Julián Felipe Day in the Philippines Date in the current year: January 28, 2024

Julián Felipe Day in the Philippines Julián Felipe Day is a special non-working holiday celebrated in the Philippine city of Cavite on January 28. It honors a renowned Filipino composer who is best remembered for composing the music of the national anthem of the Philippines.

Julián Reyes Felipe was born in Cavite City, then known as Cavite Nuevo, on January 28, 1861. He showed his musical talent at an early age and learned how to play the piano and the organ from a Catholic priest. Felipe then worked as an organist at the San Pedro Apostol Parish Church. He also worked as a music teacher at the girls’ school La Sagrada Familia.

While working as a musician and a teacher, Felipe also composed music, which earned him various awards and accolades. In 1895, shortly before the beginning of the Philippine Revolution, he was admitted to the prestigious Santa Cecilia Musical Society.

When the revolution broke out in August 1896, Felipe joined the fight against the Spanish and was captured. He was jailed at Fort San Felipe along with other Filipino patriots, including the Thirteen Martyrs of Cavite who were executed on September 12, 1896. Felipe, however, wasn’t sentenced to death and was released in June 1897, having spent nine months in jail.

Following his release from prison, Felipe joined the troops of Emilio Aguinaldo. He composed various patriotic songs to inspire nationalists to continue their fight against the Spanish rule. Shortly before proclaiming the independence of the Philippines, Aguinaldo asked Felipe to compose incidental music to accompany this historic event.

“Marcha Nacional Filipina” (“Philippine National March”) was first performed in public during the proclamation of Philippine independence on June 12, 1898. It was adopted as the national march of the First Philippine Republic in 1899 and re-adopted as the national anthem of the Commonwealth of the Philippines in 1938. Today, the anthem is known as “Lupang Hinirang” (“Chosen Land”).

During the short-lived First Philippine Republic, Aguinaldo appointed Felipe as Director of the National Band. However, this appointment did not last long; shortly after the breakout of Philippine-American War, Felipe was captured by the Americans and imprisoned at Fort Santiago in Manila.

After the war, Felipe was released from prison and even elected as a city councilor. He also served as a bandmaster of the United States Navy for a little while in 1904. Felipe also worked as a piano teacher for four decades from 1902 and 1942, and continued to compose music. He died on October 2, 1944 in Manila, where he had lived most of his later life, and was buried in Cavite City.

Felipe’s birth anniversary was declared as a non-working special public holiday in Cavite City in 1994, and its first celebration was held on January 28, 1995. Every Julián Felipe Day, the bust of Felipe in Cavite City is adorned with flowers, and a festive ceremony that includes speeches, songs, and instrumental performances is held to recognize his talent and honor his contribution to Philippine music.

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Julián Felipe Day in the Philippines, Julián Felipe Day in Cavite City, observances in the Philippines, regional holidays