Guest Author - Rachel Meneses-Ponce
The following is a list of Philippines’ regular holidays and special days observed by the entire nation. The events on these days are either historical in nature, religious (Catholic/Christian and Islam) or cultural.
There are also special non-working days. These holidays are “special” in the sense that a Presidential Decree is necessary to proclaim the dates as such. In short, it is upon the discretion and dispensation of an incumbent President to declare observation of an event to be nonworking day or not. EDSA 1 Revolution is one such event. EDSA 1 was a bloodless revolution of the Filipino people against the Marcos dictatorship that took place in February 25, 1986. There was a time when this date was proclaimed as a non-working day there-after. While this event is special to Filipinos and has become an important part of Philippine history, observance of this event is now done on a regular, working day.
Rain or shine, these holidays are commemorated without fail. Events are normally organized on these dates, some in grand manner, or as simple as could be. Whatever way these are observed, they are part and parcel of Filipino life.
Regular holidays are constant on any given year, except for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday which follow the Catholic calendar of holy days of obligation among Catholic faithful. These regular holidays are as follows:
January 1 - New Year’s Day
Maundy Thursday and Good Friday (normally occur in the month of March)
April 9 - Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valour), traditionally and popularly referred to as Bataan Day
May 1 - Labour Day
June 12 - Philippines Independence Day
August 26 – National Heroes’ Day
November 30 - Bonifacio Day (in memory of Andres Bonifacio, a hero)
December 25 - Christmas Day
December 30 – Rizal Day (In memory of the martyrdom of Jose P. Rizal, national hero)
On the other hand, the following events are almost always declared as special non-working days on any given year:
Holy Saturday (This date forms part of the Holy Week Observance of the Filipino Catholic faithful)
August 21 – Ninoy Aquino Day (In memory of Benign Aquino Jr., a prominent political luminary perceived by many Filipinos as a hero)
November 1 – All Saints’ Day
November 2 – All Souls’ Day
December 24 and December 31 - These are additional non-working days to give the Filipinos time to prepare for Christmas Day and New Year.
In recent years, important Islamic/religious events have been proclaimed as national holidays as well. This is in honour of the Islam faith and to give Filipino Muslims time and opportunity to observe their holy days of obligation as well. The exact dates are dependent on Islamic calendar.