A country is built by the sacrifices of many heroes, some known others unknown. To pay tribute to those we know and also to those we don’t, the Philippines celebrates National Heroes’ Day this year on August 26. Like every year, wreathes will be laid and homage will be paid. Briefly life will pause to reflect on the selflessness of these heroes that put nation above everything else. This day is also a national holiday in the Philippines.
National Heroes' Day - History
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Passes a Decree
After 2007, National Heroes' Day was to be celebrated on the fourth Monday of August
A Hero is Defined
The National Heroes' Committee defines a national hero as someone who has a "concept of nation" and therefore "struggles" for it. Nine Filipinos get short-listed as National Heroes.
The First Commemoration of the Cry
The Cry of Pugad Lawin was first commemorated in Balintawak in 1908. National Heroes' Day was later decreed to mark this important historical event. The Cry marks the beginning of the Philippine Revolution against the Spanish Empire.
The Official Day of the Cry of Pugad Lawin
On this day, Andrés Bonifaciot the Supremo of the Katipunan, began the Philippine Revolution.
How to Observe National Heroes' Day
1. Pay your respects
Visit a shrine or a monument and honor your favorite hero by laying a wreath or flowers. Or read about them and get inspired.
2. Don't miss the parade
A few cities boast of nice parades during National Heroes' Day that are a must see.
3. Plan the weekend around your family
National Heroes' Day is always on a Monday and is a holiday. That means you get a few days to spend with your family. Make the most of it.
5 Facts About National Heroes' Day
1. Date Change Results in Long Weekend
Surprising as it may sound, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo decided to hold this day on Mondaysbecause that was in line with her "holiday economics" program. She was a fan of long weekends. So are we!
2. Short-listed Heroes Not Declared
A formal declaration was never made to proclaim anyone as a National Hero, even though nine brave men were initially chosen by the committee.
3. Some Receive Their Own Days
From the the list of nine undeclared heroes, two, Rizal and Bonifacio have their own national holidays.
4. Date and Place of the Cry is Debatable
Different sources give different accounts of the Cry of Pugad Lawin. All we know is that it happened, somewhere.
5. Formerly a Sunday Holiday
Before 2007, National Heroes’ Day was celebrated every last Sunday of August. The celebrations took place as far back as 1931, even before the Philippines became a republic!
Why National Heroes' Day is Important
A. There are no unsung heroes
No hero is left behind. Even the unknown ones are honored on this day for the sacrifices they made for their country.
B. It's a day to feel patriotic
On such a day we remember that there is a lot we can learn from the example of great heroes. Like them, we must serve our country in ways we can.
C. It's a day spent with family
As we pause to remember the heroes of Philippines, we're surrounded by family. We pay homage to any heroes in our family that have made great sacrifices.