Happy Araw ng Kalayaan, the day The Philippines declared independence from Spanish Rule in 1898. Although the Philippines didn’t get their full independence from the United States of America until July 4, 1946, commemorating the birth of the Filipino nation on June 12th and celebrating our ancestors fighting for our freedom is a big deal.
Imagine just being on your own island, minding your own business only to experience years and years of suppression and to lose touch of your own identity due to colonization. Even to this day, there’s always that question, are we still really free? There’s so much history of our motherland that was kept from us and is still lost.
In elementary school, I was told to write an essay to honor Ferdinand Magellan for “discovering” the Philippines. Me, a 9 something year old, Filipina, praising Magellan, because that’s what the history books taught me. WTF. My teachers never corrected me, because either 1, They didn’t know or didn’t care to know or 2, We were so hesitant to challenge the system. What they taught us was what really happened... Right?
I’ve seen so many of you asking, what was the Philippines before “The Philippines”? What was it called before it was named after King Philip II? Should we change it to Maharlika? What IS our identity, if we erased Western influence from our culture... The list goes on.
And this is why I love being Filipino. We have so much pride for our culture no matter how much pain is embedded in it. We stay strong even when we're silenced. This is the freedom they fought for. To amplify our voice, to ask questions, challenge the system, and to dig deeper into our history.
This year’s Araw ng Kalayaan and the days to come, I invite you to learn something new about Philippine history. I still don’t know many things, especially growing up as a Filipino-American, there’s still more to learn than what is presented on the surface and I’m glad to have found a community that encourages me and educates me.
Please feel free to drop some knowledge in the comment section and start a conversation! Shout out to @diamonda_rough for inviting me on this #philippinesindependenceday2021 campaign and the goodies from @byhales , Mie Makes, Recognize Royalty.