Don't Forget to Honor Our National Heroes | Pinay.com
What does Philippine Independence Day really mean?
Independence Day or Araw ng Kalayaan (Day of Freedom) is a national holiday that is celebrated annually in the Philippines. It marks the country’s Independence from Spain on June 12, 1898. The raising of the Philippine flag is a significant part of the celebration and is flown from May 28th through the 30th of the month of June as a patriotic gesture.
Filipinos around the world participate in the Philippine Independence Day celebrations throughout the month of June in different ways, and this has made me wonder whether we are focusing on the glamour of highlighting headline-making entertainers. Shouldn’t we honor our national heroes—those who fought for our country’s freedom as well?
I was particularly interested in this topic because of my recent participation with the Philippine Independence Day Celebration (PIDC) in New York City, which I have been attending since 2000. Over the years, it is said to be the largest Independence Day celebration outside of the Philippines.
Each year, the presiding committee seeks out top entertainers from the Philippines and United States. I feel it has done little to enlighten our youth and encourage them to learn about our history.
I have contacted my Pinay friends to get a sense what the Philippine Independence Day means to them and here is what they said:
Joy Laraya, based in Pasig, Philippines, recently graduated from Waldorf Manila School. She said that every year leading up to June 12 her classes would recite poems about kalayaan or freedom and would also act out the plays they wrote. Discussions also center on our national heroes, such as, Emilio Aguinaldo, Jose Rizal and Andrés Bonifacio, as an acknowledgement of their roles in leading the country to freedom.
Nelsie Parrado, one of the key organizers of the upcoming 2nd Independence Day celebration in Bergen County, New Jersey, is making the raising of the Philippine flag as a focal point. Parrado shared her insight about the shift of marketing the Independence Day celebration and how it has been observed in New York City. She also shared her aspirations for local organizations to “create a crescendo” of workshops and events not only for the youth but for those who want to engage in intellectual discussions about Philippine history—to put more emphasis on education rather than entertainment.
As we commemorate our day of freedom from Spain—the 116th year of the Philippine Independence— let’s take a moment to take out our flags and raise them. If you have children or know young people, teach them about our culture and about our beautiful homeland, the Philippines. It is with this knowledge that we can empower our people and build more pride.
Lorial Crowder is based in New York City. She has written stories on adoption and interviewed by The FilAm, a New Jersey-based online magazine.
Three words that best describe me - unpredictable, abundant energy and sassy.
I was born in the Philippines and adopted when I was five by my American family. I grew up in Connecticut always realizing I was not the typical american but non the less survived my adolescence thanks to my involvement in sports (lacrosse and field hockey) and the undying support from my family.
I spent two years in ohio to attend college before moving to boston to participate in the Americorps City Year program and eventually received my Bachelors in Sociology and minor in Asian American Studies from UMass Boston.
At the same time my curiosity about my Filipina heritage and culture peaked and i sought out organizations that I thought best reflected the Fil-Am experience. I began to organize around issues of Fil Ams, in particular positive identity development as a pinay and presently the Filipino adoptee experience.
I currently live in one of the most amazing cities - NYC as a stay at home mom to my 7 year old son. I received my MSW in Community Organizing and Planning from Hunter College.