National Heroes Day in the Philippines

This regular national holiday is celebrated on the last Monday in August. It is known in the Philippines as ‘Araw ng mga Bayani’.

It is a day to honour the bravery of all Filipino heroes who struggled for the nation’s freedom, including those who vanished into anonymity.

Who are the National Heroes?

In 1995, a year before the centenary of the revolution against Spain, a committee produced the following list of key National Heroes who should be honoured for their contribution to the Philippines:

  • Jose Rizal,
  • Andres Bonifacio,
  • Emilio Aguinaldo,
  • Apolinario Mabini,
  • Marcelo H. del Pilar,
  • Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat,
  • Juan Luna,
  • Melchora Aquino
  • Gabriela Silang,

Two of these heroes, Andres Bonifacio and Jose Rizal were key figures in the fight for independence from Spain that they also have specific national holidays in their honour.

The date chosen is intended to mark the ‘Cry of Pugad Lawin’ in August 1896, which was the first act of insurrection against the Spanish colonisers by the Katipunan, a hitherto secret Filipino revolutionary movement. This is seen as the start of the Philippine revolution and movement towards independence.
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1996 was declared as the Year of Filipino Heroes to mark the centennial of the revolution against Spain.

National Heroes’ Day has been celebrated since 1931 when Act No. 3827 stated it should be observed on the last Sunday of August.

In 2007, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Republic Act No. 9492, moving the national holiday to the last Monday of August. The Arroyo administration said that moving the holiday to Monday was in line with the “holiday economics” program and promoted long weekends for citizens to engage with domestic tourism.

The day is marked by parades and the laying of wreaths to honour those who lost their lives in the pursuit of the Philippine nation.

Credits to: Office Holidays


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