Manila, Philippines - Off and on rainshowers throughout the day Tuesday failed to dampen the spirits of many Filipinos who took to the streets early to celebrate the 114th Philippine Independence Day in Metro Manila and key cities of the country.
As early 5 a.m., rain clouds hovered over Metro Manila and rains fell every now and then.
Celebration of the Philippine Independence Day went on as scheduled with President Benigno C. Aquino III arriving a little late at Barasaoin Church in Malolos, Bulacan.
Loud cheers erupted at the churchyard when the Chief Executive alighted from the presidential limousine and was welcomed with full military honors by Army troopers clad in “rayadillo" uniform of Filipino revolutionary forces.
Vice Presidentand Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim led the flag raising and wreath laying ceremony at Rizal Monument.
The weather cooperated during the flag raising as rain abruptly stop shortly before the program starts.
Simultaneous flag raising ceremonies were also held in different historical sites in the country as part of the celebration of the Araw ng Kalayaan.
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines executive committee prepared several events fitted for the occasion to make it more meaningful and memorable.
In San Juan City, Metro Manila, a rainsoaked Senator Aquilino Martin “Koko” D. Pimentel III laid a wreath at the Pinaglabanan Shrine. With him were San Juan City Rep. Jose Victor “JV” Ejercito, San Juan City Mayor Guia Gomez and San Juan City Vice Mayor Francisco Javier Zamora.
On arrival, Pimentel was given arrival honors by officers and personnel San Juan City Police Station led by Sr. Supt. Rainer Espina
Balloons flew after the flag raising ceremony to the delight of schoolchildren and residents.
In his speech “Let us carry on the struggles of our gallant heroes by devoting our collective energies to the battle against poverty and injustice.”
This was the call made by Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III during the 114th celebration of Philippine Independence at the historic Pinaglabanan Shrine in the city of San Juan, Metro Manila.
In his speech, Pimentel said “the heroism of our freedom fighters who shed their blood at the Battle of Pinaglabanan should continue to inspire us to fight for a strong and modern Filipino nation.”
The Battle of Pinaglabanan, also known as the Battle of San Juan del Monte, is the very first battle of the Katipunan against the Spanish colonial government during the Philippine Revolution.
The battle took place on August 30, 1896 wherein Andres Bonifacio led his men to attack a military depot in San Juan and they fought it out against 100 well-armed Spanish soldiers.
The campaign was a failure as around 200 Katipuneros were taken prisoner and 153 were killed.
The battle inspired Filipinos to rise in arms and the revolution quickly spread to Manila, Cavite and other parts of Luzon.
“More than a century has passed since the historic battle, and our circumstances now are different from the circumstances then, but the challenge remains the same –to continue working together and never waver from the straight and righteous path to establish a future of peace, progress and development for all the people of our beloved republic, most especially for the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized,” Pimentel said.
“As the living descendants of our heroes, it is our obligation to persist and stay the course. If you are right, never give up,” he said.
He exhorted the Filipino people “to unite as one to overcome the forces of division and strife and tightly embrace peace -peace that should lead our country towards progress, development and stability based on justice.”
The ceremonies include the offering of flowers at the Pinaglabanan Shrine followed by the lighting of the Torch of Independence.