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6 Philippine Independence Day Facts You Probably Didn't Know

Here are a few facts about the history of Independence Day.
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Today, we celebrate the 122nd year of the Philippine Declaration of Independence. While we know to hold it special annually, we still have plenty of things to know about the historic day. Below, a few facts about the history of Independence Day.

1| The proclamation of Philippine independence took place on a Sunday.

According to the composer of the music of the Philippine national anthem, Julian Felipe, it took place between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

2| Philippine independence was declared several times—each one different.

Some of the more notable instances include Andres Bonifacio's declaration on April 12, 1895 and another by Emilio Aguinaldo on October 31, 1896.

3| The three stars on the flag represent the islands of Luzon, Panay, and Mindanao.

Back then, Panay was referred to as one of the archipelago's three principal islands.

4| Emilio Aguinaldo visited Marcela Agoncillo in Hong Kong and asked her to make the flag.

"In the house at No. 535, Morrison Hill, where I lived with my family, exiled from our country on account of the national cause, I had the good fortune to make the first Philippine flag under the direction of an illustrious leader General Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy. It took me five days to make the national flag, and when completed, I myself delivered it to General Aguinaldo before boarding the transport McCulloch… General Aguinaldo is the best witness who can give the information whether or not that flag was the first to be displayed in Cavite at the beginning of the revolutionary government against the government of Spain in these islands," she wrote in an account.

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5| The very first anniversary of the declaration was celebrated in Angeles, Pampanga.

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So this was the actual window of Aguinaldo's house from where the Declaration of Independence was read and our national flag was waved on this day 122 years ago.. We have seen how time and again, the recounting of history can fall prey to whatever shortcomings or biases the narrator has. It seems like there's more than one side of the story - whether it be  Bonifacio (and not Aguinaldo) was really the first President of the country (as opined by my college professor in Political Science)... whether martial law under Marcos was a period of oppression aggravated by abuse or was a period of renaissance in a backdrop of peace & order.... whether the Anti-Terror Bill is a long overdue measure to meet the evolving threat of terrorism or is a convenient tool to silence critics guised as a safeguard against terrorism... heck there was even controversy all the way back to what books should or should not have been included in the Bible! So it is our duty now to be vigilant and ferret out the truth we pass down to generations. I'm not only talking about national or global history here. I'd like to invite you also to go on a personal level and dig deep into the "stories" (thought patterns) you have inherited/imbibed and may be unconsciously passing on to your children, and see if there is any cycle you need to break now. I think it takes a whole lot of courage to look deep within and chip away at embellishments that are more harmful than  a mere balcony upgrade. We need to remove the trappings and layers we are covered in so we can come back to our essence and realize how we are all connected. That, I believe, is independence in its truest form. When enough of us have accepted this challenge, then we can have a nation - a world - that is free from hatred/indifference/separation of me vs. you or us vs. them.... a world that is truly free. Photo Credit: Historian Ambeth R. Ocampo's facebook page (link in the comment below)

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6| President Diosdado Macapagal declared June 12 as the day of annual observance in 1962.

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???????????????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????????????????????? ???????? : ako'y lumaking nangarap na maging malaya ang lahat sa pangaapi at labag sa katarungan ng mga sambayanang pilipino. dahil marahil ay hindi sapat nating binigyang pugay ang sarili nating kahalagaan. lahat tayo ay may epektong nakadudulot sa isa't isa kung di nating isaduyo ang mga boses ng masa. kung 'di mahalaga ang buhay ng kapwa nating pilipino ano kaya ang kahalagaan ng kalayaan natin ngayon? ang pananahimik ay hindi karapat dapat na bigyang pugay sa lahat ng namatay para sa kalayaan nating lahat. ang pagbabago ay maaaring mangyari kapag naipagtanggol natin ang ating karapatan at di tayong manatiling tahimik. kahit saan mang banda ng mundo tayo'y nakadulot ngayon, kailangang natin ang isa't isa. at kailangang nating itaas ang boses natin sa mga kawalan ng katarungan na nagdudulot na pagdurugo sa bansa nating minamahal. #philippineindependenceday #junkterrorbill #freedomofspeech #freedomofexpression #freedomfromduterte #oustduterte

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He reportedly told journalist Stanley Karnow: "When I was in the diplomatic corps, I noticed that nobody came to our receptions on the Fourth of July, but went to the American Embassy instead. So, to compete, I decided we needed a different holiday. "

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Paolo Chua
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor of Esquire Philippines.
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