Bastille Day

Bastille Day in France

Bastille Day is a special day being celebrated in the French culture in which many large scale public events are being held, including the military parade in Paris, dances, communal meals, parties and fireworks. There’s also the musical performance.

People in France celebrate this occasion as an honor to the French Republic , considering this as a public holiday. Bastille Day is being celebrated or commemorated every 14th of July. What we can expect to see here will be the military and civilian parades, communal meals, musical performances, balls, dances and firework displays.

Military Parade in Bastille Day
Military Parade in Bastille Day

The military parade in Paris is being held in the morning of July 14 where service men and women from various units, including cadets from military schools, the French Navy and French Foreign Legion participate in the said parade, ending with the Paris Fire Brigade. Military air crafts fly over the parade route. The French president opens the parade and reviews the troops and thousands of people which line the route while other people spend this day quietly and eat meals or have picnic with family and close friends in celebration.

During this said event, post offices, banks, and many businesses in France are closed, in honor of this public holiday. There are also some of restaurants and cafes outside of tourist areas that may be closed, except for bakeries and some stores in Paris, as well as at the airports and railway stations, even along major highways. Along with this, public transport services may vary depending on where a resident lives and where he or she intends to travel and roads in the center of villages, towns and cities may be closed for parades and other large public events.

But what really is the significance or importance of celebrating this event? And what’s the background or story behind the Bastille Day?

The Storming of Bastille (July 14, 1789)
The Storming of Bastille (July 14, 1789)

Bastille is known to be a medieval fortress and prison in Paris, France where its people associate this with the harsh rule of the Bourbon monarchy in the late 1700s. The troops stormed the Bastille on the 14th of July 1789 and this was considered as a pivotal event for the French Revolution. On the 14th of July 1790, Fete de la Federation was held as a way of celebrating the establishment of a constitutional monarchy in France.

There were official celebrations being held in Paris on June 30, 1878 as a way of honoring the Republic of France and on the 14th of July 1789, more official celebrations were being held, including a military review in Longchamp near Paris and celebrations all over France. Benjamin Raspail, a politician, proposed that July 14, should be considered as a public holiday for France in 1880, whose law is being enacted on July 6, 1880, hence marking Bastille Day as the country’s public holiday for the first time in the year 1880.

Military parade in Paris is being held every year since 1880, except when World War II took place. There were Free French Forces who paraded on this date in London, England from the year 1940 until 1944. Jean Michel Jarre also once held a concert in Paris, attracting one million people, which was then the largest recorded crowd at an outdoor concert in 1979. Adding to this, special celebrations were also being held for the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution in 1989, as well as the championship of the French football team on July 12, 1998.

This special event is being held in French communities and the Institut de France around the world, where United States, Franschhoek, South Africa and Hungary even participated.

What symbolizes this special day?

There are two important symbols in commemorating this said event: Eiffel Tower and the tri-color flag/French national flag. This French national flag is one and a half times as wide as it is tall, consisting of three vertical bands of equal width colored blue, white and red. These same colors are being displayed in buntings and banners of many shapes on Bastille Day and we can also see people wear clothing or face paint in these colors.

Image Sources:

Image Sources:

Bastille Day in Paris

Military Parade in Bastille Day

The Storming of Bastille (July 14, 1789)

Eiffel Tower in Bastille Day

Tricolor Flag of France








Re-Visiting The Past: June Rebellion (June 5-6, 1832)

June Rebellion (June 5 to 6, 1832)
June Rebellion (June 5 to 6, 1832)

June Rebellion, or better known as the Paris Uprising of 1832 (translated in French as Insurrection republicaine a Paris en 1832) is an anti-monarchist insurrection of Parisian republicans in the year 1832. This type of rebellion originated in the attempt of the republicans to overthrow or reverse the establishment in the year 1830 during the reign of Louis Philippe (July Monarchy of Louis Philippe), shortly after President of the Council Casimir Pierre Perier’s death on the 16th of May 1832. Casimir Pierre Perier was the powerful supporter of the late Louis Philippe. But what really sparked the revolutionaries to rise in their barricades was the death of Jean Maximilien Lamarque (He advocated French support for independence struggles in Poland and Italy. His views were what made him a popular figure.

Jean Maximilien Lamarque
Jean Maximilien Lamarque

Jean Maximilien Lamarque was the leading critic of Louis Philippe’s new constitutional monarchy where he argued that the type of monarchy failed to support human rights and political liberty). His death led to the Parisian June Rebellion of 1832 which provided the background of events depicted in Victor Hugo’s novel, Les Miserables.

July Revolution (1830)
July Revolution (1830)

Way back in the year 1830 (July Revolution) , the elected Chamber of Deputies established a constitutional monarchy and replaced that of Charles X of the House of Bourbon by Louis Philippe who was more liberal. This movement angered the republicans who saw their king being replaced by another. By the year 1832, there were simmering displeasures, strongly coming from among the republicans who felt like they spilled blood on the barricades, only to have their revolution stolen by opportunists who even managed to crown Louis Philippe as king. There were even Bonapartists who lamented the loss of Napoleon’s empire while Legitimists supported the overthrown Bourbon dynasty and sought to place the man whom they regarded as the true king who was the designated successor of Charles, Henri.

Apart from the monarchy, another cause of this rebellion was that there were significant economic problems during the year 1827 to 1832 where people experience food shortages, harvest failures, and increases in the cost of living, thus resulting to discontent throughout the classes. There was also a widespread outbreak of cholera in the spring of 1832 , ending up with a death toll of 18,402 within the city and 100,000 across France, devastating the poor neighbourhoods of Paris.

General Lamarque funeral (As seen in Les Miserables movie)
General Lamarque funeral (As seen in Les Miserables movie)

This epidemic claimed the lives of Prime Minister Casimir Perier on the 16th of May and their hero , General Jean Maximilien Lamarque on the 1st of June. The people who dearly loved Casimir Perier gave him a grand state funeral whereas with Lamarque’s funeral, the revolutionaries took it as an opportunity to stand against the monarchial government, as Hugo had described it in his novel.

Before the death of Casimir Perier and General Jean Lamarque, there had also been two significant rebellion wherein one took place in Lyon in which the workers’ uprising (Canut revolt) resulting from economic hardships occurred in December 1831. This uprising took place when the troops sent in after the members of the local National Guard defected to the rebels. The other rebellion, which occurred in February 1832 , Paris supporters of the Bourbons  – Legitimists or Carlists, attempted to carry off the royal family, which became known as the “conspiracy of rues des Prouvaires”.

Insurrection in France (1832)
Insurrection in France (1832)

After this followed an insurrection where the republicans were led by secret societies and formed the most determined members of their movement wherein they have planned to provoke riots which were similar to those that led to the 1830 July Revolution against the ministers of Charles X, wherein one of the most instrumental was “The Society of the Rights of Man”. This was organized like a group of army , divided into sections of twenty members each (in order to evade the law that forbade the association of more than twenty persons), with a president and vice president for each section. These republican conspirators made their move during the public funeral of General Lamarque on June 5 where groups of demonstrators took charge of the procession and redirected it to the Place de la Bastille , where the Revolution began in 1789.

The Polish, Italian and German refugees reinforced the Parisian workers to gather around where the coffin rested and speeches were made about how Lamarque supported the Polish and Italian liberty which he strongly advocated in months before his death. There was an uproar as a red flag was raised , bearing these words La Liberte ou la Mort (which translates to ‘Liberty or Death’) wherein the crowd broke into disorder and there were exchange of gunshots coming from government troops, despite the Marquis de Lafayette calling everyone to calm down.

This subsequent uprising put the 3,000 rebels in control of the eastern and central districts of Paris, those between Chatelet, Arsenal and Faubourg Saint Antoine for one night wherein cries were heard that rioters would attack at the Tuileries Palace that evening. However, the rebellion failed to spread even further.

During the night of June 5 to 6, 20,000 part time militia of the Paris National Guard were led by about 40,000 regular army troops under Comte de Lobau’s command, occupying the peripheral districts of the capital.The revolutionaries made their stronghold in the historic center of Faubourg Saint Martin, where they built barricades in the narrow streets around Saint Martin and Saint Denis.

However, on the morning of June 6, the last rebels were surrounded at the intersection of rues Saint Martin and Saint Merry wherein Louis Philippe decided to show himself up to confirm that he’s still in control of the capital. Upon his return to Paris, Louis Philippe met up with his ministers and generals at the Tuileries, declaring a military operation, arriving at the area of the uprising.

The final struggle of the rebels came at Cloitre Saint Merry where the fighting still took place until the early evening of June 6, wherein total casualties in the rising reached 800 in which the army and national guard lost (73 killed, 344 wounded) and the rebels (93 killed, 291 wounded).

Image Sources: 

June Rebellion

Jean Maximilien Lamarque

July Revolution (1830)

General Lamarque funeral

Insurrection in France
Les Misérables and the Mysterious French 19th Century


A Study On The French Revolution and Its Impact On Modern Philippine Society


Who wouldn’t be familiar with this historical event in France? What impact did it leave on the modern Philippine society and today’s generation?

A. The History Of French Revolution

The French Revolution of 1789 was considered as a period of socio-political upheavals in France wherein the ideas of philosophers Edmund Burke, John Locke and John Jacques Rosseau gave contribution to the mainstream exchange of political ideas which concerned even those French men who belonged to the lower class. This period originally took place in the year 1789 where some historians considered or said that the event ended after the Reign of Terror , whereas other people believed that this event continued until another French Republic was established after Napoleon’s fall.

This historical event was marked by the emergence of social-political abstract principles rooting from the views of different individual or group, seeking to establish an ideal society and these ideas were not made exclusive for practice only in France wherein both the Christian democrats and revolutionaries during the said period heavily pointed out that liberty and equality are basic human rights that should be enjoyed by individuals who also wish to attain world peace.

During the time of the French Revolution, theological concepts were never disregarded , however, most of the people paid more attention to scientific ideas. Churches remained firm in its doctrinal teachings in morality but still accepted the freedom of religion. However, the philosophers remained anthropocentric wherein they regarded humankind as the central or most important element of existence, as opposed to God or animals. In the end, both sides still aimed for the protection of the said right with regards to mutual respect and preservation.

On June 17, 1789, the House of Commons adopted the title of “National Assembly” , then swore an oath three days after in the Tennis Court, stating that they will not be abolished until a constitution for the said state has been formulated and on June 27, the king initiated to combine the houses eventually to form a National Assembly, thus proving the importance of the concept of equality in political power, giving the common people the freedom and say on how the country should be governed through the formulation in public policies.

B. Its Impact On Modern Philippine Society

The idea of French Revolution first entered the Philippine archipelago during the time when the Suez Canal in Egypt was opened in order to shorten the route of trade from Europe to Asia and so that the Filipino ilustrados or the educated people were able to study these ideas which leads them to become leaders of the Reform Movement.

Versailles held a ceremony of the first Estates General on May 5, 1789 and these religious ceremonies the day before were held in grandeur. These ceremonies were likened or almost similar to a Filipino fiesta wherein the extravagance, luxury and corruption of the French monarchy was also the same as that of the Spanish government officials and the way of the friars enraged the common Filipino people in both France and Philippines.

Here in Philippines, the ilustrados or educated people created a movement for reforms in order to ensure the restoration of Philippine presentation to the Spanish Cortes for them to make public policies beneficial to the colonies. These ilustrados were: Jose Rizal, Graciano Lopez Jaena, Juan Luna, Antonio Luna, Felix Resurrecion Hidalgo, Marcelo H. Del Pilar, Jose Maria Panganiban and others who took part and gave their financial or moral support to the idea. However, this Propaganda movement failed due to the death of Jose Rizal and Graciano Lopez Jaena, thus leaving only the Legislative branch of the movement which was set to create laws. The common people can object to the decisions made by the senators and lower house representatives by evaluating the public policies and the common man himself can initiate the formation of the public policies.

The great works of the National Assembly includes the Civil Constitution of France and the Declaration Rights of the Man and Citizen , which were then adopted by other countries such as Philippines. This Civil Constitution of France is the reason why we have several constitutions here in Philippines. The main objective of the Declaration of Rights of the Man and Citizen is to give an overview of the basic human rights, followed by certain guidelines established by law.

The former (Declaration of Rights of the Man and Citizen) gives people the freedom of speech and the press and states that a man should not be considered a criminal unless he or she is proven guilty of such crime and this press freedom initiated by France subsequently inspired the creation of journalism, adopted by Philippines through Philippine regular and campus journalism in the 20th century.

Adding to the contribution or impact of French Revolution and the Declaration of Rights of the Man and Citizen to the modern Philippine society will the basis for the creation of the Bill of Rights and writ of habeas corpus which was then dismissed during the Martial Law (time of former President Ferdinand Marcos) , enabling the quick arrest and jailing of alleged criminals and activists by removing their right of defending themselves before the court. Furthermore, it also gives man the freedom of worship and religion, which was even more emphasized when Gregorio Aglipay wanted to establish the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, which is a Catholic church wherein the leadership is not Papal and independent from the Vatican rule. These rights were then introduced to the Filipinos just in time when the Spaniards left the Philippines. Through this Declaration, France initiated that slavery both in motherland and colonies should be abolished.

Much more was contributed by France and the Declaration to our country, especially the political power of women as they were given an important role during the Revolution. This was made evident when there was an occurrence of female militant activism , an example of this is the March to Versailles. The women of French Revolution inspired the Filipino women to take part in the Philippine Revolution and lead against the regime’s oppressive rule.

Without the French Revolution and the presence of women , there wouldn’t be a Philippine Revolution against the Spaniards. The Women’s Chapter of the Katipunan was responsible for admitting new members, whether male or female, and served as a front whenever the male members would hold meetings at the backroom. There would also be no EDSA People Power Revolution if it hadn’t been for those women, who gathered on the streets with the aim to bring real democracy back in the country. These women who took part included the nuns, teachers, peasant women, politicians and even the late President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino. Women can really take part in the Revolution and make a genuine change.

Truly, Filipino citizens are those angry men who wanted to bring back freedom. We hear the people sing the songs of those angry Filipino citizens and join them in the fight that will give them the right to be free!

Quoting a song from the Les Miserables,  ‘Red, the blood of angry men! Black, the dark of ages past! Red, a world about to dawn! Black , the night that ends at last!’ .


Day of Valor

Araw ng Kagitingan or Day of Valor is being commemorated every 9th of April , signifying one of the most important events in Philippine History. Historically, the Day of Valor is also known as Bataan Day or Bataan and Corregidor Day in which the Filipino and US military forces joined forces to fight against the Japanese in order to prevent the Japanese from building their naval base here in Manila and launching attacks to Australia, thus denying these people entry into our land. The Japanese troops, however, wreaked havoc on the Pearl Harbor even after they have surrendered, thus  causing the Philippine conquest to take longer than expected.

This is to celebrate the bravery of those war veterans who gallantly defended Corregidor of Bataan and to educate the younger generations , reminding them of the atrocities that the Japanese had inflicted upon the Filipino soldiers during the Death March, an event where these soldiers were to march 87 miles from Bataan heading to Camp O’ Donnell without any food or water and with their belongings mercilessly taken away from them by the Japanese troops. It all started when more than 76,000 starving and disease ridden soldiers (consisting  of 67,000 Filipinos, 1,000 Chinese Filipinos and 11, 976 Americans) were surrendered by Major General Edward King to the Japanese people against General Douglas McArthur and Jonathan Wainright , at the dawn of April 9, 1942. Throughout the march, thousands have perished due to dehydration, untreated wounds , heat and execution while walking while some who got lucky to travel were forced to endure more than an additional 25 miles of marching and were beaten randomly or even denied food and water. What’s worse, those who fell behind were being executed or left to die, leaving the dead bodies sprawled over the road sides and only a number of 54,000 people reached Camp O’ Donnell.


“To live in freedom’s light is the right of mankind”

May this quote give an impact to every mankind. Everyone deserves the right to enjoy freedom. When one doesn’t fight for freedom, he/she will never get to have and enjoy it. Quoting a line from the song “Do You Hear The People Sing?” , it says , “Then join in the fight that will give you the right to be free!” . What happens when we don’t fight for freedom? What would have happened if these war veterans didn’t defend Bataan?

“They will see the people rise”/”Let others rise to take our place until the earth is free”

The Filipino and US soldiers rose and fought against the Japanese in defense of the Corregidor of Bataan, even if it means death.