Independence Day 2017 Long-Weekend Guide: Schizophrenic Dates, 18th Century Art, and Sunsets

As for us Filipinos, we celebrate every occasion there is available even our local government tolerates our love for these holidays. We celebrate big time city days i.e “Makati Day”, “Pasig Day” and any other local municipality that has been randomly been founded. We even declare that we don’t need to go to work or attend school so we can observe these holidays. The operative word is ‘OBSERVANCE’, but what we really mean by this is lounging around at home in our PJ’s and binge on Netflix all day or we’d rather go to a mall complex, take in all consumerism marketing that is being fed to us and devour that Starbucks Frappuccino when you’re a little tired from your window shopping.

We have roughly had 25 announced declared holidays this year, while we can give into our guilty pleasures to just binge on our certain life routines I feel like there a few National holidays that are worth celebrating for, and that is the Philippine Independence on June 12th.

A Summarized Synopsis of Our History

In 1962, President Diosdado Macapagal issued Proclamation No. 28 moving the Independence Day celebration to June 12.

Copy of the first page of the Act of Independence signed in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898


This is because of June 12, 1898, is the day when the first Philippine Republic, led by President Emilio Aguinaldo, ratified the “Acta de la proclamacion de independencia del pueblo Filipino.”

Those who paid notice to their history lessons though will reckon that the Philippines did not stay free from a colonizing power after this declaration. Philippines independence was not recognized either by the United States of America or by Spain. The Spanish government later gave the Philippines to the United States in the 1898 Treaty of Paris. The Philippines Revolutionary Government did not recognize the treaty.  When the Americans wanted to carry out the terms of the treaty, a three-year conflict, now called the Philippine-American War, ensued.

Relatively, just acknowledging that the Philippines is free from Spain, who colonized over the Philippines for 300 years and was already severely weakened at the time, chose to yield us (and its other colonies) to another power, which is the United States of America, via the Treaty of Paris which was signed in December 1898.

During the Philippine-American War by which the Americans and what their own history books told them that native Filipinos are just being insurgents. The war erupted shortly when then American President William Mckinley defended the colonization of the Philippine Islands, he argued that we were “unfit for self-government” and hence needed to be “educated,” “uplifted” and “civilized.”. 

The US granted independence to the Philippines on 4 July 1946 through the Treaty of Manila. They went for July 4th to partner it with their own 4th of July Independence. The word independence may not have been used then. But the concept of kalayaan or freedom is embedded in the Katipunan’s struggle. It is enshrined in the Katipunan’s kartilya (charter). We weren’t really free during those times. So regardless of that declaration day, we were run by America’s imperialism. What is the value of the June 12, 1898, declaration at all? Probably because of customs?

The underlying backstory of that June 12th declaration is not so pleasant at all. It is a mediocre approach to what relatively ‘Freedom’ really means. Nevertheless, these schizophrenic dates what we should never fail to observe, celebrate and ponder are our ancestors struggles and what remains from that time to remind us of how the past fought hard and bled blue for us to have this liberation that we are experiencing up until this very day. Proper

It’s going to be a long weekend holiday and we have a few suggestions on how you can observe Independence Day. Most of the recommendation on this guide are all the renovated and revamped by the government that most of us aren’t aware of.  It is highly recommended that we take time re-visit and appreciate these iconic spots.

Rizal Park

 1st Stop: Re-experience and re-visit

  • Opens 5:00 am-9:00 pm
  • Entrance: Free
  • Approximate duration of stay: 1.5- 2hours
  • Parking: available
  • Average cost: Light snacks and drinks (50php-70php)/pax



Simply known as Luneta Park. It is our own urban park located along Roxas Boulevard, Manila adjacent to the old walls of Intramuros. The Manila City Hall have been doing a great job upgrading and maintaining the park as they re-introduce new avenues for bird watching, organized food stalls, micro parks inside the park.


Snack boxes peppered around the plaza. They’re pretty organized and clean.


Randomly challenge chess veterans over at The Chess Plaza. Inaugurated during 1979, nerves and patience are tested to the hilt given the very high level of competition. Masters, club players, high rated players and very strong enthusiasts all sharpen their skills in this small chess plaza. One cannot underestimate any player. But, be wary of chess hustlers whose only aim is to make a few bucks through blinding blitz games.



2nd Stop: Watch Free Full Dome Shows

  • Opens 9:00am-4:00pm
  • Address: Padre Burgos Ave Rizal Park Metro Manila Philippines, Rizal Park Padre Burgos Ave, Ermita, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines
  • Entrance: is free (for the interim)
  • Approximate duration of stay: 1.5- 2hours
  • Parking: available

The Planetarium is located between the Japanese Garden and the Chinese Garden at the Luneta Park. They already have full dome shows that are available due to their recent upgrade in facilities from the last their 1975 analog projector has been integrated with a new digital projector by Goto. This hybrid projection is the first in Asia.



Schedule of weekly shows:

Tuesday to Saturday

  • 9:00 am – A Planet for Goldilocks
  • 10:30 am – Hayabusa Back to the Earth
  • 1:00 pm – A Planet for Goldilocks
  • 2:30 pm – Journey to a Billion Suns
  • 4:00 pm – Hayabusa Back to the Earth


  • 10:00 am – Journey to a Billion Suns
  • 2:00 pm – Hayabusa Back to the Earth


3rd Stop: Wander off and get lost in art 

  • Opens 10:00am-5:00 pm
  • Entrance is free
  • Approximate duration of stay: 2- 3hours
  • Parking available
  • Address: P. Burgos Drive, Rizal Park, Manila
    Tuesdays-Sundays, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Website: National Museum Official Site


Beautiful brass door knobs of the National Museum

The National Museum has a three-dimensional goal covering diverse of fields of knowledge through various educational, scientific and cultural activities. Personal favorite will always be the preserved cultural significance art in history


Registration area

We always come during weekends and it is a good initiative of the national government that they waived the entrance fees to the museum making it more accessible to the greater public. More patrons are coming in consistently especially during the weekends.

Aside from collections from different known National Artist like Juan Luna, they also showcase contemporary art and installs per time seasons. Making Art today as an open forum for visual statements available for aesthetic consumption.


The public areas are newly renovated, well-lit, air-conditioned and efficiently placed collections.


This entire art collection constitutes a large portion of the artistic patrimony of the nation and one of our legacies to the coming generations.


4th Stop:  Watch free film screenings 

  • Opens: dependent on screening schedule
  • Adress: 855 T. M. Kalaw St., Ermita Manila
  • Ticket Price: 150php, sometimes free.
  • Approximate duration of stay: 2 hours
  • Parking:  available
  • Website:

Not to everyone’s awareness that there are venues sponsored and initiated by our national government under the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), whose mission is to “Bring Filipino films to Filipinos“. Currently, the Philippine Cinematheque is a vital part of the Sineng Pambansa or National Cinema program of FDCP it is functionally designed to host a film museum, well-managed screening room, and can host various related seminars.

Facade of the venue
For the month of June 2017 screening schedules

Learn more about Cinematheque Manila from one of our featured experience-based articles.


5th Stop: Shop at the X Future Market at Escolta

  • Entrance:  free
  • Approximate duration of stay: 1hour
  • Parking: Side Street
  • Average cost: Dependent on your purchases

Celebrate and appreciate Filipino ingenuity and craftsmanship.

A project started by a collective community of artists, 98B the market aims to bring back the glory days of the former premier shopping district. Every weekend, most predominantly Saturdays. Where local artist makers of multidisciplinary design discipline gather and sell their own products.


Entrepreneurs gather here and set up shops to interact with the community and sell local artist-made merchandise, crafts, and quirky vintage items.


You can find prints of different art styles and different media from several of the emerging artists present in the market. They do not capitalize their art too much so you’d be able to purchase items at a very reasonable price.

Read more about Escolta Proj-> Escolta Resurrection


6th Stop: Watch the Sunset

  • Adress: Along Roxas Blvd. Manila
  • Entrance: FREE
  • Approximate duration of stay: 2 hours
  • Parking: available

What better way to end your day than to witness the magnificent Manila Bay Sunset.

photo from @philippine images facebook

Sunset views are amazing, romantic, and relaxing. The breathtaking scenery of a sunset turning the sea and the skies into gold can take our problems and stresses away. It is literally free. Just take a spot and wait. Sometimes we just need to pause for awhile doing nothing at all.

Forecast Time from June 10-12:

Schedule of sunset for the following days

Other optional activities: Fort Santiago and Intramuros walking tour.

In conclusion, Manila is a silo of history and culture from the past. It is our direct link to the archive of what and who we were before. The Philippines had a pretty interesting history of struggle, tolerance and triumphant recoveries.

Most myriad attractions may look obscure and flawed by the people and lack of government support before, but we can now see that we are picking up slowly and both national gov’t and even private groups are making an effort to resurrect the spirit of the past that influences us now. We are a cultural gumbo of  Spanish, American, and Chinese influences are heady and rich. What we inherited from our ancestors are their resiliency, adaptability and the capacity to rebuild ourselves and our nation after centuries of being handed over from one colony to another.

Hope you’ll all have a good Independence Day Weekend.

Do you want to collaborate? or recommend other places? Comment on the line below or send us an e-mail over at

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