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Jun 11, 2015
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Tomorrow, the whole country will be celebrating the 117th anniversary of Philippine Independence, which means that, thank God, walang pasok!

You probably know it's a pretty big deal (why would we reserve a day for it annually if it wasn't, right?), and that we have our national heroes to thank for on being on the cusp of another long weekend. What you (probably) don't know are the lesser-known facts, the trivia surrounding this once-a-year celebration of flag, freedom, and #PinoyPride.

And because we want you to know more about the event other than it being a legit excuse not to show up for work or that it involves Jose Rizal and co., we've listed down a few tidbits you may be clueless about regarding Independence Day.

So, without further ado, did you know that...


We still have the original copy of the declaration of Philippine Independence...

independence dayImage via Philippinemasonry.org

...and it's being kept in safety inside the confines of the National Library in Ermita, Manila. What's really impressive is that the document has been around since 1898, which means it has stood the test of time, and something more sinister, as you'll know next.


The Declaration was actually stolen

independence dayGIF via Gifsoup.com

Dafuq, right? The exact date of the theft is unknown although reports say it happened sometime in the '80s or the '90s. Rolando Bayhon, a former National Historical Institute researcher, was caught with parts of the stolen document and was handed a prison sentence of up to 20 years. However, it's still unknown who the mastermind is and if there's others involved. What's more important though is that the Declaration was retrieved and surrendered to former National Library director Adoracion Bolos in 1994.


We used to celebrate a different date

independence dayImage via Tumblr.malacanang.gov.ph

Before 1964, our country celebrated Independence Day on July 4, the day the American forces granted us freedom after the second World War. That day still holds significant meaning thoughit's now called the Filipino-American Friendship Day.


The first time the Philippine flag was unfurled...

independence dayImage via Philippinemasonry.org

...was on May 28, 1898 as a way to celebrate the victory of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo's troops in the Battle of Alapan in Cavite. However, it was formally introduced to the public on June 12, 1898 which is, for those who missed their local history classes back in grade school, the day Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo officially declared our independence in Kawit, Cavite.

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Almost a hundred people signed the Declaration of Independence

independence dayImage via Philippineamericanwar.webs.com

97 appointed Filipinos by Aguinaldo and one retired American soldier, Colonel L.M. Johnson, signed the Declaration. Quite a big lot, right?


Our national anthem was first performed on...


Video via Jose Bhrix Herrera Arabit

...June 12, 1898, while the Philippine flag was being raised during the Independence Day ceremony at Aguinaldo's house in Kawit, Cavite. However, back then, it was purely instrumental and was actually performed by a marching band called San Francisco de Malabon. It was formerly called the Marcha Nacional Filipina and, in 1899, lyrics based on the poem Filipinas (written in Spanish by Jose Palma) was added to it. The Filipino translation first appeared in 1940 and the current version, Lupang Hinirang, was sung 16 years later.


The stars on our flag had a slightly different meaning back then

independence dayImage via Ebay.tv

Today's accepted interpretation of the three stars on our flag says they symbolize Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. However, based on the Declaration of Independence, it was actually Luzon, Mindanao, and Panay island which is the sixth largest island in our archipelago. Why Panay? It's seen as the region where the revolution for our independence started. Makes sense.


Speaking of the flag, the first one was not made in the Philippines

independence dayImage via Edwin-a-santos.com

Our first president, Emilio Aguinaldo, designed the Philippine flag which was also inspired by the flags of other countries formerly under Spanish rule (e.g. Argentina, Peru). It was handsewn not on local shores but in Hong Kong by three women namely Marcela Agoncillo (a diplomat's wife), Marcela's daughter Lorenza, and Jose Rizal's niece, Delfina Herbosa de Natividad. Great job, ladies!

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