Felipe was born on 28 January 1861 to Justo Felipe and Victoria Reyes. He was only 10 years old when his musical talent began to be honed by Leandro Cosca, a local musician in Cavite. When his instructor died, Recollect priest Pedro Catalan taught him to play the piano. Catalan later employed him as an organist at San Pedro Church in Cavite. He also taught music at La Sagrada Familia, an all-girls’ school. He then began composing musical pieces.
As a prolific composer, he produced the following pieces: “Aurorita,” “Danza (Early Dawn Danza),” “Cintas y Flores (Ribbons and Flowers),” and “Motete al Santisimo (Motet to the Most Holy).” He became a member of the Santa Cecilia Musical Society.
Marcha Nacional Filipina
He joined the Philippine Revolution in 1896 and was imprisoned at Fort Santiago together with the 13 Martyrs of Cavite. While the 13 martyrs were sentenced to death, Felipe was found innocent and was released on 2 June 1897.
President Emilio Aguinaldo then commissioned Felipe to compose “something stirring and majestic which can inspire our men to fight the enemy—something which embodies the noble ideals of our race.” Thus, he composed “Marcha Nacional Filipina,” also known as “Himno Nacional Filipino.” It was played by the San Francisco de Malabon when the Philippine flag was hoisted during the declaration of Philippine independence on 12 June 1898 in Aguinaldo’s house in Kawit, Cavite. Commonwealth Act No. 382 adopted “Marcha Nacional Filipina” as the national anthem on 5 September 1938.
After the Philippine-American War, Felipe was appointed director of the Banda Nacional of the First Philippine Republic in 1899. He also served as bandmaster of the US Navy in May 1904. Among his other works were “My Philippines” and “Un Recuerdo,” which he dedicated to the 13 martyrs.
Felipe and his wife Irene Tapia had four daughters and a son. He died in Sampaloc, Manila on 2 October 1944. A bust of Felipe can be found near San Sebastian College-Recoletos de Cavite.
- “Featured Artist: Julian Felipe”. ‘’Filipinas Heritage Library’’. (Accessed on 28 January 2021).
- “The History of Lupang Hinirang—The Story of Us”. ‘’Kapampangan Media’’. (Accessed on 28 January 2021).
- “Today in Philippine History, January 28, 1861, Julian Felipe born in Cavite City, Cavite”. ‘’The Kahimyang Project’’. (Accessed on 28 January 2021).
- “Julián Felipe”. ‘’Project Gutenberg’’. (Accessed on 28 January 2021).
- “Commonwealth Act No. 382”. ‘’Official Gazette’’. (Accessed on 28 January 2021).