hile June 12, 1898 is officially celebrated as Independence Day for the Philippines, anyone who’s mildly aware of Philippine history knows that this was merely a brief period before we were then colonized by the Americans, and then the Japanese.

Despite that, there’s still a rich history to visit for anyone who wants to commemorate June 12, and that’s aside from the Intramuros and Fort Santiago tours you can always have on demand. From the most preserved to the most modernized, here are 8 spots with rich ties to our history before the American era that you can check out.

8. Pinaglabanan

Location: San Juan City

Historical Significance: This is literally where the opening salvo of the Philippine Revolution happened, when the Katipuneros launched an attack against a Spanish arms storage facility.

If you went around the area around Pinaglabanan, aside from the actual shrine that commemorates the event, Pinaglabanan is as modern as a place run by an Estrada can be. There’s very little here to remind you that this was once a battleground.


7. Limasawa Island

Location: Southern Leyte

Historical Significance: Often mistaken as the birthplace of Philippine Roman Catholicism.

In reality, the first Philippine mass was celebrated in the island of Mazaua, but since historians still have no idea exactly where it is, this trip to Limasawa will have to do. You can see a lot of landmarks and trinkets that commemorate Limasawa as the site of the first Philippine mass, because if it brings tourists in, living a lie is totally worth it.


6. Biak-Na-Bato National Park

Location: San Miguel, Bulacan

Historical Significance: The Pact of Biak-Na-Bato was the treaty that “ended” the Philippine Revolution in 1897, which stipulated a truce between the Spaniard and the revolutionaries, and exiled Emilio Aguinaldo to Hong Kong.

This place is a protected area, which means that it banks on its history quite a bit. The park is like any of your national parks, although in recent years, mining in the area has certainly affected the park significantly.


5. Pugad Lawin

Location: Pugad Lawin, Quezon City

Historical Significance: This is where the Cry of Pugad Lawin happened. No, duh.

Pugad Lawin, aside from the shrine, is much like Pinaglabanan: there’s very little to indicate that it’s a location where the Philippine Revolution was officially born. Originally, people mistook the location to be Balintawak, but this was corrected some time later. Here, the Katipuneros effectively declared war on Spain by tearing their community tax certificates, or “cedula,” which is a word we would encounter a second time in our lives only when we try to get into an R-18 film for the first time.


4. Callao Cave

Location: Penablanca, Cagayan

(Pre-)Historical Significance: This was where the Callao Man, the earliest archaeological signs of human life in the Philippines, was discovered in 2007.

We’re talking way before colonial times here. The Callao Cave is a class II cave, which means guided tours and experienced spelunkers can visit it with little trouble, but it’s worth the trip, nonetheless. The 67,000-year-old fossilized remains of the Callao Man was found here, which goes to show that 1521 shouldn’t have been as signficant as we make it out to be: 67,000 years ago, some other dudes already discovered the Philippines. They just didn’t have a way to write about it, unlike Magellan.


3. Homonhon

Location: Eastern Samar

Historical Significance: This is the first island Magellan landed on, although a bit of island hopping later, he died in Mactan.

There really isn’t much to say about this place. They haven’t made a grand tourist attraction out of it, and its only main significance is that it was the first contact ever made by Spain with the Philippines. Unfortunately, most people care more about Mactan, Lito Lapid’s film notwithstanding.


2. Sulu

Location: ARMM

Historical Significance: The vestige of the last bastion of Mindanao that fell to Spain for them to nominally declare it as subjugated as well (although technically, not really).

This remnant of the Sulu Sultanate is the only Mindanao location in this list mainly because it proves how plainly resilient the Mindanaoans were to colonial rule throughout the centuries. Aside from that, there’s a lot of stuff to do in Sulu because this is where pearl diving happens a lot, thanks to its proximity to the, well, Sulu Sea. And, oh, they have mangosteen and durian, too!



Location: Cavite

Historical Significance: This is officially where Philippine Independence was declared on June 12, 1898.

Well, if we allowed Senator Revilla, also a Caviteno, to get away with explaining his side via song, I think this song covers all we need to remember about why this list wouldn’t even be possible if not for Kawit, Cavite…


Janus Dosequis Harvey

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