Screenshot of Fil-Spanish footballer Juani Guirado's Twitter post on Wednesday, wishing his home country a "happy" Independence Day celebration.

MANILA, JUNE 17, 2013
(PHILSTAR) By Camille Diola - If not taking part in "offline" Independence Day celebrations, Filipinos showed their gratitude as the country celebrates its 115th year of freedom from Spanish colonial rule in cyberspace.

Social media users urged fellow Filipinos on Wednesday to "remember" those who fought to acquire independence as the topic "Happy Independence Day" occupied a top spot in microblogging site Twitter's trending keywords

Mina V. Esguerra @ - Oh and happy independence day to the Philippines. I chose you, I care about you, I am working to help you.

Twinky Lagdameo @ - It's a gift to be free and live in a country that allows everyone to be themselves in faith, work, life. Happy Independence Day!

Adrian Ayalin @ - Happy Independence Day everyone! Leap of faith and calculated risks, something to learn from our heroes.

Paolo Roldan @ - Happy Independence Day guys! Let's all remember our fatherland's sacrifice to gain our freedom today.

Overseas Filipinos, too, did not forget their homeland's important day.

Spanish-Filipino football player Juani Guirado of Racing Lermeño and the Philippines' Azkals greeted fans on Twitter, praising the country for being "united, free and prosperous."

Qatar-based Ayen Molina also remembered her land of birth.

Ayen Molina @ - One flag, one land, one heart. Happy Independence Day PI. Let freedom never perish in your hands.

Celebrities like basketball star Kiefer Ravena also did not skip out on the chance to inspire their followers to be more patriotic.

Kiefer Ravena @ - happy independence day everyone! learn to love and appreciate what we have as one country! #MabuhayPinas

Those from other countries also sent a message to Filipinos on their anniversary.

D I M A S @ - Happy Independence Day Philipines !!! long live and keep up the good growth of economical quality ,with love from #INDONESIA


115 years of Philippine independence by Posted on 06/12/2013 8:47 PM | Updated 06/13/2013 3:51 PM

[Makati city unveils the Philippine Bamboo Flag Museum and Shell Bamboo display at the Ayala Triangle Gardens. Photo by Jay Ganzon]

MANILA, Philippines - On the 115th independence day of the Philippines, President Benigno Aquino III is in a combative mood.

Making subtle references to the territorial disputes involving the Philippines, he reminded Filipinos that fighting for independence means "we must also show the true qualities of the Filipino." (READ: Aquino: Unite, fight like a Filipino)

A shopping mall displays a Philippine flag made of flowers in Baguio City. Photo by Dave Leprozo Jr.

The mood is different in other parts of the country.

Baguio City showcased creativity by presenting a large Philippine flag made of 14,000 roses and 6,000 Malaysian mums. It measures 22 feet by 11 feet. The city is a major producer of cut flowers.

In Kawit, Cavite -- where the Philippine flag was officially raised for the first time in 1898 -- Senator Franklin Drilon and Cavite-born Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya led the celebration.

There are those who spent the day in a cemetery or chose to join the Independence Day job fair in Luneta.

[Makati city unveils the Philippine Bamboo Flag Museum and Shell Bamboo display at the Ayala Triangle Gardens. Photo by Jay Ganzon]

But for protesters in Manila, there is no reason to celebrate. Anti-U.S. marchers want U.S. troops out of the country. They also belittled the economic growth under the Aquino administration.

Check out photos from various independence day events around the country. -

Aquino on Independence Day: Follow Bonifacio by Posted on 06/12/2013 10:40 PM | Updated 06/12/2013 11:10 PM


The script of the video report follows.)

For the first time, President Benigno Aquino leads the 115th Independence Day rites at Liwasang Bonifacio.

It's a shrine devoted to Andres Bonifacio, the hero who led the armed revolution against Spain.

The Palace says it's a recognition of Bonifacio’s role in history. The country marks Bonifacio's 150th birth anniversary this year.

Aquino says Filipinos should follow Bonifacio's example. He calls for courage and love of neighbor.

BENIGNO AQUINO III, PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT: Maliwanag po ang pahiwatig ng kanyang tindig: Karangalan ang magtaya ng buhay para sa bayan; taas-noo nating maipagmamalaki ang mga naiambag natin para sa kalayaan. Kasabay nito, tila mapanghamon din ang titig ni Bonifacio: Ikaw, Pilipino, ano na ang nagawa mo para sa iyong bandila at kapwa? (It's clear in his posture: It's honor to lay down one's life for the country; we take pride in our contributions to promote our freedom. At the same time, Bonifacio's gaze poses a challenge: You, Filipino, what have you done for your flag and your neighbor?)

Aquino says this in the face of protests over government services.

In Tutuban, Bonifacio's birthplace, militant groups denounce Philippine independence as fake. They downplay the government's economic gains.

A day before this, the National Statistics Office reports more Filipinos are jobless in April compared to the same period last year. This, despite a stellar 7.8 percent growth in the country's economy.

PATERNO ESMAQUEL, REPORTING: One hundred and fifty years ago, Andres Bonifacio fought to uplift the plight of the masses. But the same issues hound the poor to this day, posing a challenge for the Philippine government.

Aquino says ending poverty is everyone's responsibility.

Huwag sana tayong maghintay pa ng tatlondaang taon, o ng tatlong dekada, o kahit ng tatlong taon, bago tayo magpasyang magbuklod para maging malaya tayo mula sa gutom, kahirapan, o anumang banta sa ating soberenya’t seguridad.

Hindi tama na mapahaba pa ang pagtitiis ng mga Pilipino ni isang minuto. (Let us not wait for 300 years, or 3 decades or even 3 years before we come together in order to free ourselves from hunger, poverty or whatever threats to our sovereignty and security.

It is not right to prolong the suffering of Filipinos by another minute.)

Today, Independence Day, Bonifacio, the hero of the masses, shines above other heroes from that era – a fitting symbolism for Aquino, whose stellar economic numbers have yet to trickle down to the working man. Paterno Esmaquel, Rappler, Manila. –

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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