In addition to being Loving Day, it’s also Philippine Independence Day, a.k.a Araw ng Kalayaan, which means “Day of Freedom”. It’s observed on June 12th, and on that day in 1898, the Philippines declared independence from Spain.
Among other things, Filipinos fly the flag, whose parts symbolize the following:
- Royal blue field: Peace, truth, and justice.
- Scarlet red field: Patriotism and valor.
- White triangle: Equality and brotherhood.
- Three stars on the corners of the triangle: The three main geographical regions of the country namely Luzon (my home island), the Visayas, and Mindanao.
- The sun at the center of the triangle: Each of its eight rays representing the eight Philippine provinces that started the revolt against Spain.
I’m happy to mark Philippine Independence Day, but tracing it back to June 12, 1898 and calling it “independence” is, in my humble opinion, a bit of a stretch. While the Filipino revolutionaries did some impressive stuff, including drafting Asia’s first democratic constitution and forming Asia’s first democracy, that was quickly undone by:
- The signing of the Treaty of Paris turned the Philippines into a U.S. territory,
- The Philippine-America war, which would give us such gems as Rudyard Kipling’s dickhead poem, White Man’s Burden. Fuck you, Rudyard, and all your poems. I don’t even quote The Sons of Martha, and I was an engineering student. (And thank you, Mark Twain, for The War Prayer.)
- The massacre in Samar, where U.S. forces just up and killed every male over the age of 10.
- Garbage like this:
In spite of all this, I still celebrate the day. I just don’t do it blindly.