National Heroes Day is an annual national public holiday in the Philippines celebrated to commemorate the patriotic heroes of the country who dedicated their lives to the betterment of the Filipino people. It is celebrated every last Monday of August in order to honor the efforts of all considered national heroes. Knowing more about this day can be very interesting and you can do so by continuing to read the article below.
What is National Heroes Day?
The Philippines was colonized by different countries during its early years. Most notably, Spain colonized the Philippines for about 300 years. But all throughout these years of colonization, there are Filipino rebels who opposed the forces of those who want to colonize the country in general and the different areas within it. Even during the American and Japanese occupation of the Philippines, there were Filipinos who became major contributors toward the achievement of independence of the country. Some of these people are Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo, Apolinario Mabini, Marcel H. Del Pilar, Sultan Kudarat, Juan Luna, Melchora Aquino, and Gabriela Silang. The goal of the national heroes day is to pay homage to and honor these great names.
History of National Heroes Day Philippines
National Heroes Day is conducted each year to commemorate the national heroes of the Philippines. This Philippines public holiday was established in the first place to celebrate the patriotism, sacrifice, and good deeds of all national heroes of the country, especially those names that are given above. Long before the achievement of independence by the country, National Heroes Day has already been celebrated in the country. However, more formally, it was in 1995 that a special committee in the country produced a list of national heroes who should be the key figures of the day of celebration these key figures are the same as the names above. But let us go through each of them in more detail:
- Jose Rizal – Jose Rizal is one of the key figures and one of the most popular people in the Philippines. When Philippines heroes are being talked about, Jose Rizal is the first name that comes to the mind of most Filipinos. He is well-known for his non-violent treatment of revolution. He created two novels that reflect the Philippine society in general under the colonization of Spain. He demonstrated through those two novels how the Filipinos suffered because of friars and the inconsiderate and biased government of Spain during that time. The name of the two novels is Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, with the latter being the sequel to the former. Through these, Jose Rizal became the light of the revolution which sparked the minds of the Filipinos during that time, especially Andres Bonifacio.
- Andres Bonifacio – was a revolutionary leader who became the president of the Tagalog Republic. He is known for orchestrating and leading several demonstrations and revolts in some parts of the country. Because of this, he is often called the Father of the Philippine Revolution. This was a major step toward the Philippines being able to finally be free from Spanish colonization.
- Emilio Aguinaldo – became the first-ever President of the Republic of the Philippines. This feat is a great achievement although his being considered a national hero is still controversial in the country because of his involvement in the death of Andres Bonifacio and his selling of the Philippines to the Americans.
- Apolinario Mabini – was known as the brain of the revolution. He was a disabled person who cannot walk. However, he became the main legal and constitutional adviser of the revolutionary government of the Philippines. When the first Republic was established, he became the first Prime minister of the country.
- Marcel H. Del Pilar – was one of the leaders of the Reform Movement in Spain together with Jose Rizal and Graciano Lopez Jaena. Together, wanted the Philippines to become an official province of Spain so that the Filipinos will be given equal rights as that the Spaniards living in the country.
- Sultan Kudarat – was a Filipino who lived in the Southern part of the Philippines and became well known for successfully fighting off any threat of Spanish colonization in the island of Mindanao. This is the main reason why the Spaniards found it very difficult to spread Roman Catholicism in the island and also the main reason why up until now, the dominant religion in the island is Islam.
- Juan Luna – was a political activist during the Philippine revolution. He became one of the most recognized Filipino artists even winning exhibitions internationally. He was a member of the Propaganda Movement who advocated for a better brotherhood and relationship between Spain and the Philippines.
- Melchora Aquino – is also known as Tandang Sora. Even in her old age, she contributed largely during the Philippine Revolution by taking care of wounded combatants and also feeding and housing the women and children. Because of this, she was known as the Grand Woman of the Revolution and the Mother of Balintawak.
- Gabriela Silang – was a Filipino revolutionary leader who became the best-known female leader of a movement against Spanish colonization. She led the Ilocano revel movement against the Spaniards by taking over her husband’s position as leader after he was assassinated. This continued on for four months until she was captured and executed by the Spaniards.
When is National Heroes Day?
As mentioned above, National Heroes Day in the Philippines is celebrated on August 29.
National Heroes Day Celebration
There are various activities conducted during National Heroes Day in order to honor those people who have made great contributions to the betterment of the Philippines. Filipinos often celebrate National Heroes Day by attending and participating in local commemorations. For instance, there are parades held displaying the key national heroes of the country. Most of these national heroes also have their own statues in a different parts of the country. People honor such statues and lay some commemorations in these statues or shrines.
Since National Heroes Day is a public holiday in the Philippines, schools and universities do not have classes. But long before that, like a week, they already prepare for the celebration by making students learn more about these national heroes, draw their faces on papers as assignments, and do quizzes about the lives and contributions of these great figures.
Many patriotic organizations and clubs also celebrate the day by conducting activities that commemorate the national heroes such as plays that portray them.
Since National Heroes Day is always held on a Monday, many people take advantage of the long weekend vacation starting Saturday by going on a trip with their friends and families. Those who don’t usually spend the day off during Monday by spending their day with their friends and families at parks. Others go to the malls to shop. Some go to other public areas. The usual thing that happens is that during the evening, many local areas hold fireworks display.
Is National Heroes Day Double Pay?
As declared, during National Heroes Day, it is required for employers to give their employees 200% of their basic wages for the first eight hours worked. Anything beyond that, workers should receive 130% of their basic hourly wage. Hence, National Heroes Day gives double pay to workers for the first eight hours with overtime work being compensated for an additional 30% of the basic wage.
Read Also: Rizal Day
Employers are expected to follow this rule since those who fail to do so can receive sanctions from the Philippine government.
National Heroes Day Quotes
The celebration of National Heroes Day in the Philippines is best done by reminding everyone about the great heroes for making great sacrifices so that we are what we are right now. You can celebrate National Heroes Day through simple means like sharing National Heroes Day quotes messages, and greetings. Here are some ideas:
- A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. – Joseph Campbell
- The youth is the hope of our future – Jose Rizal.
- He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination. – Jose Rizal.
- Today is National Heroes Day. Please take a moment to remember our most heroic fellow Filipino people.
- It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.
- I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country. – Nathan Hale
- A hero. You want to be one of those rare human beings who make history, rather than merely watch it flow around them like water around a rock.
- I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people. – Maya Angelou
- The hero sees values beyond what’s possible. That’s the nature of a hero. It kills him, of course, ultimately. But it makes the whole struggle of humanity worthwhile.