On June 12, 1898, the Filipino revolutionary forces under General Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed Philippine Independence from Spain and the subsequent establishment of the First Philippine Republic. This came 377 years after Ferdinand Magellan's “discovery” of the Philippines in 1521, and 333 years after the first Spanish Governor-General, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, established the first permanent settlement in Cebu.
Unfortunately, this independence was short-lived since neither Spain nor the United States of America recognized the proclamation. Instead, Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States for $20 Million in the Treaty of Paris to end the Spanish-American War and the U.S. took over the Philippines as a colony until after World War II. The Treaty of Manila was signed on July 4th, 1946, establishing the Republic of the Philippines as an independent nation.
Philippine Independence Day was officially observed on July 4th until Republic Act No. 4166 was signed by President Diosdado Macapagal on August 4, 1964. The Act officially moved the holiday to June 12th. Filipinos (in the Philippines and worldwide) celebrate this day through various forms of patriotic and fun activities.
This year, Filipino-Americans have already started Philippine Independence Day Celebration (PIDC) festivities to commemorate the 115th anniversary, and the partying will continue well beyond June 12th.
The Philippine Cultural Committee (PCC) sponsored the 2013 Pista Sa Nayon in Vallejo, CA last Saturday, June 1st while the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. spearheaded a full day’s worth of events in New York this past Sunday, June 2nd.
Not to be outdone, FilAms in Los Angeles will be hosting twin festivals in Southern California this coming Saturday, June 8th.
The Philippine Consulate General of Los Angeles and the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA) will be presenting the First Philippine Independence Day Grand Parade, followed by the Kalayaan 2013 fair in LA’s Historic Filipinotown. This program will be hosted by Bernardo Bernardo and Jannelle So, and will feature food booths, contests and games, live music, and of course singing and dancing, and among the highlights of the program will be the Dinagyang Street Dancers from the City of Iloilo – champions of the recent “Mother of all Fiestas” in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, The Philippine Independence Day Foundation, in coordination with the City of Carson, CA presents the 115th Philippine Independence Day Celebration at the Veterans Park in Carson. Sponsored by GMA Pinoy TV, this event will be highlighted by the presence of Kapuso Stars Marian Rivera, dubbed the “Queen of Primetime,” and Rafael Rosell. These artists are in addition to all of the vendors and food booths in attendance and the many local talents who will be performing on stage.
Also, San Diego County will be honoring the 115th Anniversary of the Philippine Independence Day with the Mabuhay Festival at Kimball Park in National City, CA. With the theme “ Pinoy Tayo - Kaya Natin! ( We can do it! ), the guest of honor for this event will be none other than Former President of the Philippines, Pres. Fidel V. Ramos.
Furthermore, the San Francsico Bay Area will continue the celebration of Philippine Independence Day in the following week with their own Kalayaan 2013 festival in San Francisco’s Union Square on Saturday, June 15th. This promises to be the biggest event in the Bay Area, complete with live entertainment, food, exhibitors, a Business Expo, and an evening concert featuring the awesome Apl.de.Ap of the multi-platinum group Black Eyed Peas.
In addition to these day-long festivals, there are also other events across the country.
- On June 12, there will be a Philippine Cultural Show at Daley Plaza in Chicago, IL, from 12pm to 1pm.
- The Council for the Filipino American Organizations of Central Florida will host the 15th annual Philippine Independence Day Celebration, Fiesta Filipina, at the Marks Street Senior Recreation Complex in Orlando, FL on June 15, from 2pm until 6:30pm.
- A project of the Philippine American Foundation for Charities, Inc. (PAFC), there is a in Philippine Independence Day Gala Ball Washington, DC on June 15, from 6:30PM until 12:30pm.
How is your FilAm Community commemorating the 115th Anniversary of Philippine Independence this year? Please feel free to share your PIDC info on our Events Page.