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Who Are the 9 National Heroes of the Philippines?

Who Are the 9 National Heroes of the Philippines?

Unlike what most of us know, there is no official announcement or declaration of the Philippine national heroes. However, given their values that changed the Philippine landscape, laws were enacted to give honor to them.

On November 15, 1995, the National Heroes Committee selected the nine Filipino historical figures to be named as the Philippine national heroes.

Initiated by the late President Fidel Ramos, it was made to recognize Filipino natives as heroes “in recognition of their sterling character and remarkable achievement for the country” (National Committee for Culture and the Arts).

What is National Heroes Day? 

Celebrated on the last Monday of August, National Heroes Day is a regular national holiday in the Philippines. It is set to honor and commemorate the national heroes for their great contributions to the Philippine independence. National Heroes Day is also intended to mark the anniversary of the ‘Cry of Pugad Lawin’ in August 1896. 

What is the Cry of Pugad Lawin?

Photo | Studiousguy

The Cry of Pugad Lawin is one of the historical events in Philippine history. Better referred to as the tearing of cedulas (a sign of enslavement of the Filipino) as the Filipino men shouted, “Mabuhay ang Pilipinas” (long live the Philippines). Spearheaded by Andres Bonifacio, the movement signified their defiance and will to rise against the Spanish Empire. 

The 9 National Heroes of the Philippines

Jose Rizal

Photo | Encyclopedia Britannica

Jose Rizal was a Filipino physician, poet, and writer who influenced the nationalist movement in the Philippines. He was the leader of the propaganda movement, publishing numerous political writings about the oppressive Spanish rule, ultimately leading to his execution by the Spanish colonizers. 

Andres Bonifacio

Photo | ThoughtCo

Considered the “Father of the Philippine Revolution,” Bonifacio established the secret revolutionary movement “Katipunan”. This instigated the revolt of August 1896 against the Spaniards. Contrary to Jose Rizal, who wanted a reform of the Spanish rule in the Philippines, Bonifacio aimed for total independence from the foreign rulers. 

Emilio Aguinaldo

Photo | Bio Biography.com

Emilio Aguinaldo is a Filipino leader and politician who battled for Philippine independence. He played a significant role during the Philippine Revolution against Spain and the United States. In his final years, Aguinaldo contributed to promoting Philippine nationalism and democracy and developing Filipino – US relations. 

Apolinario Mabini

Photo | The Kahimyang Project

Apolinario Mabini is a Filipino theorist and spokesman of the Philippine Revolution, who drafted the constitution for the short-lived republic of 1898 – 99. When the Spanish – American War broke out in 1898, Mabini advocated working with the United States to gain independence from Spain. When the United States announced its plan to occupy the Philippines, Mabini, however, joined Aguinaldo in a renewed battle for independence. 

Marcelo H. Del Pilar

Photo | The Kahimyang Project

Marcelo H. Del Pilar was a writer, lawyer, and a Philippine revolutionary propagandist. Regarded as the “Father of Filipino Journalism” with 150 essays and 66 editorials, most of which appeared in La Solidaridad. He was the man behind the “Diariong Tagalog” in 1882, containing the oppressive acts of the Spanish government in the country. 

See Also

Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat

Photo | The Kahimyang Project

Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat rallied other Muslim leaders to preserve the Islamic faith and defend their respective lands from foreign invaders. When some of the Maranao chiefs thought of working with the Spaniards, he instructed them not to, given its consequences. His leadership inspired people, and in return for his contributions, the Filipino government named some parts of Mindanao after him, including the province of Sultan Kudarat. 

Juan Luna

Photo | Eliza S. Robles

Juan Novia Luna was a genius painter famous for his masterpieces, ‘Spolarium’, ‘Blood Compact’, and ‘The Death of Cleopatra.’ Apart from being an artist, he was a political activist during the Philippine Revolution in the 19th century. Some of his literary paintings include political commentary. 

Melchora Aquino

Photo | Esquire Philippines

Melchora Aquino, also known as Tandang Sora was also “The Mother of the Revolution”. She provided Filipino soldiers with food and medical care during those times. Tandang Sora also used her home to host several secretive meetings for the Katipuneros. History says she effectively used her wealth for a greater cause. 

Gabriela Silang

Maria Josefa Gabriela is the epitome of an empowered woman. After her husband’s assassination, she took over the leadership of the revolutionary movement in Ilocos. Her works have inspired the building of the GABRIELA, a non – governmental organization that works for the education and promotion of women’s rights. 

The contributions of the Philippine National Heroes are worth the honor they were given. May we never forget that the independence we gain today is the result of their sacrifices in the past. 
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