States was on July 4, 1946 through Treaty of Manila, however. The current date was formalized by Proclamation no. 2695 by President Diosdado Macapagal, establishing June 12 as the celebration date and to commemorate the Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain, declared by President Emilio Aguinaldo.[2]


The Proclamation of Independence on June 12, 1898, as depicted on the back of the Philippine five peso bill.

The Philippine Revolution began in August 1896. In December 1897 the Pact of Biak-na-Bato, an agreement between the Spanish colonial government and the revolutionaries, created a truce between the parties. Under terms of this agreement, Emilio Aguinaldo and other revolutionary leaders went into exile in Hong Kong.[3]

At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, Commodore George Dewey sailed from Hong Kong to Manila Bay leading the Asiatic Squadron of the U.S. Navy. On May 1, 1898, the Dewey defeated the Spanish in the Battle of Manila Bay. Later that month, the U.S. Navy transported Aguinaldo back to the Philippines.[4]

On June 12, 1898, Aguinaldo led the declaration of Philippine independence from Spanish colonial rule, this event took place in the Aguinaldo house, located in what was then known as Cavite El Viejo. The Acta de la Proclamacion de la Independencia del Pueblo Filipino was solemnly read by its author, Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista, Aguinaldo’s war counselor and special delegate. The Marcha Nacional Filipina was first played by the band of San Francisco de Malabon.

Philippines independence was not recognized either by the United States of America or by Spain. The Spanish government later ceded the Philippine archipelago to the United States in the 1898 Treaty of Paris. However, the Philippines Revolutionary Government did not recognize the treaty. When the Americans sought to execute the terms of the treaty, a three-year conflict, now called the Philippine-American War, ensued.[5][6]

The United States of America granted independence to the Philippines on July 4, 1946 through the Treaty of Manila.[7]

July 4, the date chosen by the United States because it corresponds to its Independence Day, was observed in the Philippines as Independence Day until 1962. On May 12, 1962, President Diosdado Macapagal issued Presidential Proclamation No. 28, which declared Thursday, June 12 a special public holiday throughout the Philippines, "... in commemoration of our people's declaration of their inherent and inalienable right to freedom and independence.[8]" On August 4, 1964, Republic Act No. 4166 renamed July 4 holiday as "Philippine Republic Day", proclaimed June 12 as "Philippine Independence Day", and enjoined all citizens of the Philippines to observe the latter with befitting rites.[9]

Flag Day[edit]

Prior to 1964, June 12 had been observed as Flag Day in the country. In 1965 President Diosdado Macapagal issued Proclamation No. 374, which moved National Flag Day to May 28 (the date the Philippine Flag was first flown in battle in Alapan, Imus, Cavite in 1898). In 1994, President Fidel V. Ramos issued Executive Order No. 179, extending the celebration period extended period to range from May 28 to Philippine Independence Day on June 12, ordering government departments, agencies, offices, government owned and controlled corporations, state agencies, and local government units, and even private establishments, to prominently display the National Flag in all public buildings, government institutions, and official residences during this period, and ordering the Department of Education, in coordination with the private sector, non-government organizations, and socio-civic groups, to enjoin the prominent display of the National Flag in all public squares and, whenever practicable, in all private buildings and homes in celebration of national independence.[10][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ President of the Philippines. "DECLARING THE REGULAR HOLIDAYS, SPECIAL (NON-WORKING) DAYS, AND SPECIAL HOLIDAY (FOR ALL SCHOOLS) FOR THE YEAR 2013". PROCLAMATION NO. 459. Official Gazzette, Philippine National Governemtn. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  2. ^ National Independence
  3. ^ Halstead, Murat (1898). The Story of the Philippines and Our New Possessions, Including the Ladrones, Hawaii, Cuba and Porto Rico. p. 126. 
  4. ^ Agoncillo,, Teodor A. (1990). History of the Filipino people ([8th ed.]. ed.). Quezon City: Garotech. p. 157. ISBN 978-9718711064. 
  5. ^ De Ojeda, Jaime. [ “The Spanish–American War of 1898: A Spanish View.” Library of Congress: Hispanic Division.
  6. ^ Koenig, Louis W. (1982). The Presidency of William McKinley by Lewis L. Gould: Review. Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 12, No. 3: pg. 448.
  7. ^ TREATY OF GENERAL RELATIONS BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. SIGNED AT MANILA, ON 4 JULY 1946 (PDF), United Nations, archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-23, retrieved 2007-12-10 
  8. ^ Diosdado Macapagal, Proclamation No. 28 Declaring June 12 as Philippine Independence Day, Philippine History Group of Los Angeles, retrieved 2009-11-11 
  10. ^ The Flag Days: May 28 to June 12, May 27, 2014, Official Gazette of the Philippine Government,
  11. ^ Executive Order No. 179, s. 1994, May 24, 1994, Official Gazette of the Philippine Government.