Category Archives: history

April 9 2014 – Araw ng Kagitingan holiday

The Philippines will be marking the 72nd anniversary of the Fall of Bataan this coming April 9,Wednesday. The day, referred to as “Araw ng Kagitingan,” is a regular national holiday based on President Benigno Aquino III’s Proclamation 655 which he signed last year. Read more about Proclamation 655 here.

The Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) Handbook on Workers’ Statutory Monetary Benefits stipulates that employees “are entitled to at least 100% of his/her minimum pay” even if he/she did not report for work on this day. The labor department emphasized that employees “must be present or is on leave of absence with pay on the work day” immediately preceding the holiday (April 8, in this case). Read the above mentioned DOLE handbook in this link.

On that day back in 1942, Filipino and American fighters in Bataan under the leadership of Major General Edward P. King of the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) surrendered to the Japanese invaders after realizing the “futility of further resistance.” Allied forces had been fighting the Japanese for four months already prior to the Fall of Bataan, and thousands of them had already died by that time.

PS: The expression “isinuko ang Bataan,” obviously derived from the events of 1942, has gained sexual connotation. How can an event commemorating the surrender of Filipino World War II combatants come to mean giving up one’s virginity? 😀

UPDATE: There is in fact a law which designates April 9 as a legal holiday. It is Republic Act 3022, signed by then-President Carlos P. Garcia back in 1961. Check it on this link.

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January 23 2014 holiday in Bulacan

Will January 23, Thursday, be a special non-working holiday in Bulacan this year? On that day exactly 115 years ago, the first Philippine Republic was inaugurated in the famed Barosoain Church. The historical significance of the so-called Malolos Republic is further highlighted by the fact that it is considered the moment that marked the birth of Asia’s first independent republic.

Going back to the question above: is January 23 a special non-working holiday? It was declared as such last year courtesy of President Benigno Aquino III’s Proclamation 523 (click here to read its full text). However, Malacanang is yet to make a similar declaration this year.

Making things more interesting is that January 23 is not listed as a provincial legal holiday in Bulacan’s 2007 Administrative Code. You cam download the said 90-page document here.

PS: This post will be updated as soon as new information becomes available.


December 30 2013 Rizal Day holiday

The Philippines will be commemorating the 117th anniversary of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal’s martyrdom this December 30. The day is a national holiday as indicated in President Benigno Aquino III’s Proclamation 459, which he signed last year. Read The Filipino Scribe‘s report about Proclamation 459 here.

Rizal Day falls on Monday, which means there will be a rare five-day weekend as 2013 comes to an end. Notice the following:

December 28 and 29 2013 – Saturday and Sunday, respectively

December 30 2013 – Rizal Day

December 31 2013 – Special non-working day (last day of the year)

January 1 2014 – New Year’s Day

Jose Rizal, the national hero of the Philippin...

Jose Rizal, 1861-1896 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rizal’s elevation as the country’s national hero has been the subject of intense debates for several decades now. In his controversial essay “Veneration without Understanding,” historian Renato Constantino argued that Rizal cannot be the country’s national hero since it has been the the practice elsewhere in the world that whoever leads the struggle for independence becomes “the principal hero of his people.”

He also repeated the argument that it is the Americans who were responsible for the selection of Rizal for the said honor, disregarding the fact that Filipinos have begun commemorating his martyrdom even before he was officially pronounced as a national hero.

Journalist Armando Malay wrote a rebuttal titled “Veneration with Understanding” to Constantino’s work, proclaiming: “A man becomes a hero, or a national hero, not because he leads a revolution – but because he is admired for his achievements and noble qualities, and considered a model or ideal.” Read more on that in this link.

PS: This year also marks the centennial anniversary of the Rizal Monument in Manila. Created by Swiss sculptor Richard Kissling, the monument was first opened to the public on December 30, 1913 – Rizal’s 17th death anniversary. Visit this link for more information. Thanks for one of our readers for pointing this out.


December 18 2013 Graciano Lopez Jaena Day in Iloilo

Filipinos will be marking the 157th birth anniversary of famed writer and Spanish-era hero Graciano Lopez-Jaena this December 18. The day, which this year falls on Wednesday, is a special non-working holiday in the province of Iloilo and its capital Iloilo City.

This is stipulated in Republic Act (RA) 6155. The law came into effect during the time of then-President Ferdinand Marcos. Read the full content of RA 6155 on this link.

Graciano Lopez Jaena

Graciano Lopez Jaena (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To further stress the significance of Lopez-Jaena’s birth anniversary, both Houses of Congress in 2001 designated December 18 as a special working public holiday nationwide.

This was done through RA 9070, which was signed by then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Read the full text of RA9070 here.

A native of Jaro, Iloilo, Lopez-Jaena is one of the three leading figures of the Propaganda Movement, together with Marcelo del Pilar and national hero Jose Rizal. He served as the first editor of the nationalistic newspaper La Solidaridad.

Lopez-Jaena will be forever remembered for writing the satirical poem Fray Botod, which ridiculed the abuses committed by Spanish friars at that time. He died of tuberculosis in January 1896. His contemporaries Del Pilar and Rizal also on the same year.


December 2 2013 – Pasay City holiday

Pasay City will be marking its 150th foundation anniversary this December 2. The day, which this year falls on Monday, has been declared by President Benigno Aquino III as a special non-working holiday in the said Metro Manila city through Proclamation 685. Read the full text of Proclamation 685 here.

The announcement was made last November 25. Neither the national nor the local government made a similar declaration last year since December 2 was a Sunday.

Map of Metro Manila showing the location of Pa...

Map of Pasay City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


According to the city’s website, Pasay became a pueblo on December 2, 1863 upon the recommendation of Archbishop Gregorio Martinez of Sta. Cruz. Pueblo is the Spanish-era equivalent of a town. It was led by a gobernadorcillo, the present-day counterpart of a town mayor.

A year before it, several prominent citizens of Pasay sent a petition to civil and ecclesiastical authorities for them to be allowed to manage their own political and religious affairs.

Martinez, who eventually became the Archbishop of Manila, is immortalized in Philippine history for his refusal to defrock Fathers Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora prior to their execution in 1872. Instead, he ordered the tolling of the bells in every church in honor of them.

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November 27 2013 – Ninoy Aquino Day in Tarlac

The 81st birth anniversary of former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., democracy icon and father of current President Benigno Aquino III, will be commemorated this November 27, Wednesday.

The said day will be a special non-working public holiday in Tarlac by virtue of Republic Act (RA) 8151. It became law in 1995, during the time of then-President Fidel V. Ramos. Read the full text of RA 8151 in this link.

Although this is also referred to as “Ninoy Aquino Day,” this holiday is different from the one being marked nationwide every August 21, the day when the Marcos-era opposition leader was assassinated upon his return to the Philippines.

Benigno Aquino, Jr.

Benigno Aquino, Jr. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The province of Tarlac and the Cojuangco-Aquino clan will forever be intertwined in history. Ninoy’s grandfather Servillano was part of the Malolos Congress during the term of Emilio Aguinaldo, the country’s first president.

His father and namesake, Benigno Sr., was initially elected as one of Tarlac’s district representatives before eventually becoming the Speaker of the National Assembly during the Japanese period.

With politics in his pedigree, Ninoy himself became a public servant at an extremely young age. He was elected mayor of his home town at 22, Tarlac’s vice governor at 27, and governor at 29. In 1967, he went on to become the youngest person to be elected Senator at age 34

Aquino’s record is not likely to be shattered anytime soon. Article VI, section III of the 1987 Constitution stipulates that only natural-born Filipinos who are 35 years old by Election Day are qualified to run for a Senate seat.


November 30 2013 Bonifacio Day holiday

The Philippines will be marking the 150th birth anniversary of national hero Andres Bonifacio this November 30. Given its historical significance, President Benigno Aquino III last year declared the said day as a regular holiday throughout the country through Proclamation 459. November 30 falls on a Saturday this year.

The unfortunate timing of the holiday raises one curious question – will President Aquino also declare November 29 a special non-working holiday to give Filipinos, most importantly students, the chance to really observe the hero’s special day? It seems not likely at the moment, but please check out The Filipino Scribe in the coming days for any updates.

bonifacio 150 years

Andres Bonifacio’s 150th birth anniversary will be on November 30



Bonifacio’s approaching 150th birth anniversary has prompted renewed interest on various aspects of the national hero’s life. This year, a group of Philippine history enthusiasts openly vouched for the proclamation of Bonifacio as the country’s first president instead of Emilio Aguinaldo. Meanwhile, some quarters are urging President Aquino to give the hero a state funeral through an online petition which has gathered 9,000 signatures so far.

The fact that we are celebrating Bonifacio Day on the hero’s birth date and not on his death anniversary speaks a lot about the controversies that still engulf him to this day. For one, the circumstances that led to his execution remains hotly debated. In fact, his remains seems to have vanished already from the face of the Earth since the Liberation period.




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