Here’s your guide to exciting—and insightful—events this Independence Month

The Philippines‘ 126th Independence Day on June 12 through art, heritage tours, concerts, and a legendary cartoonist’s witty slices of Filipino life.

We Filipinos are no strangers to dramas played out on the national stage (we even have actors for senators for crying out loud). But over the past months, our country has served as the backdrop of events we wish only existed in a fictional world, but are sadly infuriating and ridiculous realities 

Simmering tensions in the West Philippine Sea, an amnesiac mayor of a Central Luzon town, a psycho of a former president allegedly committing treasonous acts, a disbarred lawyer/poverty czar who thinks poverty in the country is but a figment of the imagination—haka haka lang. Like what they say—only in the Philippines!

Photo by Edrick Salcedo

As Filipinos living at such a tumultuous time in our country’s history, this year’s Araw ng Kalayaan should serve not just as a reminder—but a booming wake up call—for us to hold even closer and dearer to our hearts the values our heroes of old fought for: courage, honor, and, yes, freedom.  

And to help us celebrate and remember that despite all these, we have so much to be proud of as a people, here are some of the most insightful and exciting events this Independence Month. 

National Historical Commission of the Philippines events

Leading the way for all the other Independence Day activities is the NHCP, which is tasked to spearhead the country’s commemoration of Araw ng Kalayaan activities until 2026. This year, the commission’s overarching theme is “Kalayaan. Kinabukasan. Kasaysayan.”

There’s “Musikalayaan” from June 9 to 11 featuring the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) bands at the Open Air Auditorium in Rizal Park. 

There will also be a bevy of activities at Burnham Green, Rizal Park from June 10 to 12, including a ballet concert by the Alice Reyes Dance Company (June 10), which will feature performances inspired by Philippine history, and Sine-Classics, a screening of Filipino historical movies (June 11-12), among many others.

A Parada ng Kalayaan will take place at the Quirino Grandstand on June 12 at 3 p.m.

Larry Alcala: Slices of Life, Wit, and Humor

Fans of Pinoy comics rejoice! Gateway Gallery partnered with the Filipino Heritage Festival to mount an Independence Month exhibit featuring the works of beloved cartoonist and illustrator, Lauro “Larry” Alcala. A National Artist for Visual Arts, the legendary Alcala has a massive body of work that includes over 500 cartoon characters, 20 comic strips, over 15,000 published pages, six movies, and two murals throughout his stellar 56-year career.

To this day, his influence on the art form is both immense and inspiring.

“In this tribute exhibit, Alcala’s body of works through the Slice of Life series and his impact on the younger generation of comic artists will be presented,” said the Gateway Gallery in a Facebook post. The exhibit explores “his comics and illustrations as popular and enduring art forms that channel both humor and hard-hitting commentary about Filipino society.”

You can swing by the “Larry Alcala: Slices of Life, Wit, and Humor”exhibit until June 30, at the Small Room in Gateway Gallery, Araneta, Quezon City. Admission is free. 

Likha 3

Now in its third edition, Likha continues its advocacy to not only promote but also sustain traditional Philippine textiles and crafts.

With the success of its first two editions, Likha 3 boasts a much larger lineup of 87 artisans from across the archipelago. It has also forged a partnership with Dama Ko, Lahi Ko to stage a series of talks on Filipino craftsmanship.

With Likha, prepare to immerse yourself in the boundless talents of our local craftsmen and the richness of Filipino craftsmanship.

Likha 3 runs until June 11 at the Philippine International Convention Center. Admission is free.

Concert at the Park

Older millennials like myself would be familiar with the program Concert at the Park shown on PTV-4 many moons ago. And yes, it’s still very much alive and kicking, though not so sure if it’s still being shown on national TV. 

This Independence Month, the National Parks Development Corporation, which is in charge of Concert at the Park, has a series of weekend concerts for all you music lovers out there.

Photo from the NPDC’s official Instagram account

The lineup includes the Letran Singing Ambassadors on June 8, New Community Band 86 Inaugural Concert on June 16, “Harana: Himig ng Kagitingan” with the Banda de Las Piñas on June 23, and “Dance, Dedication and Excellence” of the E.E. Vicente Program Dance School and Zachary Dance Tutorial on June 30.

Check out the other concerts happening this month at the Open-Air Auditorium of Rizal Park in Luneta by following the NPDC on Instagram.

“Heritage Walks” in Manila

Last weekend, “Heritage Walks” organized by cultural organization Renacimiento Manila kicked off in the heart of Santa Cruz and Binondo. If you, like me, were oblivious that such an exciting event took place, fret not as there are more walks scheduled this month.

On June 8, there’s the Lawton-Arroceros Heritage Walk, followed by a Special Chinoy Heritage Walk on June 9. On June 15, there’s the “Lakad Pamana: Ang Mundo nina Ibarra at Maria Clara,” while on June 16 it’s “Rizal’s Manila: Rizal Themed Heritage Walk.”

Also on June 16, train lovers may want to go on the LRT-1 Heritage Transit Tour. On June 23 there’s the Pasig River Heritage Appreciation Walk, and finally on June 29, you can go on the Escolta-Santa Ana Pasig River Tour.

Ticket prices vary for each tour. For more information and to register, follow Rebirth Manila on Instagram.

Manila Clock Tower Museum exhibits

Today, at 41 years old, I learned that there’s a museum inside the Manila Clock Tower. And today, I also found out that the iconic landmark’s museum has five simultaneous exhibits in celebration of Independence Day and Araw ng Maynila.

The five exhibits are : “Kultura” by Raul Isidro, Juno Galang, and Augusto Santiago Jr.; “Bayan Ko” by Cid Reyes, Marge Organo, Jik Villanueva, Michael Villgante, Abe Orobia, Darwin Guevarra, and Froilan Robas; “Pintig-Sining” by Manuel Baldemor with the Paete Visual Artists; “Pinagpala” by Pila Artists Guild; and “Hiraya” by Sonny “Wiki” Anecito.

The exhibits run until July 31 at the Manila Clock Tower Museum at the Manila City Hall.

Malaya Music Fest

Fan of OPM? Jam with top local artists at the Malaya Music Fest, a post-Independence Day concert at the Okada Manila’s Cove Manila, Asia’s largest indoor beach club and night club. Since its inception, the festival has brought together some of the nation’s most celebrated musical talents, offering a platform for both legendary and emerging artists to showcase their artists.

Headlining the first day are Sponge Cola and rapper Gloc-9. Completing the lineup is Hale, This Band, and rising star Jikamarie with DJ Jimmy Nocon. The second day will be led by Parokya ni Edgar, along with Mayonnaise, SUD, Ace Banzuelo, Maki and DJ Katsy Lee.

Tickets are available online and at SM Tickets and Ticketworld outlets.

Associate Editor

The new lifestyle.