At least, that's the common image of what went down that fateful day almost 118 years ago. Like most pivotal historical events, the Philippine Declaration of Independence was shrouded in mystery and controversy. In this week's fourth and final post, we'll peel back that shroud a bit, so we can shed light on the story behind the story.
1. It wasn't until August 4, 1964 when June 12 was officially recognized as the Philippine Independence Day. Prior to that, it was celebrated on July 4, which marked the signing of the Treaty of Manila in 1946.
2. The Philippine Declaration of Independence occurred between 4 and 5 in the afternoon on a Sunday.
3. Kawit, Aguinaldo's birthplace, was formerly known as "Cavite el Viejo" ("Old Cavite"), a name given by the Spaniards to differentiate it from "Cavite el Puerto," which is now known as Cavite City.
4. Aguinaldo is often depicted as looking out of a balcony during the Declaration. In reality, he was looking out a window, and the balcony was only added later.
5. Like the Philippine Constitution, the Philippine Declaration of Independence was modeled after that of the U.S. in 1776. It was penned in Spanish by Ambrosio Rianzares-Bautista, a lawyer and distant relative of Jose Rizal.
6. Today, the original Declaration of Independence is kept in the National Library of the Philippines along Kalaw St., Ermita, Manila. It was stolen sometime in the past three decades, before U.P. professor Milagros Guerrero found and returned it to the Library in 1994.
7. Prior to 1964, June 12 was known as "Flag Day," since it also marked the first unfurling and flight of the Philippine flag.
8. Ever since June 12 became Independence Day, July 4 became "Filipino-American Friendship Day" and May 28 became Flag Day to commemorate the first time the Philippine flag was flown on the battlefield.
9. According to a letter by Aguinaldo dated June 11, 1925, the original Philippine flag was lost in Tayug, Pangasinan during the Filipino-American war. To this day, the flag's whereabouts remain a mystery.
10. The national anthem played during the Declaration wasn't the Philippines' first. That honor goes to "Marangal na Dalit ng Katagalugan" (Honorable Hymn of the Tagalogs), a piece created by Julio Nakpil for Andres Bonifacio.
11. "Marcha Nacional Filipina," the second Philippine national anthem, was commissioned by Emilio Aguinaldo from Julian Felipe on June 5, 1898. According to Felipe's memoirs, he derived inspiration from three sources: La Marseillaise (France's national anthem), the Marcha Real (Spain's national anthem) and the Grand March from Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Aida."
12. "Marcha Nacional Filipina," the anthem played during the Declaration, had no lyrics. Jose Palma added the lyrics in 1899, and it underwent several translations and revisions before it finally became the all-Filipino "Lupang Hinirang" in the 1960s.
13. At the time of the Philippine Declaration of Independence, Aguinaldo held the title "Dictator." It was only 11 days later when he decreed that his dictatorial government be replaced with a revolutionary one, designating himself as President of the latter.
14. There were 98 signatories of the Philippine Declaration of Independence, including a retired American colonel of artillery named L. M. Johnson. Johnson came as a proxy of Admiral George Dewey, who couldn't attend the event supposedly because it was "mail day."
15. In times of peace, the Philippine flag is hoisted with the blue stripe up. In times of war, it's the red stripe that goes on top.
16. The three stars on the Philippine flag originally represented Luzon, Mindanao and Panay (believed to be the cradle of the revolutionary movement). Today, the stars are understood to represent Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
17. The eight rays of the sun represent the first eight provinces that revolted against Spain. Sources vary as to which provinces are included, but most lists include Tarlac, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan and Batangas.
18. According to Aguinaldo's later speeches, the white triangle symbolized piece, the blue stripe symbolized the Filipinos' never-say-die attitude, and the red stripe symbolized bravery.
19. Aguinaldo himself designed the Philippine flag. It was then handsewn by three women based in Hong Kong: the mother-daughter duo Marcela and Lorenza Agoncillo, and Delfina Herbosa de Natividad, the daughter of Jose Rizal's sister Lucia.
20. Today, Filipino homes, offices and other establishments hang the Philippine flag outside their doors to commemorate Independence Day every June 12.
Originally, we planned this post to include only 12 items (because Independence Day is celebrated on, well, the 12th). But when you have this many interesting tidbits about that day, why not include them all?