Filipinos across the globe celebrate Philippine Independence Day every year. While we all know how important this day is, there is always something new to learn about Philippines rich history. To mark 120th Independence Day, Yes Philippines NewsMagazine listed down some interesting facts.

Araw ng Kalayaan Was Previously Observed Every Fourth of July

Our history classes told us how Emilio Aguinaldo declared the country’s independence on June 12, 1898 in Kawit, Cavite. The national flag was flown, and there was a national march. We, the Filipino people, were finally free from the three-century-long Spanish occupation.

What many of us do not know is that the Philippine Independence Day hasn’t always been celebrated on the 12th of June. For more than 15 years, from 1946 to 1962, Filipinos have observed Araw ng Kalayaan on July 4, the day when the US government granted the Philippines’ independence. The question now is how a foreign government could “give” us independence if we were already a sovereign nation.

As it turned out, the Declaration of Independence and the Malolos Constitution, both formally created and ratified in 1898, did not stop the Treaty of Paris from happening. In the same year, the Spanish government made an agreement that relinquishes the Philippines to the United States for US$20 million. From then on, the Philippines had been under the rule of Uncle Sam, which only recognized our independence on July 4, 1946.

Years after, President Diosdado Macapagal, declared June 12 as the official Philippines Independence Day in Proclamation no. 28, s. In 1964, the county began observing Araw ng Kalayaan on June 12. The 4th of July, on the other hand, became Filipino-American Friendship Day.

Hong Kong is the first home to the National Flag

While exiled in Hong Kong in 1897, Emilio Aguinaldo designed the flag’s earlier version. It was later on handsewn by Filipinas who were also in exile, namely Marcela Mariño Agoncillo, her daughter Lorenza, and Delfina Herbosa de Natividad, Dr. Jose Rizal’s niece. After five days of hard work, Emilio Aguinaldo’s sketch was turned into a tangible flag made with fine silk and filled with symbolisms.

Bringing the flag with him, Aguinaldo came home in 1898. To recognize Filipino’s victory in the Battle of Alapan, the Philippine flag was waived for the first time on May 28, 1898. It was eventually revealed to the public during the declaration of independence in Kawit, Cavite.

In the Beginning, You Can’t Sing the Anthem. You Can Only March to It

The national anthem, then known as Marcha Nacional Filipina, was first played on June 12, 1898 as a marching music without lyrics. A year after, the Spanish poem written by Jose Palma was adapted and became the words of the national anthem. In 1938, the anthem was officially titled Lupang Hinirang.

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