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Philippine Holiday: Labor Day

Labor (also spelled as Labour) Day or Araw ng Manggagawa is a public holiday celebrated in most countries worldwide in tribute to the workers, workers’ unions, and a time to remember their hard-fought rights. Also called or linked to the International Workers’ Day, it originated from the labour union movement, which fought for an eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. In the Philippines, we celebrate it on May 1, like most countries. Some countries, on the other hand, celebrate it on a different date significant to the labour movements that occurred in their country. Most workers usually enjoy a day of rest from work during this holiday. Sale or discounts also become available in malls and other stores, including online stores. If you’re working or living abroad, BayanMall.com can help with the stuff you want to send to your family and friends back in the Philippines.

Filipino workers and activists gather near the Malacañang presidential palace during a Labor Day rally in Manila, Philippines on Sunday May 1, 2011 to call for the immediate implementation of wage increase. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Filipino workers and activists gather near the Malacañang presidential palace during a Labor Day rally in Manila, Philippines on Sunday May 1, 2011 to call for the immediate implementation of wage increase. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Unions use this day as well to organize demonstrations at Malacañang and other major cities in the country to get attention about their grievance issues as workers like demands on higher wages and benefits. In the Philippine history, the Union Obrera Democratica Filipina (Filipino Democratic Labor Union) held a rally of 100,000 people at Malacañang in demand of economic rights and Philippine independence on May 1, 1903 when we were still under the American rule. The Labor Code of the Philippines, the legal code governing employment practices and labor relations in the Philippines, was enacted on Labor Day of 1974 by then-President Ferdinand Marcos. In May 1, 2001, the EDSA 3 mass demonstration occurred near the palace aiming to remove then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and reinstate Joseph Estrada.

With this holiday, we pay tribute to all Filipino workers, may it be here and abroad. It is you who make this country move and progress. It is you who provide for the family. It is you who keep us alive. This Labor Day, we would like to express our gratitude to the talents, skills, effort, and time that you give for us. You are the warrior and hero in our lives. You also inspire us to keep going.

In December of 2014, Google Philippines released a touching video dedicated to the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who can’t make it to be home for Christmas with their families and friends. In this video, we see muted clips of conversation between the Overseas Family Workers and their loved ones as a child is heard singing Basil Valdez’s “You” in the background. The video, entitled Miss Nothing, is part of their campaign of getting OFWs to use social media and the internet messaging to not miss significant moments and still be part of the lives of their loved ones back home despite the distance. While this may be focused on the OFWs, it still shows and pays tribute to the hard work of all Filipino workers, both here and abroad.

 

To the Filipino workers, mabuhay! BayanMall salutes you for everything that you do.

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