Independence Day is the Philippines’ national holiday, commemorating the Philippines’ declaration of independence from Spanish colonial rule. This day is also known as Araw ng Kasarinlan or Araw ng Kalayaan, in Tagalog (translated as “Day of Freedom”).
The original Independence Day was held in 1898 in present day Kawit, Cavite where General Emilio Aguinaldo read out the The Act of the Declaration of Independence. Whilst this was an important milestone for Filipinos, the Spanish government did not recognise their independence. They then went on to give the Philippines to the United States after the Spanish-American war as part of the peace treaty. After a war and the Philippines’ own treaty with the United States, independence was granted to the Philippines on 4 July 1946, coinciding with the American Independence Day.
4 July was celebrated as Independence Day until 1964. After mounting pressure from the community, the government declared that 12 June would be The Philippines’ Independence Day and a national holiday. 4 July in the Philippines would then become the Philippines’ Republic Day.
The Philippines Independence Day is celebrated on 12 June. Being a national holiday, all workers – including government staff – are entitled to have the day off. Most people celebrate the day with family and friends either at home or in public areas such as parks and shopping malls.
A parade in Manila marks the official celebrations, attended by the President and government officials. The parade showcases the Philippines’ armed forces as well as some local organisations and the different ethnic groups of the Philippines. Firework displays are also held, particularly in Manila.