117 years ago, Philippine Independence was declared in this house. For most people who have not known any other Philippines than a free one, a declaration of independence may not have much significance. It is important therefore to create awareness especially among the Filipino youth that freedom was not always there and that many people suffered and died for us to have a country we can all call our home. In fact, the very question we need to be asking ourselves is how do we give back to our country, the Philippines?
Where It Started
This house now known as the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite, was where the Philippine flag was first hoisted in 1898. This was also the time when the Marcha Nacional Filipina was first played before Filipinos. This is the very reason why this place will always be the center of activity in every celebration of Philippine Independence. This year was no different.
The shrine is the ancestral home of the first President of the Philippines, Emilio Aguinaldo. It was declared a national shrine in June 18, 1964. Aguinaldo was buried in the middle of the garden as marked by a marble tomb.
117th Philippine Independence
The Independence Day program for this year at the Aguinaldo Shrine was simple yet very symbolic. Cavite Governor Juanito Victor Remulla and Camarines Sur Third District Representative Leni Gerona-Robredo graced the occasion. This year’s celebration however was made more special with the participation of Jollibee as headed by South Luzon Regional Business Unit Head Bambi Bejo, with the special participation of Jollibee Kids Club members representing the Filipino youth.
Give Back to our Country
So how do we give back to someone who has given us so much? Isn’t it we usually do it in the form of a material gift? But how do we give back to a country who will have no use for a personal material gift? Apparently in more ways than one, based on the public response to Jollibee’s question to Pinoys: Ano’ng gift mo sa Pilipinas?
Since no celebration is complete without a cake, Jollibee presented the tweet-powered cake during the celebration. It was a giant cake using the commitment expressed by Filipinos and Pinoys at heart on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook with the hashtag #HappyBdayPilipinas as decoration. This commitment consists of simple acts that can be done and offered as a gift by a citizen to the country.
We can think of so many ways to give back to our country. It doesn’t even have to be a very ambitious one as a simple act that can be consistently done to help our country is more than enough. The celebration was almost marred by the surprise appearance of a militant group. While I maintain respect for all points of view, I can’t help thinking that there is a right place and time for everything. While we don’t have a perfect set-up in our country (actually far from it), each one of us should do our share in action, not merely words.
So I end this post at a jolly note, Happy Independence Day to all Filipinos! May we never again experience the horrors of being under foreign control and may we use our freedom wisely. Let us all be proud to be Filipinos.