National Heroes Day was formerly observed on November 30 every year. Since this date coincided with the birth date of Andres Bonifacio, founder of the Katipunan, National Heroes Day was moved to the last Sunday of August of every year to enable the people to pay homage to all other heroes of the country.
President Emilio F. Aguinaldo began the tradition of honoring the heroes of the nation. He issued a decree on December 20, 1898, declaring December 30 of every year as "Memorials Day" to honor Dr. Jose P. Rizal and all the other Filipinos who suffered martyrdom for Philippine freedom.
In 1901, Pascual H. Poblete, also a hero of the revolution, launched a campaign to erect a monument for Dr. Rizal. Others followed Poblete's admirable effort. Friends and admirers of Andres Bonifacio, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Fathers Gomez, Burgos, and Zamora, etc., also started fund-raising campaigns to erect monuments in the heroes' birthplaces. The people of Daet, Camarines Norte, erected the first Rizal monument and inaugurated it on December 30, 1898.
On September 3, 1911, the Board of Directors of the newspaper El Renacimiento/Muling Pagsilang inaugurated at Balintawak the Monument for the Heroes of 1896 to pay homage to the unknown men and women who sacrificed their lives for Philippine freedom. Eventually, provinces, towns, streets, parks comschools, and institutions were named in honor of the nation's heroes.
Philippine history is the history of our heroes. By their deeds and personal sacrifices and by their blood, they wrote the pages of our country's annals. It is important to study the life and works of our heroes for posterity to know and emulate their noble deeds.
"Mapalad ang bayang linitawan ng mga bayani," Andres Bonifacio declared, "sapagka't ang bayang iya'y walang kamatayan (Fortunate is the country where heroes emerge because that country will live on)." Indeed, the Philippines is fortunate for it is a land of heroes.