First Philippine Republic Day in the Philippines Date in the current year: January 23, 2024

First Philippine Republic Day in the Philippines The First Philippine Republic Day (Araw ng Unang Republika ng Pilipinas) is observed in the Philippines on January 23 every year. It commemorates the establishment of the short-lived First Philippine Republic in 1899.

The Philippines is one of the countries that have had to earn their independence more than once: it declared its independence from Spain in 1898 and then from the United States in 1946. The period of Spanish rule in the Philippines began in 1565, 44 years after the discovery of the archipelago by a Spanish expedition led by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

The first permanent European settlement in the Philippines was established in Cebu by Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi. Most of the archipelago eventually came under Spanish rule that lasted until the late 19th century, not counting the almost two-year British occupation of Manila from October 1762 to April 1764.

Revolutionary sentiments began to arise in the Philippines in the second half of the 19th century. In 1872, around 200 locally recruited soldiers and laborers started a mutiny in Cavite, hoping it would spark a national uprising. The mutiny was suppressed by the colonial authorities, and many of its participants were executed. Among them were three Catholic priests, Mariano Gómez, José Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora. Their execution had a profound effect on many Filipino nationalists, including José Rizal and Andrés Bonifacio.

At first, Filipino nationalists simply wanted to raise awareness of the needs of the colony and advocates for social reforms. For this purpose, Filipino liberals in exile and students attending European universities founded an organization named La Solaridad in Spain in 1888. The first organization advocating for Philippine independence was the Katipunan, a secret society founded in Manila in 1892.

Led by Andrés Bonifacio, the Katipunan started a revolution against the Spanish Empire near Caloocan in August 1896. They were forced to declare a revolt prematurely due to being discovered by Spanish authorities. The revolution spread throughout the archipelago, and by June 1898 the rebels, with some unofficial help from the United States that was at war with Spain, had gained control of most of the countryside, while the cities remained under the Spanish control.

On June 12, 1898, revolutionary leader Emilio Aguinaldo issued the Philippine Declaration of Independence, asserting the independence of the Philippines from Spain. The newly independent country was governed by several subsequent revolutionary governments until January 23, 1899, when the Malolos Constitution went into force, establishing the First Philippine Republic.

Sadly, the republic was short-lived. Since neither Spain, nor the United States recognized the independence of the Philippines, the United States claimed sovereignty over the archipelago according to the 1898 Treaty of Paris. The First Philippine Republic entered into war with the United States on February 4, 1899, lost it, and officially ceased to exist on April 1, 1901.

The First Philippine Republic Day was established on 2018 by President Rodrigo Duterte and was first observed in 2019. Unlike Independence Day, it is a special working holiday, which means that government institutions, schools, and private organizations and businesses remain open unless the holiday falls on a weekend.

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