In many key cities and major provinces in the country, one can see the spirit of Independence Day with Philippine flags flying on every street as well as the original flags of the Katipunan (Revolution) lining up on road islands.
The Philippine Declaration of Independence occurred on June 12, 1898 in the Philippines, where Filipino revolutionary forces under General Emilio Aguinaldo (later to become the Philippines' first Republican President) proclaimed the sovereignty and independence of the Philippine Islands from the colonial rule of Spain after the latter was defeated at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War.
The declaration, however, was not recognized by the United States or Spain, as the Spanish government ceded the Philippines to the United States in the 1898 Treaty of Paris, in consideration for an indemnity for Spanish expenses and assets lost.
The United States recognized Philippine independence on July 4, 1946 in the Treaty of Manila. Independence Day was observed in the Philippines on the July 4 anniversary of this event until, upon the advice of historians and at the urging of nationalist politicians, President Diosdado Macapagal signed Republic Act No. 4166 into law on August 4, 1964, designating June 12, which had previously been observed as Flag Day, as the country's Independence Day.
The declaration, in the form of a proclamation, in the presence of a huge crowd, was done on June 12, 1898 at the ancestral home of General Emilio Aguinaldo between four and five in the afternoon in Cavite el Viejo (now Kawit), Cavite, some 30 kilometers South of Manila. The event saw the unfurling of the National Flag of the Philippines, made in Hong Kong by Mrs. Marcela Agoncillo, Lorenza Agoncillo and Delfina Herboza, and the performance of the Marcha Filipina Magdalo, as the Nation's National Anthem, now known as Lupang Hinirang, which was composed by Julian Felipe and played by the San Francisco de Malabon Marching band.
The Act of the Declaration of Independence was prepared and written by Senior Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista in Spanish, who also read the said declaration. A passage in the Declaration reminds one of another passage in the American Declaration of Independence. The Philippine Declaration was signed by ninety-eight persons, among them an American army officer who witnessed the proclamation. The proclamation of Philippine independence was, however, promulgated on the 1st of August, when many towns had already been organized under the rules laid down by the Dictatorial Government of General Aguinaldo. The final paragraph states that there was a "stranger" (stranger in English translation — etranger in the original Spanish, possibly meaning foreigner) who attended the proceedings, Mr. L. M. Johnson, described as "a citizen of the U.S.A, a Coronel of Artillery".
The June 12 proclamation was later modified by another Proclamation done at Malolos, Bulacan, upon the insistence of Apolinario Mabini, who objected to the Original proclamation, which essentially placed the Philippines under the protection of the United States.