Celebrating Filipino Independence Day in the UK: Traditions and Festivities

🕑 3 minutes read

The Filipino community in the UK is a vibrant and essential part of the multicultural tapestry of British society. With over 200,000 Filipinos residing in the UK, their cultural contributions are significant and diverse. As June approaches, the Filipino community eagerly anticipates celebrating Filipino Independence Day, a momentous occasion that commemorates the declaration of independence from Spanish colonial rule on June 12, 1898. This blog explores the rich traditions, festivities, and ways the Filipino community in the UK might celebrate this special day.

The Significance of Filipino Independence Day

Filipino Independence Day, known as “Araw ng Kalayaan” (Day of Freedom), marks the end of over 300 years of Spanish colonization. It is a day of national pride and a celebration of Filipino culture, history, and heritage. For Filipinos around the world, including those in the UK, it is an opportunity to honour their roots and celebrate their identity.

Traditions and Celebrations in the UK

1. Community Gatherings and Picnics

One of the most cherished ways to celebrate Independence Day is through community gatherings and picnics. Filipino associations and community groups often organize events in parks and community centres. These gatherings feature traditional Filipino food, music, dance, and games. It’s a time for families and friends to come together, share stories, and celebrate their shared heritage.

2. Cultural Performances

Cultural performances are a highlight of Filipino Independence Day celebrations. These performances often include traditional folk dances such as the Tinikling (a dance that involves dancers stepping over and between bamboo poles) and the Cariñosa (a courtship dance). Music is also an integral part of the festivities, with performances of traditional and contemporary Filipino songs.

3. Parades and Flag-Raising Ceremonies

In larger cities with significant Filipino populations, such as London, Birmingham, and Manchester, parades and flag-raising ceremonies are common. Participants proudly wave the Philippine flag and wear traditional attire. These events foster a sense of unity and national pride within the community.

4. Religious Services

Many Filipinos in the UK celebrate Independence Day by attending a special mass or religious service. The Philippines is predominantly Roman Catholic, and religious observance plays a significant role in their cultural celebrations. Churches with Filipino congregations often hold services to bless the nation and its people.

5. Filipino Cuisine

No Filipino celebration is complete without a feast. Independence Day is the perfect time to indulge in Filipino culinary delights. Dishes such as adobo (a marinated meat dish), lechon (roast pig), pancit (noodles), and halo-halo (a mixed dessert) are commonly enjoyed. Filipino restaurants and food stalls may also offer special Independence Day menus and promotions.

6. Virtual Celebrations

In the digital age, virtual celebrations have become increasingly popular, especially in light of recent global events. Online platforms allow Filipinos in the UK to connect with family and friends worldwide. Virtual events may include live-streamed performances, cooking demonstrations, and online contests.

Highlighting Contributions and Achievements

Filipino Independence Day is also a time to recognize the contributions and achievements of the Filipino community in the UK. From healthcare professionals and educators to artists and entrepreneurs, Filipinos have made significant impacts across various sectors. Celebratory events often include speeches and awards to honor outstanding individuals and their contributions to both the Filipino community and broader British society.


Filipino Independence Day is a celebration of freedom, culture, and community. For Filipinos in the UK, it is an opportunity to honor their heritage, celebrate their identity, and come together as a community. Whether through traditional gatherings, cultural performances, culinary feasts, or virtual events, the Filipino community in the UK proudly celebrates this significant day with joy and pride.

As June 12 approaches, we extend our warmest greetings to the Filipino community in the UK. Maligayang Araw ng Kalayaan! (Happy Independence Day!)