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Julian Felipe Day – January 28, 2023

Julian Felipe Day is celebrated every January 28 to remember the composer and revolutionary, Julián Reyes Felipe. He was born in Cavite Nuevo, present-day Cavite City. Nicknamed “Master” by his students, he was a dedicated music teacher and composer who was appointed by then-President Emilio Aguinaldo as Director of the National Band of the First Philippine Republic. He attended public school in Cavite and Binondo, Manila for his primary education. As a boy, he showed that he had a lot of musical talent. He not only learned how to play the piano and organ; later, he became an organist in St. Peter’s Parish Church. As an organist, Felipe had the chance to improve his musical talents.

History of Julian Felipe Day

The birth anniversary of Julian R. Felipe is observed on January 28, who composed the national anthem ‘Lupang Hinirang.’ In 1861, he was born to Justo Felipe and Victoria Reyes in Cavite City. He received his primary and secondary education in public schools in Cavite and Binondo. His musical talent was honed as a young boy by a Recollect priest, who hired him as an organist at St. Peter’s Parish Church. He composed masterpieces such as ‘Aurora,’ ‘Amorita Danza’ (‘Early Morning Danza’), ‘Cintas y Flores’ (‘Ribbons and Flowers’), ‘Motete al Santisimo’ (‘Motet to the Most Holy’), and ‘Reina de Cavite’ (‘Queen of Cavite’), a hymn to the Virgin Mary. These works won him a silver medal and membership in the Sta. Cecilia Musical Society in 1895. He fought alongside the “13 Martyrs of Cavite” (or ‘Trece Martires’) against the Spanish conquerors in 1896.

After regaining his freedom, he went on to join General Emilio Aguinaldo’s troops. When the First Philippine Republic was formed, Aguinaldo appointed him the Director of the National Band and commissioned a new march to be played when they proclaim independence. ‘Marcha de Nacional Filipina,’ originally titled ‘Marcha de Filipina Magdalo,’ was adopted by the First Philippine Republic as its anthem and played for the first time by the Banda San Francisco de Malabon, a marching band in Kawit, Cavite, on June 12, 1898. It was played while raising the Philippine flag at the proclamation of Philippine Independence.

The National Assembly declared Felipe’s composition as the national anthem on September 6, 1938. The Philippine national anthem was inspired by three musical pieces: the first part from ‘Marcha Real’ of Spain, which is still heard when the anthem is played; the second part from ‘La Marcha Rebelde’ (‘The Rebel March’), which became the anthem’s official music in 1898; and the lyrics, which were based on a poem entitled ‘Filipinas’ written in 1878 by Jose Palma.

Felipe lived in Manila until he died on October 2, 1944. On September 1, 1994, the Congress of the Philippines declared January 28 as Julian Felipe Day under Republic Act 7805. Every Julian Felipe Day, the bust of composer Julian Felipe is adorned with flowers, and the ceremony includes speeches, songs, and violin performances in honor of his contributions to Philippine music.

Julian Felipe Day timeline

January 28, 1861
Julian Felipe is Born

Felipe is born to Justo Felipe and Victoria Reyes in Cavite City.

June 12, 1898
The Proclamation of Philippine Independence

‘Marcha de Filipina Magdalo,’ renamed ‘Marcha de Nacional Filipina,’ is played for the first time as background music by Banda San Francisco de Malabon as the Philippine flag is hoisted at the proclamation of the Philippine’s independence.

October 2, 1944
Felipe Dies

He dies in Manila during World War II at the age of 83.

September 1, 1994
Declaration of Julian Felipe Day

The Congress of the Philippines declares January 28 as Julian Felipe Day through the Republic Act 7805, in honor of the composer.

Julian Felipe Day FAQs

Who declared the Philippine’s independence?

After 300 years of Spanish rule, Emilio Aguinaldo led the 1986 Revolution, pitting them against the Spanish and American colonizers. This eventually led to the independence of the Philippines.

What is the Philippines best known for?

The Philippines has beautiful beaches and delicious fruit. The collection of islands is located in Southeast Asia, named after King Philip II of Spain.

What is the Philippine’s national anthem all about?

According to an author, Maximo Rodriguez Jr., “The national anthem embodies and expresses the aspirations, dreams, ideals, longings, commitment, determination, nationalism, patriotism, sentiment, and spirit of the people.”

How to Observe Julian Felipe Day

  1. Learn about his history

    To honor this great man and his contributions to his country, you can celebrate this day by learning about him or the history of the Philippines that he composed.

  2. Listen to his music

    You can find renditions of many of Felipe's compositions online and in stores. The best way to appreciate his work is to listen to each song while keeping its original context in mind, allowing you to hear the instruments he used and understand why he wrote certain notes or rhythms. If you have an opportunity to go see live music on this day, do so; it will be even more powerful than listening from home.

  3. Try composing your own music

    Take a look at his catalog and see if you can find something that inspires you. You could also try creating your own version of one of his songs using different instruments or rhythms.

5 Types Of Traditional Filipino Music And Dance You Should Know

  1. Rondalla

    The Rondalla is a musical ensemble that uses instruments called mandolins in the Iberian tradition, which are then accompanied by guitars.

  2. Cariñosa

    The Cariñosa is from the María Clara suite of Philippine folk dances, in which handkerchiefs and fans are used as instruments by a dancing couple to Hispanic music and lyrics.

  3. Tinikling

    In the Tinikling, dancers use bamboo poles to slap and beat the ground in coordination, with one or more dancers who step over and between the poles in time to avoid being clipped.

  4. Sagayan

    The Sagayan is a type of war dance where performers wield swords and shields, telling the battles and victories of the folk hero Bantugan.

  5. Kundiman

    The Kundiman is a type of Philippine folk song dating back to the Spanish period, based on a triple meter rhythm that has pre-colonial origins in the Tagalog region.

Why Julian Felipe Day is Important

  1. It appreciates his talent and patriotism

    Felipe was a talented artist and a true patriot. Not only did he join in the uprising against his colonizers, but he also wrote music that continues to inspire a feeling of courage and nationalism among Filipinos to this day. His music lives on and is played at least once a day in the Philippines.

  2. He inspires us

    Julian Felipe is a hero of our time. He is a man who has dedicated his life to serving his country, and he has shown us what it means to use our talents and energy for the betterment of our fellows. He inspires us to be useful for our country, our family, and ourselves.

  3. He taught us about beauty and harmony

    He showed us that music can be a force for good in society and that it can have a profound impact on our lives. People can be different, beautiful, graceful, majestic, gritty, and strong — just like music.

Julian Felipe Day dates

YearDateDay
2023January 28Saturday
2024January 28Sunday
2025January 28Tuesday
2026January 28Wednesday
2027January 28Thursday

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