106TH ANNIVERSARY OF OUR INDEPENDENCE FROM SPAIN
MANILA, June 12, 2004 (STAR) ROSES AND THORNS By Alejandro R. Roces - One hundred six years ago today, General Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed the nation’s independence in his residence in Kawit, Cavite. That same day also marked the first official display of our national flag that was adopted by Aguinaldo while he was on exile in Hong Kong and made by Mrs. Marcela Mariño de Agoncillo. According to the Declaration of Independence read on that occasion, the colors red, white and blue in our flag commemorate "the flag of the United States of North America, as a manifestation of our profound gratitude toward this Great Nation for its disinterested protection which it lent us and is continuing to lend us." No one then thought that America’s motive was not only to drive the Spaniards away but to actually replace them.
At any rate, the American flag was popularly referred to as "the red, white and blue" and the Filipino flag became "the red, white and blue with the sun shinning through."
The Philippine flag is possibly the very first flag that incorporated a triangle in its design. This was influenced by the French Revolutionary motto – liberty, equality and fraternity.
On that same historical event, our national anthem was also played for the first time. It had no lyrics because it followed the tradition of the Spanish national anthem that to this day has no lyrics. It was only after the Filipinos saw the Americans singing their national anthem was also played for the first time. It had no lyrics because it followed the tradition of the Spanish national anthem that to this day has no lyrics. It was only after the Filipinos saw the Americans singing their national anthem that Jose Palma supplied the lyrics to ours and it was written in Spanish. Later translated into English and, ironically enough, it was during the Japanese occupation that it got to be sung in Tagalog.
The original title of our national anthem was Marcha Filipina Magdalo which was later altered to Marcha Nacional Filipina. The English translation was done by Camilo Osias and an American named Lane. Now it is called Bayang Magiliw. The national anthem was played by the banda de Malabon from Cavite. Most people today are under the wrong impression that Malabon reterred to the Malabon of Rizal. Malabon means a place full of silt.
What is meaningful now is not our declaration of independence, but what we have done with our independence. During Spanish and American times, we were the second most economically-developed nation in all of Asia, next only to Japan. Today, we are the second poorest after Bangladesh and Bangladesh economy is improving faster than ours.
Do we have something to celebrate or to mourn today?
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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