A country is built upon the sacrifices of many heroes. In the Philippines, National Heroes’ Day on August 31, pays tribute to all heroes, known and unknown. During solemn ceremonies, officials will lay wreaths honoring all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
As this is a national holiday in the Philippines, families will gather to visit deceased loved ones in cemeteries or they will attend memorial services. For one brief moment, everyone will pause to reflect on the selflessness of these heroes who put nation above all else.
National Heroes' Day timeline
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo passes a decree
After 2007, National Heroes' Day is 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 as the beginning of the Philippine Revolution against the Spanish Empire.
The official day of the Cry of Pugad Lawin
On this day, Andrés Bonifacio, the Supremo of the Katipunan, began the Philippine Revolution.
How to Observe National Heroes' Day
Pay your respects
Visit a shrine or a monument and honor your favorite hero by laying a wreath or flowers. Be inspired by their stories.
Don't miss the parade
Several cities in the Philippines go all out with parades honoring the nation's heroes and sheroes. If you're lucky enough to be there in person, check out a parade during National Heroes' Day.
Plan the weekend around your family
National Heroes' Day, a paid national holiday, always takes place on the fourth Monday in August. That means you get a few days to spend with your family. So, make the most of it!
5 Facts To School You About National Heroes' Day
Date change results in long weekend
Surprising as it may sound, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo decided to hold this day on Mondays because that was in line with her "holiday economics" program.
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.
Some receive their own days
From the list of nine undeclared heroes, only Rizal and Bonifacio have their own national holidays.
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.
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
There are no unsung heroes
No hero is left behind. National Heroes' Day reminds us that for every hero we know, there are countless heroes that work diligently in the shadows with little recognition and little thanks. This is their day, too.
It's a day of appreciation
On such a day, we remember that heroes like activist Ninoy Aquino or the writer Jose Rival and the revolutionaries, Andres Bonifacio and Gabriela Silang, have all been instrumental in leading the efforts to liberate the Philippines. They fought against all odds to bring freedom to the people.
It's a day spent with family
Filipinos have strong family bonds. National Heroes' Day families and friends also pay homage to family heroes (and heroines) who have made great sacrifices.