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August 30—A day for remembering our country's heroes

August 30, 2010 5:30pm
Every year, on the 30th day of August, the Philippines commemorates “National Heroes’ Day" (Araw ng mga Bayani).

The public holiday is held in honor of known and unknown heroes, especially those who participated in the “Cry of Pugad Lawin" (Unang Sigaw sa Pugad Lawin) also known as the “Cry of Balintawak" (Unang Sigaw sa Balintawak).

The Cry of Pugad Lawin was a historical event in August 1896 involving Katipuneros or Filipinos belonging to the Katipunan, a secret Philippine revolutionary society founded by anti-Spanish Filipinos in Manila in 1892.

The official revolutionary name of the Katipunan is “Kataas-taasang, Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan." (In English: High and Honorable Society of the Children of the Nation, and in Spanish: Suprema y Venerable Asociación de los Hijos del Pueblo). The society is also popularly known by its acronym, K.K.K..

During the Cry of Pugad Lawin, on August 23, 1896,Andrés Bonifacio (November 30, 1863 – May 10, 1897), founder and leader of the Katipunan, and his comrades tore their cédulas in the hills of Balintawak (now Balintawak, Quezon City).

The Cry of Pugad Lawin is generally regarded as the beginning of the Philippine Revolution from 1896 to 1898.

Although there have been other revolutions in the past, this particular revolution, also called the "Tagalog War" by the Spanish, eventually resulted in the secession of the Philippines from Spain.

The Tagalog War was an armed military conflict between the FIlipinos and the Spanish colonial authorities.

Major turning point in history

According to the website of the National Historical Institute (NHI), August was chosen as the month to honor our nation’s founders because the Cry of Pugad Lawin in August 1896 is believed to be a major turning-point in the country’s fight for independence against Spain.

The Philippines was under Spanish rule from 1521 to 1898. August 1896 became a turning point in Philippine history because the Katipunan, a secret society, was discovered that month; the exact day is popularly believed to be August 19.

The exact day of the Cry of Pugad Lawin is being debated. Pio Valenzuela, a close associate of Bonifacio said in 1948 that it happened in Pugad Lawin on August 23, 1896.
A Spanish guardia civil, Lt. Olegario Diaz, said the "Cry" took place in Balintawak on August 25, 1896.

Historian Gregorio Zaide said in his books in 1954 that the "Cry" happened in Balintawak on August 26, 1896.

Other historians said the event took place in Tandang Sora's barn in Gulod, Barangay Banlat, Quezon City. “Tandang Sora" is Melchora Aquino (January 6, 1812, to March 2, 1919), a revolutionary who owned a small store in Balintawak.

National Heroes Day

According to the NHI, the last Sunday of August was declared “National Heroes Day" by virtue of Republic Act No. 3827 of 1931.

The NHI website said the holiday is meant to “enlighten the Filipinos on the richness of their heritage and thus inspire them to be better citizens."

The NHI has placed a commemorative plaque marking the location of the "Cry" in Pugad Lawin, Quezon City. The plaque bears the date August 23, 1896. –Veronica Pulumbarit, GMANews.TV
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