National Heroes’ Day, celebrated on the last Monday of each August, commemorates the Pugad Lowin Rebellion that started the Philippine Revolution of 1896 against the Spanish Empire and the country’s long struggle for independence.
After centuries of Spanish, United States and Japanese rule, the Philippines finally achieved full independence at the end of World War II. This victory put an end to the protracted and rather cruel confrontation between the small island state and the major world powers. Filipinos solemnly celebrate this patriotic holiday with military parades, wreath-laying events at local shrines, and fireworks in honor of famous and unknown heroes of the revolution.
Ferdinand Magellan claimed the Philippines for Spain on an expedition in 1542. After three hundred years of Spanish colonial rule, the Katipunan movement, led by Andres Bonifacio, launched an armed uprising.
The rebellion was put down, but sparked a wave of riots throughout the country, which eventually led to the Spanish-American War and, in 1899, the formation of the First Philippine Republic.
The path to complete independence ran through an alliance with the United States, the betrayal of the Americans and another war. By 1902, over 40 Filipinos had died, and the US replaced military rule with civilian rule. The Republic of the Philippines became free only in 1946, after the brutal Japanese occupation.
Introduced as a holiday in 1931 when the Philippines was still allied with the United States, National Heroes’ Day commemorates the heroes of the revolution who died for the country’s freedom. He steadfastly survived the Japanese occupation.
The first annual celebration took place in Balintawak in 1908. In 1911, a monument to the Rebellion (a lone warrior, popularly identified with Bonifacio) was erected in Balintawak.
It is still unknown where the uprising in August 1896 took place – in Pugad Lowin or in Balintawak.
How to celebrate
You can also celebrate National Heroes’ Day:
- Read about the Philippine Revolution – it’s extremely interesting!
- Congratulate fellow Filipinos on their national day.
When is National Heroes’ Day celebrated in 2022?
National Heroes’ Day is observed on the last Monday of August each year.