The sixth day of Christmas
Slovakia’s Independence Declaration Day – see 17th July
Rizal Day (Philippines):
The Philippines are named after King Philip II of Spain.
No one really knows whether the first human inhabitants of the Philippines evolved around there or moved in from Southeast Asia. By the 15th century Islam had arrived from Malaysia and Indonesia.
In 1521 Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan discovered and claimed the islands for Spain, who later made Manila their capital of the East Asian colonies.
In 1762 Britain sneaked in and occupied the islands for a couple of years during the Seven Years’ War.
From the 1870s a nationalist movement began, which led to the Revolution in 1896. One of the men who organised pro-nationalist propaganda in Spain was Jose Rizal, who was executed for his rebellion.
In 1898 the Spanish-American War, in which America helped Cuba gain independence from Spain, reached the Philippines and Spain sold the islands to America for $20 million.
The people of the Philippines thought this meant their independence, and declared themselves a Republic. America said no. The Philippines declared war on America. Yes, America won.
In World War II Japan invaded and set up their own government and were as cruel as ever, leaving 1 million Philippinos dead when the Allies ousted them at the end of the war.
In 1946 the Philippines finally gained independence. There were still a few Communist insurgents from the rebel army that had fought against Japan and now felt forgotten, but the main problem turned out to be the president himself, Ferdinand Marcos, who, when he realised his two terms were coming to an end, declared martial law so he could stay in power.
His rival, Benigno Aquino, came back from exile in America to sort things out and was shot dead coming off the plane. Following some rigged elections against Aquino’s widow, Corazon, the Filipinos got a bit angry and Marcos fled to Hawaii, leaving Corazon in power.
The Philippines is the second-largest producer of geothermal energy as it harnessed the power of its volcanoes, and it experiences around 20 small earthquakes a day. There are 175 languages spoken on the islands!
Activities: Have a look at some Phillipino animals: the tamaraw of Mindoro, the Visayan spotted deer, the Philippine mouse deer, the Visayan warty pig, the Philippine flying lemur, and the Phillipine tarsier. Try some Original Pilipino Music.