Metro Manila · Independence Day (June 12)
Get your Philippine flags ready, it's the country's Independence Day! Find out more about this national holiday and what Filipinos do to celebrate it.
While June the 12th this year is on a Sunday, Megcitizens should still expect a parade in Manila. The parade, usually headed by the incumbent President of the Republic, is attended by the police and military.
Filipino families celebrate Independence Day by flying the Philippine flag on their porches or by having a picnic at the park.
The Declaration of Independence was the culmination of the Philippine Revolution that started in 1886. However, the country's independence did not last long. The USA succeeded the Spaniards as colonial rulers after winning the Spanish-American War and after defeating the Philippine Revolutionary Government.
Real independence was only achieved shortly after World War II and the Japanese occupation of the Philippines had ended. The Treaty of Manila set the terms for independence and was signed by the USA and the Philippines on July 4, 1946. For many years the Philippine Independence Day was therefore observed on that date, corresponding the US Independence Day.
Many Filipinos were never happy with this, also because independence came with many (economic) strings attached. US entrepreneurs were granted equal access to the Philippines' national resources and, for a time, the new republic was even prohibited to manufacture or sell products that might "come into substantial competition" with goods from the USA. In 1964 Independence Day was finally moved to June 12, "in commemoration of our people's declaration of their inherent and inalienable right to freedom and independence”, as the presidential proclamation states.
Independent Day is a nation-wide public holidays and most Filipinos spend the day with family and friends. Schools, government offices and private enterprises are closed, but malls, supermarkets, restaurants and other commercial establishments stay open. Independence is celebrated with parades, fireworks and the Philippine flag waiving from many buildings.