HISTORICALLY, the province of Pampanga is important in reckoning dates that have to do with the Philippine Revolution and the subsequent Philippine American War and there is such a wealth of events to commemorate as part of our heritage. I feel proud that the first anniversary of the declaration of Philippine Independence by Emilio Aguinaldo took place at the Pamintuan Residence at the historic downtown of Angeles City. This has a unique place in our country's history since it was a rare instance in which the revolutionary government was able to publicly celebrate the occasion during that tumultuous period.

With the revival of the historic downtown of Angeles City and the renewed efforts of the Angeles City Government led by Mayor Ed Pamintuan and their private sector partners we could look forward to the beautifully executed re-enactments of the first anniversary of the Philippine Independence in the city. The event in the past had always been highlighted by impressive performances from Angeles City’s theater and performing groups.

In the City of San Fernando, while less historically authentic, the celebrations are no less than grand with annual Civic and Military Parade which brings together the different stakeholders of the city and culminates in a commemorative program at the Heroes Hall. The conduct of grand parades was revived in 2005 at the onset of then Mayor Oscar Rodriguez’s first term and has been institutionalized since.

This year, Mayor Edwin Santiago has invited motivational speaker Anthony Pangilinan as the guest of honor in the City of San Fernando’s Independence Day rites with the theme “Tagumpay sa Pagbabagong Nasimulan, Abot Kamay na ng Bayan.” I think that this is an inspiring way to commemorate our nation’s freedom and make it more applicable to our present lives.

Adding to the festivities in the City of San Fernando are the Independence Day Rock Concert featuring Pinoy rock icon Slapshock at SM Pampanga and the opening of art exhibits highlighting the works of award winning Kapampangan artists Ruston Banal and Alvaro Jimenez at the SM Pampanga and SM San Fernando Downtown respectively.

Nearby Municipality of Magalang led by Mayor Romulo Pecson has observed its Freedom Day commemoration earlier on Monday this week during the regular flag raising rites. A special patriotic performance by the Sinukwan Kapampangan and wreath laying ceremony marked the occasion, as shared by Tourism Officer Ryan Miranda.

The Provincial Government of Pampanga’s commemoration also took place this week with no less than our Governor Lilia Pineda leading the local officials in the flag raising and wreathlaying rites. Special numbers were also rendered by the Sinukwan Dancers and the Provincial Capitol Choir, according to our Provincial Tourism Officer Arwin Lingat.

It is encouraging to note that our local governments, other than our schools and national agencies, are leading our communities in celebrating special and historic occasions such as our Independence Day. May we use these moments not only to be festive but also to be reflective on our country’s history.

Cheers to Freedom and a meaningful 117th Philippine Independence to all!