First Philippine Republic Day is observed on January 23 of every year. About 120 years ago, Emilio Aguinaldo declared the independence of the Philippines after 300 years of Spanish rule to make the country Asia’s first republic. This day was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte as a special working holiday in the country to commemorate the declaration of the First Philippine Republic, popularly known as the Malolos Republic, on January 23, 1899.
History of First Philippine Republic Day
The First Philippine Republic Day — called “Araw ng Republika ng Pilipino” in Tagalog — is an annual working holiday in the Philippines on January 23. The annual observance of this day was signed into law on April 5, 2018, by President Rodrigo Duterte through Republic Act No. 11014. The day commemorates the inauguration of the First Philippine Republic (also known as the Malolos Republic) by Revolution General Emilio Aguinaldo on January 23, 1899, at the Barasoain Church in Malolos City, Bulacan.
For over 300 years, the Philippines was under Spanish rule. Between 1896 and 1897, the Philippine Revolution against the Spanish Empire and the victory of the United States in the Spanish-American War heralded the country’s journey to independence. After the U.S. won the Battle of Manila Bay, Emilio Aguinaldo issued the Philippine Declaration of Independence on June 12, 1898, and established dictatorial governments just days later. The Malolos Constitution establishing the First Philippine Republic was proclaimed on January 23, 1899. Sadly, it ended abruptly when Aguinaldo was captured and coerced to pledge allegiance to the United States on April 1, 1901.
Under Republic Act No. 11014, President Duterte assigned the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (N.H.C.P.) and the Department of Education to arrange activities and events for the First Philippine Republic Day. Through this Act, he proposed that Filipinos will continue to appreciate the significance of the historical event and proudly cherish the rich and noble history of their country.
The First Philippine Republic Day is a working holiday in the Philippines: private organizations, schools, public establishments, and other businesses remain open for business. Despite this, the holiday remains a special day to the Filipino nation as a day to celebrate freedom, courage, and national pride.
First Philippine Republic Day timeline
Following the defeat of Spanish forces on May 1, General Aguinaldo declares independence from Spanish colonists from the balcony of his house in Kawit, Cavite, on June 12.
Emilio Aguinaldo declares the First Philippine Republic at the Barasoain Church in the City of Malolos, Province of Bulacan on January 23.
Aguinaldo is captured in Palanan, Isabela, on March 23, and the First Republic comes to a sad, early end.
President Duterte signs Republic Act No. 11014 into law on Thursday, April 5.
First Philippine Republic Day FAQs
Who led the First Philippine Republic?
Emilio Aguinaldo led the declaration of the independence of the Philippines from Spanish colonizers on June 12, 1898. He also led the proclamation of the Malolos Constitution on January 23, 1899, in Malolos, Bulacan, succeeding the previous dictatorial government of the Philippines.
What was the significance of the First Philippine Republic?
The First Philippine Republic allowed Filipino citizens to live freely and exercise their basic rights, liberated from their colonizers. Through this government, power was shared by three branches – the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judiciary. It also separated powers between the Church and the State, promoted the adoption of native languages, and promoted education.
Why is the Malolos Republic considered in history as the First Philippine Republic?
For 300 years, the Philippines had been under the control of Spanish invaders. Following the declaration of the First Philippine Republic, popularly known as the Malolos Republic, on January 23, 1899, the Philippines became an independent nation governed by its own citizens.
How to Observe First Philippine Republic Day
Honor national heroes and veterans
On this day, take a moment to express your love for the nation and celebrate the heroes who fought gallantly for its independence. Read historical books and documents highlighting the efforts of those who agitated selflessly for the freedom of the Filipino nation.
Visit historical sites
Another great way to celebrate the First Philippine Republic Day is to take a tour of important places in the Philippines. Museums and other significant historical monuments offer a great opportunity to relive the declaration of independence and join the celebration of the First Philippine Republic Day.
Organize special events
Since it’s a working holiday, you can plan special events in your organization. You can deploy colorful, informative billboards spotlighting the holiday and the historical events. In schools, you can arrange educational activities for students to learn about the historical events culminating in the proclamation of the First Philippine Republic.
5 FACTS ABOUT THE PHILIPPINES
Named for royalty
The Philippines is a group of 7,641 islands named after King Philip II of Spain.
Languages spoken in the Philippines
About 175 languages are spoken in the Philippines, but the country’s official languages are Tagalog-based Filipino and English.
The national bird of the Philippines is the monkey-eating eagle (also known as the Philippine eagle), and the national flower is the Sampaguita.
Home to volcanoes
There are more than 200 volcanoes in the Philippines, but only 24 are active.
The Philippines is the world’s second-highest producer and exporter of coconuts (called “buko”), shipping off around 19.5 million tons of coconuts each year to China, Japan, Germany, and the U.S.
Why First Philippine Republic Day is Important
It celebrates freedom and liberation
The story of the First Philippine Republic is one of courage, determination, and strength to fight for the nation’s independence from colonizers. Most Filipinos celebrate and honor their country’s independence, liberation, and freedom on this day.
It’s a day to exhibit patriotism
The Philippines is a beautiful country with a rich cultural heritage and beautiful traditions. First Philippine Republic Day gives a great avenue to shine a spotlight on these wonderful customs, the country’s beautiful scenery, and everything that adorns the historic Asian nation.
It has an inspiring history
According to the law, celebrating the First Philippine Republic Day will “continue to inspire and instill a sense of pride for the rich and noble history of the Filipino nation.” Honoring this day will continue to remind Filipinos about their brave ancestors who stood against oppression.
First Philippine Republic Day dates