Philippine–Spanish Friendship Day

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right España y Filipinas, 1886 oil on canvas painting by Juan Luna

Philippine–Spanish Friendship Day (Spanish: 'Día de la Amistad Hispano-Filipina') celebrates the strong links between the Republic of the Philippines and the Kingdom of Spain every June 30. It commemorates the day when General Emilio Aguinaldo, president of the First Philippine Republic, issued a decree requiring the last Spanish soldiers who had been besieged for almost a year inside Baler's church be treated not as enemies and prisoners of war, but as friends. It also ordered that they receive the necessary permission for their return to Spain.

Senator Edgardo Angara, the Friendship Day's main sponsor, described this occasion as, "a glorious day for both countries because the Siege of Baler brought heroes and victory for both parties."[1] Today, it symbolizes the great friendship between both countries.


The Philippine–Spanish Friendship Day Bill was passed on July 22, 2002, and Republic Act No. 9187 was approved on February 5, 2003—both as means to strengthen the relationship between two nations that share history, values and traditions.

Republic Act No. 9187 states:

June 30 is a day when President Emilio Aguinaldo commended the besieged Spanish soldiers in the Church of Baler for their loyalty and gallantry. To mark this momentous occasion, there is a need to declare said day a national holiday to remember the act of benevolence which has paved the way in bridging better relations between Philippines and Spain.

The 30th of June of each year is hereby declared as Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day to commemorate the cultural and historical ties, friendship and cooperation between the Philippines and Spain. It is hereby declared as a national special working holiday and a special non-working holiday in Aurora Province.[2]

Siege of Baler[edit]

Philippine–Spanish Friendship Day relates to Siege of Baler. A group of Spanish soldiers garrisoned inside the town church in Baler, Aurora and defended the Spanish flag from July 1, 1898 to June 2, 1899 -- without knowing that Spain had already give its principal colony in Asia independence on December 10, 1898 by signing of the Treaty of Paris.

Heroism and stubbornness let the 33 soldiers, commanded by Captain Enrique de las Morenas y Fossí and Lieutenant Saturnino Martín y Cerezo, not only to survive, but to earn the respect of the revolutionary army of the Malolos Republic, whose safe return to Spain was ordered by General Emilio Aguinaldo. This group of soldiers came to be known as Los últimos de Filipinas (The last ones of the Philippines).

The Siege of Baler was led by Revolutionary Colonel Simon Ocampo Tecson of San Miguel, Bulacan, the field commanding officer - List of Filipino Generals in the Philippine Revolution of 1896 and the Filipino-American War of 1899.

Celebration in the Philippines[edit]

Bilateral relations between the Kingdom of Spain and the Republic of the Philippines had been steadily improving since the formal establishment of Sovereign Tagalog Nation in 1896, Republic of Biak-na-Bato in 1897, Cantonal Republic of Negros in 1898 and Malolos Republic and Republic of Zamboanga in 1899. The Republic of the Philippines and the Kingdom of Spain have renewed their 1947 Treaty of Friendship, expanding it to a Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation in the year 2000.[3] On June 30, 2003, the first celebration of Philippine–Spanish Friendship Day took place in the Philippine town of Baler, Aurora Province, with Senator Edgardo Angara as host. Guests for this first event were, among others, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (one of the directors of Philippine Academy of the Spanish Language) and the head of Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional (Spanish International Cooperation Agency), Dr. Rafael Rodríguez-Ponga Salamanca, the special representative for this occasion, who read an official message from H.M. the King of Spain. It is also celebrated yearly in the town of San Miguel, Bulacan in the house of Simon Tecson - Tecson House. It is the same house where the first Philippine Constitution was ratified with Emilio Aguinaldo.

Since 2003, this celebration has acquired more and more relevance and has kept growing in terms of the amount of activities and projects, which have been organised in different locations:

Region IIIBaler Region III – Malolos Amistad Duradera (Enduring Friendship)
Region III – Malolos Amistad Duradera
Region VIIloilo City Amistad Duradera
Region IXZamboanga City Amistad Duradera
Region III – Baler Region IVigan, Region VIIBohol, Region IX – Zamboanga City, and NCRManila[4] Amistad Duradera: Mga Larangan ng Pagtatagpo[4]
Region III – Baler[5] Amistad Duradera
Region III – Baler[6] Amistad Duradera
Region III – Baler[7]
Region III – Baler[8] Manila galleon

Celebration in Spain[edit]

Since 2006, Philippine–Spanish Friendship Day has been simultaneously celebrated and organised in different locations of Spain such as Madrid, Barcelona, Palencia and Almonte in Huelva.[9] In Madrid, several institutions such as the Philippine Embassy and the Asociación Cultural Galeón de Manila celebrate this Friendship Day since 2009.

Today, many titles of nobility were named after Philippine areas, such as the Vizcondado de Mindanao or Viscountship of Mindanao AND Condado de Jolo or County of Jolo--- both titles held by the Malcampo family and headed by Cristina Osorio Malcampo, the 8th Duchess of San Lorenzo de Valhermoso; Condado de la Conquista de Islas Batanes or the County of the Conquest of the Batanes Islands held by Jose Basco y Vargas, a governor general of the Philippines; Condado de Albay or the County of Albay held by Pedro de Govantes, a politician just like his uncle, the Prime Minister of Spain Marcelo Azcarraga y Palmero of Cuba whose very own mother Maria Versosa Palmero Lizarrabal of Albay was related to the Count of Lizarraga; and the Mayorazgo de Mariquina or the Mayoralty of Marikina held by the Chinese-Filipino Tuason family, now headed by Severo Tuason.

Also, many Filipinos held Spanish titles in their own right, such as Isabela de Ynchausti, Marquise of Viademonte and matriarch of the once powerful and entrepreneural Ynchausti clan; Margarita Zobel de Ayala, Countess of Peracamps (her husband Antonio Melian descended from General Van Halen of Barcelona), the Pardo de Tavera family who perhaps was the most powerful Filipino-Spanish family as their ancestor Juan Pardo de Tavera was Inquisitor General of Spain and the right hand of his Majesty King Philip II of Spain himself. They were descended from Guiomar Pardo de Tavera, the Marquise of Magahon and Countess of El Alcazar de Toledo, titles now held by the Dukes of Medinaceli); Isabel Preysler the mother of Enrique Iglesias and who was once Marquise of Grinyon, and now future Marquise of Vargas Llosa; Victoria Gonzalez Quirino, related to former Philippine President Elpidio Quirino and married to Manuel Alvarez de Toledo, 5th Duke of Zaragoza; and, Sylvia Landahl y Hagedorn who was married to Alvaro Moreno, the 8th Count of Los Andes (es) and 13th Marquis of La Eliseda.[10]

The current Queen of Spain Letizia's maternal grandmother Enriqueta Rodriguez Figarredo, was born in the Philippines, and while having pure Spanish blood, is considered Filipino for having been born in Manila during the times when Filipinos were also defined as Spaniards being born on Philippine soil, or insulares

Castile and LeónPalencia[11]

Celebration in other countries[edit]

2003 Tel Aviv, Israel[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Baler recuerda a los 'últimos de Filipinas' en Día Amistad Hispano-filipina" [Baler remembers the "Last ones of the Philippines" in Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day] (in Spanish). Spain: Terra Noticias ( June 30, 2007. Archived from the original on July 20, 2010. Retrieved July 20, 2010. 
  2. ^ Congress of the Philippines (2003). "Republic Act No. 9187: An Act declaring June 30 of the year as Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day, appropriating funds therefor and for other purposes". Metro Manila, Philippines. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 15, 2010. Retrieved July 17, 2010. 
  3. ^ Rómulo, Alberto (June 30, 2005). "Remarks of the Honorable Alberto G. Rómulo, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, on the occasion of the Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day". Baler, Philippines: Department of Foreign Affairs ( Archived from the original on July 17, 2005. Retrieved July 20, 2010. The Philippines and Spain have renewed their 1947 Treaty of Friendship, expanding it to a Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation in the year 2000. 
  4. ^ a b Lapus, Jesli (June 19, 2007). "Department of Education Memorandum No. 243, s. 2007: Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day". Philippines: Department of Education ( Archived from the original (PDF) on July 20, 2010. Retrieved July 21, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Baler Hosts 6th Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day". Manila, Philippines: Senate of the Philippines 14th Congress ( June 30, 2008. Archived from the original on July 20, 2010. Retrieved July 21, 2010. 
  6. ^ Lee, M.a Glaiza (August 29, 2009). "Courage and honor in the face of adversaries". Manila, Philippines: Manila Bulletin. Archived from the original on July 22, 2010. Retrieved July 22, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Philippine Spanish Friendship Day". National Historical Commission of the Philippines. June 24, 2010. Retrieved November 24, 2011. 
  8. ^ "9th Philippine Spanish Friendship Day Successfully Held in Baler". Senate of the Philippines. June 30, 2011. Retrieved November 24, 2011. 
  9. ^ Angara, Edgardo (June 24, 2010). "On the celebration of the 8th Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day". Manila, Philippines: Senate of the Philippines 14th Congress ( Archived from the original on July 19, 2010. Retrieved July 20, 2010. and in Spain in Madrid, Barcelona, Palencia, Almonte in Huelva 
  10. ^ "Álvaro Moreno de Arteaga". Retrieved November 26, 2017. 
  11. ^ Angara, Edgardo (July 2, 2006). "Of friends and allies". Manila, Philippines: Manila Bulletin ( Archived from the original on July 22, 2010. Retrieved July 22, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Snapshots". Philippines: Inquirer Global Nation ( August 11, 2003. Archived from the original on July 21, 2010. Retrieved July 22, 2010. Overseas Filipino workers celebrate Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day in Tel Aviv, Israel. 

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