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Sunday, February 18, 2024

Rare Historic Document Unveiled: 1899 Declaration of Philippine Independence from the United States

Ms. Amanda Williams, Director of the MacArthur Memorial Museum and Consul General Iric Arribas with the Philippine Declaration of Independence on display.

In a poignant ceremony marking the convergence of two nations’ histories, the General Douglas MacArthur Memorial Museum unveiled an original document declaring the independence of the Philippines from the United States. Signed by President Emilio Aguinaldo, the declaration was made immediately before the Philippine-American War, which commenced 125 years ago. 

Consul General Iric Cruz Arribas, in his opening remarks, underscored the significance of the occasion, stating, “This document symbolizes the courage and resilience of the Filipino people in our quest for self-determination. It is a testament to the enduring spirit of independence that continues to define both our nations. We are honored that the MacArthur Memorial Museum will preserve and showcase this invaluable piece of Philippine history.” 

On stage during the unveiling ceremony (left to right) Col. Arthur M. Romanillos Jr., Philippine Army Attache, Dr. Cynthia Romero, Chairman of the Council of United Filipino Organizations of Tidewater, Consul General Arribas, Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander, Virginia Representative Bobby Scott, and Mr. Max Frias of the Philippine American National Historical Society- Hampton Roads Chapter.

Ms. Amanda Williams, Director of the MacArthur Memorial Museum, emphasized the document’s role in education and reflection. “The Declaration of Philippine Independence, housed within the museum’s esteemed collection, will serve as a focal point for deepening understanding of the complex historical narratives that connect the Philippines and the United States,” she remarked. 

Following the unveiling, a symposium on the Philippine-American War, organized by the museum in partnership with the Filipino American National Historical Society- Hampton Roads Chapter, provided further insight into this shared history. 

Consul General Iric Cruz Arribas delivering a message on behalf of the Philippine Embassy Washington DC and Philippine Secretary of Defense Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr.

The event, attended by dignitaries such as Virginia Congressman Robert Scott and Norfolk City Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander, along with historians and leaders from the Filipino community in Hampton Roads, served as a meaningful reminder of the enduring bonds between the Philippines and the United States. 

The MacArthur Memorial has also released a new multi-media guide that provides a look at some of the Spanish-American War and Philippine-American War items in the museum collection.

View here:


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