How July 4 Connects the Filipinos and Americans

We have fought and faced battles together. We have stood side by side during one of the darkest times of Philippine history. These are just two ways to describe the connection between the Philippines and the USA.

Whether we like it or not, Filipinos and Americans will always be connected with each other. The shared history that we have is something so significant that we simply cannot just abandon.

For more than 200 years, Americans celebrate their independence every 4th of July. It is one of their biggest holidays and is filled with parties and fireworks. But did you know that July 4 is also a significant date to us, Filipinos?

For some time in our history, we shared that same holiday with the Americans. From 1946 to 1962, our ancestors celebrated our independence every 4th of July. July 4 was definitely more than just a date—it marks the day of Filipinos’ freedom from colonizers and its becoming of its own nation.


How It Happened

Spaniards colonized our country for more than 300 years. When the Spanish-American War rose in 1898, it paved the way for the Filipinos and Americans to work together and fought against the Spaniards.

When the Spanish colonization ended on June 12, the Filipinos were able to have a taste of having their own republic. However, the Treaty of Paris stated that in order for the Spaniards to surrender its control over the Philippines, the Americans should pay $20 million, resulting to the American colonization and the Commonwealth Republic.

The idea of the Commonwealth is to serve as the transition phase for the Philippines. Through the Commonwealth, the Filipinos learn how to become its own nation under the guidance of the Americans.


Change in Plans

As the Filipinos continue to fight for absolute freedom, World War II (WWII) happened. The supposed granting of freedom on July 4, 1945 was postponed. This is kind of interesting because other than the fact that it is the same date the Americans celebrate their independence, the Philippines is said to have been conquered by the Americans on July 4, 1902.

As the WWII took place and the Japanese took control over the Philippines, its supposed freedom on July 4th was postponed. Once again, our ancestors were faced with another colonization and another need to fight for our country.

It was only on July 4, 1946 when the Philippines finally got the freedom it had been fighting for.


From July 4th to June 12th

If you are wondering, “If we used to have July 4 for our independence day, then why are we celebrating it on June 12 today?”

Well, the answer is former president Diosdado Macapagal.

It was then President Diosdado Macapagal who changed the July 4th celebration and reinstated June 12. Ever since, the Philippines celebrated its freedom on June 12 and saw July 4 as the day to commemorate the friendship that our country had with the USA (Philippine-American Friendship Day).

July 4 is not just a date on the calendar. It will always and forever be significant to our lives as Filipinos, whether it is an actual holiday or not. Always remember that somewhere in our past, July 4 was a day when our beloved Philippines became a free nation. Let every July 4 be a reminder that if you really want something, you have to fight for it—just like what our heroes and heroines did.

Celebrate 4th of July by understanding the relationship between Americans and Filipinos better. Get a copy of Vibal Foundation’s More Americans Than We Admit; just e-mail


Photo: PH2 Farrington / Wikimedia Commons

About the author: Cecilia Mari Franco

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