PROCLAMATION OF PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENCE
On June 5, 1898, General Emilio Aguinaldo issued a decree announcing June l2 as the day for the proclamation of Philippine independence. He commissioned Julian Felipe, a Filipino composer, to write the music to be played during the proclamation ceremony.
As the “Marcha Nacional Filipina” composed by Julian Felipe was played, the Philippine national flag was raised for the first time in public. The flag had been made in Hong Kong by Marcela Agoncillo, Lorenza Agoncillo, and Delfina Herbosa at the time of Aguinaldo’s exile there. The flag design is composed of a white triangle containing a golden yellow sun with eight rays and two horizontal bands (a dark blue upper band and a red lower band). Each angle of the triangle had a five-pointed star. The current official explanation of the Philippines flag sees the sun as a symbol of freedom and unity. The white triangle represents equality, while the red band stands for patriotism and valor and the blue band for peace, truth, and justice. The eight rays represent the first provinces that rose up to end Spanish colonialism, namely Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Manila, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, and Tarlac. The major islands of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao are represented by the three stars
After the Declaration of Philippine Independence, Aguinaldo replaced the dictatorial government to a revolutionary government on June 23, 1898. Although it was proclaimed on June 12, 1898, the Act of Philippine Independence was not implemented until August 1, 1898.
“Though short-lived, the First Philippine Republic, nonetheless catapulted the Filipino nation onto the world’s consciousness carving not only a place among the family of nations but also a distinct niche as the first republic in Asia. While much of the world was oblivious to its birthing, the First Republic proved that Filipinos were capable of self-rule and deserved their longed-for freedom after more than 300 years of colonial bondage- a bondage shaken time and again by sporadic revolts, whose disparateness precluded ultimate victory.” (posted on September 7, 2012, https://nhcp.gov.ph/the-first-philippine-republic/)
The Philippine revolution served as an inspiration to many Asian nations that were then under the yoke of colonial masters. Professor Chen Yan De, of Xiamen University in the People’s Republic of China, extolled the Philippine revolution:
There were tides of national democratic revolution during the period from the end of the nineteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century in Asia. In the view of historians, it was an “awakening in Asia.” Filipinos played the part of brave pioneers in the revolution. The 1896 Philippine revolution was the first national democratic revolution in Asia. The Malolos Constitution was the first republican constitution in Asia. Unlike constitutional monarchies and peasant rebellions presented in other Asian countries, the 1896 Philippine revolution was a real revolutionary movement . . . Other Asian countries had never before undergone such a great revolution as the 1896 Philippine revolution. (Chen, Yan De, The 1896 Philippine Revolution: Harbinger of Awakening in Asia Xiamen University, Xiamen, The People’s Republic of China http://park.org/Philippines/centennial/abstract.htm)