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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Philippine Independence Day

The proclamation of Indpendence in Kawit, Cavite. Source: Google Photos
Proclamation of Independence

It was June 12, 1898 where one of the most significant events in Philippine history happened in Kawit, Cavite which is the Proclamation of Philippine independence. Thousands of people from the provinces gathered in Kawit to witness the historic event. The ceremony was held at the balcony of General Emilio Aguinaldo's residence.

A dramatic feature of the ceremony was the formal unfurling of the Filipino flag amidst the cheers of the people. At the same time, the Philippine National Anthem was played by the band. Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista solemnly read the "Act of Declaration of Independence" which he himself wrote. The declaration was signed by 98 persons.

The Filipino Flag

The Philippine flag. Source: Google Photos
The Filipino flag was made in Hong Kong by Marcela de Agoncillo. During his exile in Hong Kong, General Aguinaldo designed the Filipino flag as it looks today. Agoncillo sewed it with the help of her daughter Lorenza and Mrs. Delfina Herbosa (niece of Dr. Jose Rizal). 

It was made of silk with a white triangle at the left containing a sunburst of eight rays at the center, a five-pointed star at each angle of the triangle, an upper stripe dark blue and a lower stripe of red. The white triangle stands for equality; the upper blue stripe for peace, truth and justice; and the lower red stripe for patriotism and valor. The sunburst of eight rays inside the triangle represented the first eight provinces that took up arms against Spain. The three stars symbolized Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

The Philippine National Anthem

The Philippine National Anthem. Source: himig.com
The Philippine National Anthem was composed by Julian Felipe, a music teacher and composer from Cavite. He finished it on June 11, 1898 and showed it to General Aguinaldo who instantly liked it because of its stirring melody. The following day, the music band of San Francisco de Malabon played it for the first time during the unfurling of the Filipino flag in Kawit. For more than a year, the anthem remained without words. Towards the end of August 1899, a young poet-soldier named Jose Palma wrote the poem entitled "Filipinas." This poem expressed in elegant Spanish verses the ardent patriotism and the fighting spirit of the Filipino people. It became the words of the anthem. At last, the national anthem was complete with music and words.

Source: The Philippines: A Unique Nation by Sonia M. Zaide

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