It’s July 4th here in the Philippines. Or, as most Americans would say “the 4th of July.” The 4th of July is an important day for Americans, it is Independence Day, the anniversary of the day that the Colonists in the New World declared Independence from the United Kingdom, in 1776. True Independence was not achieved until 1789 after a war was faught against the British, but it is the date that Independence was declared that is remembered and commemorated each and every year.
In the Philippines, there is a very similar scenario. The Philippines really became an Independent Republic on Jully 4th, 1946 when the United States gave Independence to the country, following World War II. However, the Philippines does not celebrate Independence on July 4th. Instead, they celebrate their Independence on June 12. June 12, 1898 is the date that Filipino Revolutionaries declared their Independence from Spain. At the same time, the Spanish were involved in a War with the USA (the Spanish American War), and as part of the treaty ending that war, the United States purchased the Philippines from Spain for the sum of $20 Million. Thus, after the purchase, the USA began colonizing the Philippines, and the Philippines was in for nearly 50 years of American Rule, after enduring around 400 years of rule by the Spaniards.
So you see the similarities? Both of our country’s celebrate Independence on a date other than when the became Independent!
Originally, the Philippines celebrated Independence on July 4, but in the 1960’s they changed their Independence day to June 12. The person who made the change officially was Philippine President Diosdado Macapagal, the father of current Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. After changing Independence Day, July 4th was still retained as a National Holiday, it was called “Philippine American Friendship Day” although that holiday was abandoned years later. Today, it is not a holiday, but many Filipinos do tend to keep that in mind in July the 4th, and I find that people will often greet me “Happy Independence” on July the 4th. I doubt that many Americans know the dates of such special occasions in other countries like that, so I consider such a greeting to be quite special.
There is certainly a lot of history between the Philippines and the USA. Not all of it is happy, but in general, I would say that most Filipinos have a love in their hearts for the USA and for American people too.
Happy 4th of July to all of my fellow Americans!