Philippines Independence Day History Essay

Philippines Independence Day History Essay

[Your Name]

Professor John McCluhan

Philippine History 1

June 12, 2024

Philippine Independence in History's Lens

On June 12, 1898, in the little town of Kawit, Cavite, a bold proclamation was made that would alter the course of history for the Philippines. In a grand declaration, Emilio Aguinaldo raised the Filipino flag for the first time, proclaiming independence from Spanish colonial rule. This historic moment laid the groundwork for the Philippines' journey towards national identity and sovereignty. This essay aims to explore the historical significance of Philippine Independence Day, delving into the events leading up to the declaration, its immediate aftermath, and its lasting impact on the nation.

The Struggle Against Spanish Rule

The fight for Philippine independence was a prolonged struggle characterized by resistance and revolt against over three centuries of Spanish colonial rule. Spanish colonizers first arrived in the Philippines in 1521, and by 1565, the archipelago was fully under Spanish control. Over the years, numerous uprisings took place, notably the Revolt of Lakandula in 1574, the Diego Silang Revolt in 1762, and the Dagohoy Rebellion, which lasted from 1744 to 1829 (Agoncillo, 1990).

These sporadic revolts were fueled by widespread discontent over oppressive practices such as forced labor, tribute payments, and clerical abuses.

Resistance took a more organized form with the rise of the Propaganda Movement in the late 19th century. Leaders like José Rizal, who published works such as "Noli Me Tangere" and "El Filibusterismo," advocated for political reforms and greater civil liberties (Guerrero, 1998).

Though the movement focused on peaceful means, it ultimately laid the ideological groundwork for a more radical shift toward armed rebellion.

The Philippine Revolution

The turning point in the fight for independence came with the Katipunan, a secret revolutionary society founded by Andrés Bonifacio in 1892. Committed to achieving independence through armed struggle, the Katipunan sparked the Philippine Revolution in 1896. Although the initial stages of the revolution were met with mixed success, it set the stage for the future declaration of independence (Zaide, 1999).

Following the capture and execution of José Rizal in 1896, the revolution intensified. Emilio Aguinaldo, who emerged as a military leader, orchestrated pivotal battles and formed the basis of what would later become the Philippine revolutionary government (Milagros, 2006).

The Proclamation on June 12, 1898

The road to independence took a decisive turn with the Spanish-American War, which broke out in April 1898. Seizing the opportunity, Filipino revolutionaries aligned with the American forces against Spain. In May 1898, Commodore George Dewey's naval victory at the Battle of Manila Bay crippled Spanish control over the archipelago, providing a conducive environment for Aguinaldo to declare independence (Guardado, 2003).

On June 12, 1898, Aguinaldo stood at the balcony of his home in Kawit, Cavite, reading the "Acta de la Proclamación de la Independencia del Pueblo Filipino." This declaration was marked by the ceremonial raising of the new Filipino flag and the playing of the national anthem, "Lupang Hinirang," composed by Julian Felipe (Aguilar, 2021). This act symbolized the culmination of decades of struggle and the Filipinos' fervent desire for self-governance.

Post-Declaration Challenges and Legacy

Despite the jubilant declaration, the journey towards genuine independence was fraught with complications. The Treaty of Paris, signed in December 1898, ended the Spanish-American War and resulted in Spain ceding the Philippines to the United States. This led to the Philippine-American War (1899-1902), a brutal conflict that tested the resilience of the newly proclaimed republic (Schenoni, 2016).

It wasn't until July 4, 1946, that the Philippines finally achieved de facto independence from American rule, marking a new chapter in its history. Despite the subsequent challenges of nation-building and political upheaval, June 12 remains a day of immense pride and significance. It serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by countless Filipinos for the cause of freedom and the enduring impact of their struggle on the nation's identity and aspirations.


Philippine Independence Day is not merely a celebration of the nation's liberation from colonial rule; it is a commemoration of the relentless pursuit of freedom and self-determination. The historical events leading up to June 12, 1898, and the enduring legacy of that declaration illustrate the resiliency and indomitable spirit of the Filipino people. As the Philippines continues to evolve, this milestone serves as an enduring beacon of hope and a testament to the power of collective struggle and unity.


Agoncillo, T. A. (1990). History of the Filipino People. R.P. Garcia Publishing Company.

Aguilar, F. V. (2021). Colonial and Postcolonial Reconfigurations of Philippine Literature. Ateneo de Manila University Press.

Guardado, B. R. (2003). The Philippine War, 1899-1902. Macmillan Press.

Guerrero, L. (1998). The First Filipino: Biography of Rizal. National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

Milagros, C. G. (2006). The Philippine Revolution. University of Asia and the Pacific Press.

Schenoni, L. (2016). The Philippine-American War. Military History Review, 25(4), 412-430.

Zaide, G. F. (1999). Philippine History and Government. Phoenix Publishing House.

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