What is National Heroes Day in the Philippines All About?

National Heroes’ Day The National Heroes’ Day in the Philippines is basically looking back at the contributions of men and women. Likewise, those who gave their lives fighting for freedom from colonizers in the 15th century.

Initially commemorated on November 30, it was moved to the fourth Monday of the month of August.


Things You Can Do During National Heroes Day in the Philippines

National Heroes’ Day in the Philippines is a non-working special public holiday. So, there are many historical places that everyone can actually visit. Of course, to learn history while having fun.

Historical Museums and Libraries

Many museums in the Philippines cater to historical data and artifacts deemed an essential part of history. The National Museum in Manila is a top choice. A stone’s throw away from the National Museum is the National Library and behind it is the Rizal Park, where the national hero Jose Protacio Rizal was executed.

Fort Santiago in Intramuros

A military facility located inside the “Walled City,” commonly referred to as Intramuros, is the Fort Santiago where Rizal spent his last few days before he was executed. That is where Rizal wrote his last letters and poems.


Off the Manila Bay is an island called Corregidor, where gallant Filipino soldiers fought tooth and nail to prevent Japanese reinforcements from entering what was then referred to as the open city. War artifacts, which include artilleries, an underground hospital and a military “fortress” are among the top attractions in a place considered as the Philippines’ first line of defence.


How National Heroes Day in the Philippines is Celebrated

National Heroes’ Day in the Philippines is the very essence behind Independence Day. There would be no freedom if not for the national heroes whose gallantry gave the Filipinos the luxury of independence, in every sense of the word.

As a matter of gratefulness, past and present administrations deem it proper to make the National Heroes’ Day in the Philippines a special non-working holiday. This intends to make sure that everyone – foreign and national citizens can join all of the activities culminating the holiday.

Commemorated every fourth Monday of August, the National Heroes’ Day pays homage to the gallant heroes, including those whose names were not even mentioned in the Philippine history books.

The National Heroes’ Day in the Philippines embarks on a long list of government activities. Start with a visit of national and local leaders to the monuments of heroes in many parts of the country.

Each of every 146 cities, 1,488 municipalities in the country’s 81 provinces are also annually holding parades as a tribute to the national heroes.

Here are some Filipino heroes to honor on this very special day:

Andres Bonifacio

November 30 is the birthday of the country’s most prominent hero. The bolo-wielding Andres Bonifacio’s prominence came to fame after his gallant engagement with rifle-wielding Spaniards in the latter part of the 18th century. He was ordered executed by fellow patriot Emilio Aguinaldo over a leadership tussle. Bonifacio’s death eventually led to Aguinaldo’s presidency. Aguinaldo, thus, became the first Philippine President.

Jose Rizal

National Hero Jose Protacio Rizal, a scholar and doctor, didn’t ventilate freedom from the Spanish colonizers. What he was vocal about, according to historians, was for the Spanish government to stop making the Philippines their province. Interestingly, it was Rizal’s books that triggered patriotism among revolutionaries in the latter part of the 18th century to the early years of the 19th century.


When the Spanish colonizers, led by Ferdinand Magellan, set foot in Limasawa Island in 1521, it was Lapu-Lapu who first stood against foreign invasion. There is no exact image of how Lapu-Lapu actually looks though.

Gabriela Silang

The heroine named Gabriela is the wife of heroic revolutionary Diego Silang. Defying societal stereotypes, Gabriela is known for engaging in many fierce battles and emerged victoriously.

Melchora Aquino

Another heroine, Melchora or Tandang Sora, was never in a battle but her heroism saved the lives of many Filipino patriots. The family who was wounded in the battle against the Spaniards, and later on against the Americans.

These people are taking the center stage in the annual commemoration of the National Heroes Day in the Philippines.

National Heroes’ Day


Venues and Special Events for Celebrating National Heroes Day in the Philippines

With a long list of national heroes coming from all parts of the archipelago, each province, city and town is deemed a perfect venue to celebrate the National Heroes’ Day in the Philippines.

Heroes’ Monuments

In Metro Manila alone, each of the 16 cities and a municipality has at least three heroes’ monuments. That is where local officials lay wreaths and pay tribute to a hero. At the east of the National Capital Region is a province named after national hero Jose Rizal. Local folks in that place pay tribute to Rizal.

Malacañang Palace

This is where Presidents make a televised address paying tribute to the national heroes.

Freedom Parks

Aside from the monuments, heroes also lie in state at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani (Veterans’ Memorial Park). This is the designated final resting place of soldiers who died defending the Philippine Constitution and the country.

Freedom parks are where nationalists, commonly referred to as activists. They also hold an annual program of sorts urging the public to do their share in maintaining freedom while comparing the fallen heroes to the current leaders.

Academic Institutions

Academic communities are also actively taking part in commemorating the National Heroes’ Day. There is a long list of school activities primarily aimed at instilling awareness of history.

The fourth Monday of August is automatically a non-working holiday. It is the best time to take family and friends to a park or anywhere for some bonding time.

State universities, which include the Mindanao State University in Mindanao, Siliman University in the Visayas and the University of the Philippines in Luzon, are perennial venues of student activities culminating in heroism.

Looking back at yesteryears is the best way to keep the spirit of nationalism among Filipinos, whose freedom they owe to the national heroes.

National Heroes’ Day