Murals found in the streets of Manila celibrating Philippine and China friendship Day.

Murals of life enjoy!!

Every June 9 is Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day. It commemorates the establishment of relations between the Republic of the Philippines and the People's Republic of China in 1975.

President Gloria Arroyo declared this special commemoration in 2002.

The celebration is always organized by the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. or FFCCCII. This year's was the seventh Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day Celebration Night.

The speeches delivered by the President and Ambassador Song Tao were virtual declarations of love between the Philippines and China.

Said the President: "It was my honor when I was Co-Chairman then of the Association for Philippines-China.

Philippine Public Holidays

New Year's Day

New Year's Day, or Araw ng Bagong Taon is celebrated with the family in or outside the house. The year is greeted on the Bisperas ng Bagong Taon (New Year's Eve) with a lavish feast, called media noche (literally, "middle of the night"). Round shaped foods, sticky or glutinous rice based foods, and various 12 round shaped fruits for each of the months of the year are served. Traditionally, Filipinos, Chinese, and Spaniards stay at home, the latter serving parties lavishly, which almost always includes a lechon (suckling roasted pig). However, more and more of the younger generation and the recent immigrants such as Americans have popularized the celebration of the New Year in grand hotels, restaurants, in parks, and in streets. Children light firecrackers such as watusi or the sinturon ni Hudas (Judas' belt), while adults spend the night recollecting the year, and, in many families, involves a Bible reading..

Last Day of the Year Celebrations

Citing the Filipino tradition of New Year's Day, the Philippine Congress decided to formally recognize December 31 as an annual non-working holiday where it is sandwiched in between two official Philippine holidays (these being Rizal Day and New Year's Day, though Rizal Day is not necessarily celebrated on its official December 30 date).

Holy Week

Holy Week, or Semana Santa in Filipino (from the Spanish Semana Santa), is the only week where the whole country shuts down. It starts with Linggo ng Palaspas or Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday), then continues on until Linggo ng Pagkabuhay (Easter Sunday). Only after Linggo ng Pagkabuhay (Easter Sunday) does the whole country resume its operations. The old Catholic belief that Christ is dead during Good Friday at three o' clock in the afternoon is still prevalent among the rural Filipinos, and so, journeys are not continued and children are warned not to make noise or to play outside. They believe that bad spirits roam around, with no Christ to stop them from harming anyone. After Sabado de Gloria (Black/Holy Saturday), Holy Week ends on the Linggo ng Pagkabuhay (Easter Sunday), when Catholic churches hold Masses and dawn processions (known as the Salubong). Shopping malls and hotels also hold celebrations and Easter egg hunts.

Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valour)

On April 9, 1942, 75,000 Filipino and American soldiers surrendered to the Japanese at the tip of the Bataan Peninsula, which juts into Manila Bay in the Philippines. For nearly five months, the troops had fought ferociously against overwhelming odds until they ran out of food and water, medical supplies and ammunition. As prisoners of war (POWs), they and thousands of Filipinos were taken to a camp run by the Japanese army. This grueling series of marches are now known as the Bataan Death March. In 2009, Araw ng Kagitingan fell on Maundy/Holy Thursday.

Labour Day

For the Philippine labour movement, the 100th year of the observance of Labour Day was also the year of unemployment.

The first Labour Day celebrations held in the Philippines took place on May 1, 1903. In a mammoth rally in front of Malacañang Palace that day, the Union Obrera Democratica (Democratic Labourer's Union) , while pressing for workers’ economic rights

Araw ng Kalayaan (Independence Day)

The Phlippines celebrates its Declaration of Independence from Spain on June 12. This took place on that day in 1898, at the house of the first Philippine president, Emilio Aguinaldo, in Kawit, Cavite. From the balcony of his house, Gen. Aguinaldo waved the national flag while a band played the national anthem, known today as the "Lupang Hinirang". This scene was immortalized on the now out-of-circulation 5 peso bill, replaced now by a coin with Aguinaldo on it. The nation celebrated its Centennial in 1998.

The Philippines achieved independence from the United States with the signing of a Treaty of General relations between the two governments. The treaty provided for the recognition of the independence of the Republic of the Philippines as of July 4, 1946 and the relinquishment of American sovereignty over the Philippine Islands. From 1946 to 1961, Independence Day was observed on July 4, but President Diosdado Macapagal, upon the advice of historians, reverted to the June 12 date, which up to that time had been observed as Flag Day.

Filipino-American Friendship Day

On July 4, 1946, the Philippines was officially declared independent and inaugurated Manuel Roxas as the first president of the (3rd) Republic of the Philippines. July 4 was celebrated in the Philippines as Independence Day until 1962. Diosdado Macapagal, President of the Philippines in 1962, had formed an opinion when he was a congressman that July 4 was not the proper Independence Day for Filipinos and should be changed to June 12—the date General Emilio Aquinaldo proclaimed the independence of Filipinos in Kawit, Cavite, in 1898. The opportunity to do this came when the US House of Representatives rejected the US$73 million additional war payment bill on May 9, 1962. Noting that there was indignation about this among Filipinos, President Macapagal on 12 May issued Presidential Proclamation No. 28, declaring June 12 as Philippine independence day. On August 4, 1964, Republic Act No. 4164 was approved, echoing this proclamation and amending the Revised Administrative Code to reflect it.

Nu’ain Bin Abdulhaqq, an official of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), contends that celebrating June 12, 1898 (a date earlier than the December 10, 1898 signing date of the Treaty of Paris) as the date of Philippine independence provides the pretext for Moro independence.

When the date of Independence Day was changed from July 4 to June 12 by President Diosdado Macapagal, he created the Filipino-American Friendship Day to maintain the diplomatic and bilateral relationship of the Philippines to United States. It was celebrated from 1963 until President Corazon Aquino issued a Presidential proclamation removing this Filipino-American Friendship Day from the list of regular holidays. For the year of 1996, President In 1995, President Fidel Ramos created a National Executive Committee on the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Philippine-American Friendship Day.

Ninoy Aquino Day

The Philippines observes the death of prominent Marcos opponent Benigno S. "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr. on this day. After three years of exile in the United States, Aquino made the journey home only to meet an assassin's bullet at the Manila airport that now bears his name in 1983. It is created by the enactment of Republic Act No. 9256 on February 25, 2004 during the 18th anniversary of the first EDSA Revolution.

National Heroes Day

The Philippines, on this day, commemorates the celebration of the national heroes. National Heroes day falls every last Monday of August. It is a regular holiday in the Philippines remembering the Cry of Pugad Lawin by Filipino Revolutionary forces called the Katipunan led by its leader (Supremo) Andres Bonifacio. It is now observed every 4th Monday of August.

Todos Los Santos (All Saints Day)

Also known as Undas, All Saints Day in the Philippines is observed in remembrance of the dead. Families return to their respective provinces to clean and repair the tombs of their deceased loved ones and to pray for them. This day is used to be a regular holiday in the Philippines but was changed to a non-working holiday through an Executive Order issued by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Eid ul-Fitr

The first day of Shawwal, the tenth month of the Islamic calendar, is declared a national holiday for the observance of Eid ul-Fitr, or the Feast of Breaking the Fast (of Ramadhan, the ninth month). It was created by virtue of Republic Act No. 9177 and signed on November 13, 2002. The law was enacted in deference to the Filipino Muslim community and to promote peace among the major religions in the Philippines.

The first observance of Eid ul-Fitr was celebrated on December 6, 2002; this date occurs about 11 days earlier every year in the Gregorian calendar. Therefore, this makes it a movable holiday in accordance with the Islamic calendar. Many non-Muslim Filipinos are still unfamiliar to the new holiday, and many calendars printed in the Philippines still have not listed this holiday.

Andres Bonifacio Day

On November 30, 1863, Bonifacio was born to Santiago Bonifacio and Catalina de Castro. His given name, Andres, comes from Saint Andrew, whose feast day falls on this day. Bonifacio Day every year on November 30, a date that is sometimes confused with National Heroes Day.

Bonifacio Day is also odd, because heroes—like saints—are often remembered more for their death than their birth. Philippine national hero Jose Rizal's birthday, June 19, is a holiday in Laguna province, and the date of his execution, December 30, is a national holiday known as Rizal Day.

Bonifacio is remembered on his birthday, rather than the date of his death, May 10, 1897, for historical reasons. Unlike Rizal who was executed by the enemy, and other heroes who died in battle, Bonifacio was executed by fellow Filipinos. This was done on the orders of the first President, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, since he was considered an enemy of the state, after the occurrences at the Tejeros convention.

Christmas Eve

The Filipino Christmas celebration period is one of, if not the, longest in the world, stretching from even as early as September until the first week of January. Parols, along with other decorations, are set up for the holidays. The Christmas season, therefore, is one of the holidays that Filipinos hold dear.

Christmas Eve in the Philippines is one of the traditions that most families celebrate. It is a night without sleep and a continuous celebration moving right into Christmas Day. As December 24 dawns, the last Mass of Misa de Gallo is attended then preparation begins for the Noche Buena (literally "Good Night" from Spanish) , which is a family feast that takes place after midnight.

The Noche Buena is very much like an open house celebration. Family, friends, relatives, and neighbors drop by to wish every family member "Maligayang Pasko!" (Merry Christmas! in Tagalog). Food is in abundance, often served in buffet style. Guests or visitors partake of the food prepared by the host family (even though they are already full or bloated!). Among the typical foods prepared in the Philippines during Christmas are: lechon (roasted pig), pancit, barbecue, rice, adobo, cakes (Western and native rice cakes), lumpia, etc. There is also an abundance of beer, wine, and liquor.

The streets are well lit and are full of activities. The children run in and out of the house to play, to eat, and to play again. The Christmas Eve gathering provides an opportunity for a reunion of immediate and distant family members. Some families may choose to exchange gifts at this time while others wait until Christmas Day.

In general, the center of a family's Christmas gathering is always the lola, the endearing term used for a family matriarch or grandmother, who is deeply respected, highly revered, and always present. Filipinos remember how their lola had their children form a line and step up to receive a small gift of some coins. The older the child, the more coins he or she receives.

Some families even have a talent show during the Christmas Eve celebration. Children are asked to perform such as singing a Christmas song, playing a musical instrument, reciting a poem or doing a dance. The celebrations continue until about 6 o'clock on Christmas morning. Those who cannot attend Mass the night before will go to the morning Mass on Christmas Day.

Christmas Day

Christmas is an annual holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus. Christmas festivities combine the commemoration of Jesus' birth with various secular customs. The date as a birthdate for Jesus is traditional, and is not considered to be his actual date of birth.

Rizal Day

Commemorates the execution by firing squad of national hero Jose Rizal on December 30, 1898 at what is now Rizal Park.

"Holiday Economics"

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo usually issues proclamations moving the holiday to Friday if a holiday falls on a Wednesday or Thursday, or to Monday if a holiday falls on a Tuesday. The sole purpose is to enable government and private employees to enjoy a three day weekend holiday. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, coining the term holiday economics, introduced the policy in 2001 to reduce disruption to business and production schedules, encourage domestic tourism and give employees long weekends. In 2004 she issued a proclamation making Christmas Eve as special non-working holiday and December 27, the Monday after Christmas as special non-working holiday.

On July 25, 2007, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed into law Republic Act (RA) 9492 also known as "An Act Rationalizing the Celebration of National Holidays", designating 11 Regular Holidays and three Nationwide Special Holidays. Specific dates or days for celebration are designated. The law provides that holidays falling on a Wednesday will be observed on the Monday of the week and that holidays falling on a on a Sunday, the holiday will be observed on the Monday that follows. Three holidays (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Eidul Fitr) are designated as having movable dates, and the law provides that for movable holidays the President shall issue a proclamation, at least six months prior to the holiday concerned, the specific date that shall be declared as a non-working day. Though it was allowed by RA 9492, Labor Day was never moved to another date by President Arroyo at the request of labor groups.

In addition to the Regular Holidays and Nationwide Special Days which it designates, the law specifies that the Eidul Adha shall be celebrated as a regional holiday in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

While Arroyo's "holiday economics" has been praised for boosting domestic tourism and for encouraging more quality time among members of Filipino families, businessmen are complaining over lost productivity and the hassle of preparing mandatory holiday and overtime salaries in a short period of time. Others deplored it as presidential tinkering with history via executive fiat.

The final two weeks of 2008 have the largest number of holidays based on Presidential Proclamation 1463 with offices closed from December 25, 2008 until January 4, 2009.

Other Holidays declared in the Philippines

* Constitution Day - was declared as a non-working holiday on February 2, 2002 in commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the approval of the 1987 Philippine constitution.
* National Day of Prayer and Fasting - was declared by President Joseph Estrada as a non-working holiday during the 3rd Saturday of November in 1999 and 2000 as advised by Bro. Mike Velarde, his spriritual adviser.
* Rizal Birth Anniversary - was declared on June 19, 1961 by President Carlos P. Garcia in commemoration of the 100th birth anniversary of Jose Rizal.
* Eidul Adha - President Gloria Arroyo declared November 27 and November 28 as special non-working holidays. Since it was an executive order, it will only be applicable for 2009.
* Iglesia Ni Cristo Day - In keeping with Republic Act No. 9645, signed into law on June 12, 2009, July 27 was designated as a special national working holiday starting from 2009 and every year thereafter in recognition of the founding anniversary of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) in the Philippines.

This webpage was updated 27th January 2020