Trivia about the First Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day

Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day (Ora de la Amistad Hispano-Filipina) is celebrated on the 30th of June of each year. It was declared under Republic Act No. 9187, authored by Senator Edgardo J. Angara and was enacted last February 2003, to commemorate the cultural and historical ties, friendship and cooperation between the Philippines and Spain.

The observance marks the day, June 30, 1899, when President Emilio Aguinaldo issued a decree and ordered, in an act of benevolence, that the besieged Spanish soldiers who made their last stand in a church in Baler be treated not as prisoners but as friends. The soldiers were subsequently freed and allowed to go home. Republic Act No. 9187 further provides that “to mark the momentous occasion, there is a need to observe the day as a national holiday to remember the act of benevolence which paved the way for the strengthening of relations between the Philippines and Spain.” Thus the Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day will be a national special working holiday throughout the country and a special non-working holiday in Aurora Province.

The six-peso denomination stamp features the painting of Picasso, world-renowned Spanish artist, for a poster for the “Madoura Exhibit” in 1963. Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) is considered one of the greatest artists in history. He is the Father of Cubism (1907), “Las Senoritas de Avinon”. He experimented in all styles and techniques in art and contributed decisively in the unfurling of contemporary art. The twenty-two-peso denomination stamp features the painting, “Flashback,” done in oil on panel by Joya in 1972. Jose T. Joya (1931-1995) was recently elevated to the status of National Artist for Visual Arts by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. “His art constitutes an important landmark in the development of Philippine modern art. His legacy is a large body of works of consistent excellence which has won admiration of artists both in the local and international scene.” During his lifetime, he was hailed as the “Prophet Avater of Expressionism,” exponent of pure painting, and a “pillar of Philippine Art”.

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