Known as “Araw ng Kasarinlan” (or “Day of Freedom”), June 12th is the Philippines Independence Day. This year, many events are turning virtual due to social distancing restrictions. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of celebrating over famous Pinoy dishes like adobo and lechon.

Remitly got its start helping Filipinos send money home—with our very first customers hailing from the Philippines. We’re proud to have an office in Manila today, and we wish a very happy Independence Day to our Filipino employees, customers, and friends.

Read on to learn more about what this holiday means and how it’s celebrated today.

A Brief History of Philippines Independence Day

On June 12, 1898, the Philippines flag was raised for the very first time by General Emilio Aguinaldo after he issued a decree setting aside the date as a proclamation of independence. Three women designed the flag: Marcela Agoncillo, Lorenza Agoncillo, and Delfina Herboza.

The national anthem, ‘Lupang Hinirang’ (played by the San Francisco de Malabon marching band), filled the air for the first time. On that day, Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista read out the 21-page document of declaring independence from Spanish rule.

However, Spain didn’t initially recognize Aguinaldo’s declaration of independence. At the end of the Spanish-American war in May 1898, Spain surrendered and gave the United States control of their territories, including the Philippines.

In 1946, the U.S. government offered the Philippines the opportunity to establish statehood like Hawaii, but leaders in the Philippines opted to be an independent country. So, the U.S. granted independence to the nation on July 4, 1968, through the Treaty of Manila.

Originally, Independence Day in the Philippines was celebrated on the 4th of July to match the U.S. However, in 1962 President Diosdado Macapagal declared June 12th as Independence Day to commemorate the actual anniversary date of the end of Spanish rule in the country.

Here are some more facts about the history of the holiday:

Philippines Independence Day Celebrations Around the World

Flags are raised across the Philippines in honor of the day as early as May, but fireworks and other patriotic celebrations are held in Manila and other areas across the country on the actual holiday.

This year, one highlight will be a virtual flag-raising ceremony by all of the Philippine Diplomatic Missions in the U.S. on Friday at 3 p.m. (PST), live on Facebook: facebook.com/PHinUSA.

The consulate of New York is also sponsoring a virtual celebration starting at 12 noon (EST) on their Facebook page. If you tune in, keep an eye out for a special message from Remitly and musicians Jugs and Teddy.

About Remitly

We understand that even from far away, you want to stay close to family and friends during special occasions. Remitly can help. We’re here when you need to send money home easily and safely.

Find out more at our homepage or download the app today.