Independence Day (Filipino: Araw ng Kasarinlan; also Araw ng Kalayaan, lit. "Day of Freedom") is an annual national holiday in the Philippines observed on 12 June, commemorating the Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain on 12 June 1898. It is the country's National Day.
The Philippine Revolution began in August 1896. In December 1897, the Pact of Biak-na-Bato, an agreement between the Spanish colonial government and the revolutionaries, created a truce between the parties. Under terms of this agreement, Emilio Aguinaldo and other revolutionary leaders went into exile in Hong Kong.
At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, Commodore George Dewey sailed from Hong Kong to Manila Bay leading the Asiatic Squadron of the U.S. Navy. On May 1, 1898, the Dewey defeated the Spanish in the Battle of Manila Bay. Later that month, the U.S. Navy transported Aguinaldo back to the Philippines.
On June 12, 1898, Aguinaldo led the declaration of Philippine independence from Spanish colonial rule. Philippines independence was not recognzed either by the United States of America or by Spain. The Spanish government later ceded the Philippine archipelago to the United States in the 1898 Treaty of Paris. The Philippines Revolutionary Government did not recognize the treaty. When the Americans sought to execute the terms of the treaty, a three-year conflict, now called the Philippine-American War, ensued.
The US granted independence to the Philippines on 4 July 1946 through the Treaty of Manila.
4 July, the date intentionally chosen by the United States because it corresponds to its Independence Day, was observed in the Philippines as Independence Day until 1962. On 12 May 1962, President Diosdado Macapagal issued Presidential Proclamation No. 28, which declared Tuesday, 12 June a special public holiday throughout the Philippines, "... in commemoration of our people's declaration of their inherent and inalienable right to freedom and independence." On 4 August 1964, Republic Act No. 4166 renamed the 4 July holiday as "Philippine Republic Day", proclaimed 12 June as "Philippine Independence Day", and enjoined all citizens of the Philippines to observe the latter with befitting rites.
Prior to 1964, 12 June had been observed as Flag Day, which was moved to 28 May (the date the Philippine Flag was first flown in battle).
As this is the national independence day the day is spent (either if it falls on a weekday or weekend) with family bonding with friends and relatives and outdoor and indoor activities. All government offices are closed on that day as this is a national holiday and so also are schools (June marks the start of the school year) and private enterprises save for commercial establishments. As required by law the Flag of the Philippines, first flown on that day in 1898, flies proudly in homes and establishments from as early as May 28, Flag Day, to the 30th of the month. Fireworks displays are the norm in Manila on that day as well as other patriotic displays nationwide. Kawit, Cavite holds a yearly commemorative act with the flag raising at the Aguinaldo Shrine and the reading of the Philippine Declaration of Independence.