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Philippine Flag

DID YOU KNOW: Philippine Independence Day

How much do you know about Philippine Independence Day? Find out how much you really know about one of the most important historical events of the country by reading these little-known facts.

Did you know that …

1. The early version of our National Anthem was composed by a Filipino in Hong Kong and brought home by Aguinaldo. However, Aguinaldo preferred a more martial beat and requested Julian Felipe to do some revisions.

Felipe incorporated in his composition some features of the Spanish Royal March, which Aguinaldo approved. The composition, titled “Marcha Nacional Filipino,” was played by the musical band of San Francisco de Malabon on June 12, 1898.

2. The lyrics of “Marcha Nacional Filipino” were written the following year. It started as a poem written by Jose Palma, a younger brother of Rafael Palma.

Titled “Filipinas,” the poem was published by the revolutionary newspaper La Independencia on Sept. 3, 1899. The staff of La Independencia recited the verses of “Filipinas” to the tune of “Marcha Nacional Filipino,” hence popularizing our present national anthem.

3. According to Julian Felipe, the proclamation of Philippine independence took place on a Sunday, between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Ambrosio Rianzares, then adviser of Emilio Aguinaldo, read the Act of Proclamation of Philippine Independence, inspired by the American Declaration of Independence of 1776, from the window of Aguinaldo’s house.

This was followed by the unfurling of the Philippine flag while the San Francisco de Malabon band played “Marcha Nacional Filipina.” Shouts of “Mabuhay ang Kalayaan” and “Mabuhay si Heneral Aguinaldo” culminated the event.

4. The first anniversary of Independence Day was celebrated in Angeles, Pampanga. On this occasion, Aguinaldo in his speech extolled the significance of our flag, saying: “That flag which was hailed by a people, anxious of freedom and deserving a better fate, made our independence a reality; it obliged us to preserve and defend it until death.

“It imparts in us valor and unlimited endurance; it therefore requires sacrifices and now that we are provoked and compelled to fight, let us go forward with eyes fixed on that flag of the sun and three stars which cheers us up and guides us in the pursuit of our dearest ideals.”

5. The Philippine flag rallied the Filipinos to fight a new invader—the Americans.

The Americans suppressed the display of the Katipunan flags and the Filipino flag during the early part of their rule. However, the priests of the Philippine Independent Church (Iglesia Filipina Independiente) subverted the prohibition by displaying the Philippine flag on their religious vestments.

(Editor’s Note: Ma. Luisa T. Camagay, Ph.D., is a faculty member of the Department of History and teaches at the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of the Philippines Diliman. She is a recipient of the “2013 Gawad Chanselor para sa Natatanging Guro.”)