Known as “Araw ng Kasarinlan” (or “Day of Freedom”), June 12th is the Philippines Independence Day, and this year the Philippines is celebrating its 120th Anniversary of Independence. Along with the many events commemorating the occasion, the entire country will be engaging in a national party that will include parades, picnics, barbeques, and fireworks.

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. One of these celebrations includes a flag raising and reading of the Philippine Declaration of Independence at the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit. For Independence Day 2018, those living in or visiting Manila can also enjoy free train rides over the course of the day.

The Filipino community also celebrates Independence Day in the other parts of the world. For example, the Philippine American Mainstream Advocacy for Nonpartisan Associations, Inc. (PAMANA) celebrates Filipino culture and heritage with events around Boston, Massachusetts in the United States, including a flag raising at Boston City Hall and a Gala night at Lombardo’s in Randolph, MA on Saturday, June 16th. And in Dubai, there are a variety of events celebrating the 120th anniversary of independence at the Dubai World Trade Centre today.

In honor of the holiday, Remitly is offering new customers the ability to send money to loved ones instantly with one FREE Express transfer to the Philippines from the U.S.

Send money to the Philippines now

Happy Independence Day, Philippines!