My Lola (my grandmother from here) used to tell us stories about the time of the Japanese. Her stories about the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines were not very pleasant. She told us about the time she had to hide inside a rolled-up banig (woven mat) so the Japanese wouldn't find her.
I realize that I take Independence Day for granted. I guess I don't realize what it means not to be free. But now that I think about it, it would be horrible to use a banig as a hiding place like my Lola did. I am certainly glad that I am free to have picnics with the kids. That is a way better use of a banig, don't you think?
Philippine independence from the Japanese (and Americans) came on July 4, 1946 when the Treaty of Manila was signed by the US and the Philippines. The treaty recognized the independence of the Republic of the Philippines and relinquished American sovereignty over the Philippine Islands. From 1946 to 1963, Independence Day was observed on July 4. In 1964, the date of Independence Day was changed to June 12 and July 4 was renamed as Philippine Republic Day.
Whether Independence Day is July 4 or June 12, what's important is that, thanks to my Lola, I now have a better appreciation of what freedom means. Maybe I should plan a picnic this weekend to celebrate our independence.