Philippine Independence Day 2019 Celebrations in Tūranga – Saturday 15 June

Curious about Philippine culture? Explore and enjoy it here in Tūranga as we celebrate this fascinating country’s 121st Independence Day on 15 June.

The Philippine Independence Day is celebrated every 12th of June in the Philippines. A national holiday, it is commemorated by parades and programs across the country. The grandest is a big parade ending in a fireworks display in Manila attended by the President himself.

In Christchurch, though miles away from the festivities, Philippine Independence Day will be celebrated by over 4,000 Filipinos. Filipinos are now the fourth largest ethnic group in the city.

To acknowledge the significance of this day to them, Tūranga will hold a day of fun activities and spectacular performances showcasing Filipino culture on Saturday 15 June.

“Turanga will provide a platform for the event to celebrate and recognise the importance of Philippine Independence Day for the Filipino community in Christchurch",

said Lulette Carnie, Multicultural Liaison Coordinator of the Christchurch City Libraries, who also leads the event.

A first in any library, Araw ng Kalayaan (Philippine Independence Day) 2019 will be a rare opportunity for everyone to experience and enjoy the colours and unique vibe of Filipino culture moulded over the years by diverse influences.

Children will delight in listening to Filipino folktales in a bilingual storytelling session; play traditional Filipino indoor games; and learn more about Filipino designs and icons through a colouring-in activity.

Parents and other attendees will be awed by a display of beautiful Filipino costumes (which they can try on for selfies!) and immerse themselves in live renditions of Tagalog songs.

Audiences will be entertained further by Filipino dancers with skills akin to acrobats in dances like Tinikling (Bamboo Dance), “Sayaw sa Bangko” (Dance on a Bench), and “Binasuan” (Drinking Glass Dance).

Aside from exhibiting Filipino culture, Carnie said the event in Tūranga will also help in promoting the new central library among Filipino Christchurch residents.

“It will showcase the multi-facets of the facility, its resources, programmes, events and services that can be accessed by the Filipino community to help them get connected, included and informed.”

A Filipino bilingual Storytime, Song, & Rhymes session will also be held at the Upper Riccarton Library from 3.30pm to 4pm on Wednesday 12 June.

Araw ng Kalayaan Philippine Independence Day 2019 will run from 11 am to 3:30 pm on Saturday 15 June at Tautoru / TSB Space, Hapori | Community, Level 1, Tūranga. Subscribe to the Facebook event.

The history of Philippine Independence Day

The year was 1898. Shortly after 4 pm on June 12, thirty miles south of Manila, the Philippines declared its independence from over 300 years of oppressive Spanish rule.

It was the culmination of a bloody and discordant two-year revolt called the Philippine Revolution, the first armed struggle against western colonisers in Asia.

In the event, led by a young general named Emilio Aguinaldo (who would soon become the country’s first president), the Act of Proclamation of Independence of the Filipino People was read to thousands of war-weary but jubilant Filipinos.

For the first time, Filipinos raised the Philippine flag  and sang their national anthem “Lupang Hinirang (Chosen Land)”.

The celebration, however, was short-lived. The Spaniards never recognised the Philippines’ declaration of sovereignty. In December 1898, Spain has instead ceded the Philippines to the Americans in the Treaty of Paris.

For many Filipinos, it was just a change of colonisers. They continued to fight for full independence for another 48 years until it was finally granted by the United States on July 4,1946.

Since 1964, however, the Philippines has opted to consider that afternoon of June 12, 1898 as the moment it gained its freedom. Hence this year, this Southeast Asian country of 7,107 islands will celebrate its 121st Independence Day.

Explore the Philippines

If you are interested to know more about the Philippines, Christchurch City Libraries abounds with resources you can use.

For instance, soak in the country’s unique sounds by checking out our new music eResource Naxos World Music Library. A search for Philippines will generate links to albums and tracks by Filipino artists as well as recordings of Filipino folk songs, folk dances, and indigenous music such as these:

Another eResource Access Video On Demand provides excellent documentaries that lets you delve deeper into the country’s history, lifestyle, tourist attractions, and current events. Below are some examples: 

There are also heaps to learn about the Philippines through its thriving contemporary literature.

The recent years saw the surge of young Filipino fiction writers, mostly expatriates, using their country’s history and socio-political scene as backdrop for their writings. A lot of these are in our shelves in hard copies and digital formats such as the following:

The country is further explored through many of our non-fiction books. These are some of our recently added titles:

Read Helen's post highlighting the history of the Philippines, cooking, and more.

Filipino language