TODAY is the feast day of Doctor of the Church St. Thomas Aquinas. Most of the logical and commonsense wording used in defining the doctrines of Catholicism, found in the Catechism, are those of this holy and erudite saint. It is said that those who pray to him, and at the same time pay attention to his explanation of Christian Philosophy are rewarded with a theologically based faith.
It is also the birthday of Julian Felipe, who composed our national anthem that we sing as “Lupang Hinirang” in Filipino and as “Land of the Morning” in English.
On January 28, 1861, Julian Felipe was born in Cavite City. He died in Manila on October 2, 1944. There is a monument to the composer in Cavite City, near the San Sebastian College-Recoletos de Cavite.
Felipe was a music teacher, a band leader and that is why he had the talent and skill to compose the Philippine national anthem.
He inherited his gift for music from his father, Felipe Felipe, who played the piano and organ. The young Julian was such an accomplished musician that he was appointed organist in the St. Peter’s Parish Church in Cavite. There his talent grew and he developed not only as an outstanding performer but also as a composer.
He loved writing songs, and like many of his kind in his century, he created songs that became famous and popular. Among these were Moteti el Santesisimo, Sintos y Floras Rogodones, and Amorita Danza.
Music critics admired his work and plain music lovers played his compositions. He was still in his 20s when critics wrote that his works were as good or even better than some of the musicians hailed as masters. Julian Felipe received many awards.
When the Philippine Revolution broke out, he became active in fighting against Spain in Cavite. He was arrested and imprisoned at Fort San Felipe in Cavite.
After he was released, he promptly rejoined General Emilio Aguinaldo’s army. The future first President of the Philippines asked Felipe to compose a nationalistic song which would serve to inspire the revolutionists in the war against Spain. Aguinaldo appointed him director of the National Band of the First Philippine Republic.
Felipe composed the “Marcha Nacional Filipina,” which was played by the San Francisco de Malabon band as the Philippine flag was hoisted during the declaration of Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898, in General Aguinaldo’s house in Kawit, Cavite.
On September 5, 1938, the Philippine government adopted the “Marcha Nacional Filipina” as the Philippine national anthem.