Fast facts: The Philippine flag

MANILA–Celebrated every 28th of May, the Philippine flag was first unfurled on that day in 1898 after the Philippine Revolutionary Army defeated Spanish forces in a battle in Cavite and was formally presented to the people on June 12, 1898.

The original Flag raised by President Emilio Aguinaldo in declaring the independence in 1898. Photo by: Wikipedia.

And here’s what you need to know before flying high the stunning flag of the Filipinos.

Three stars resemble the islands of Luzon, Mindanao and Panay-Contrary to the common misbelief, the three stars in the flag resembles the islands of Luzon, Panay and Mindanao. Not Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The Proclamation of Independence in 1898 referred to these as “the archipelago’s three principal islands.” The stars commemorate the areas where the revolution started.

Photo by:

The white triangle represents the Katipunan-The Philippine’s most influential force against the Spaniards, the revolutionary group, Katipuneros sparked the masses into fighting for their rights and country’s sovereignty. Furthermore, the triangle also refers to the “Eye of Providence” which was adopted by freemasonry and later inspired the Katipunan’s ideologies, traditions and rituals.

The eight sun rays-The rays indicate the eight provinces of Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Laguna and Batangas as the foremost areas that supported the revolt.

Supporters of Philippine religious leader Eddie Villanueva unfurl a huge national flag in Luneta, Manila, on February 9, 2010. Photo by: Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

The Philippine flag was heavily inspired by the U.S. flag-As a form of “profound gratitude” of the Filipinos to its former liberators, the designers of the flag decided to honor the United States for its “disinterested protection” of the Philippines, thus the red, blue and white theme and the use of stars. 

The national flag itself serves as the war flag-Unlike other countries which use other flags in times of war, the Philippines use its flag in time of distress but flown with the red field on top and to the left if displayed in hanging position.

President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, Vietnam President Nguyen Minh Triet and US President Barack Obama in a press conference at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City last Sept. 25, 2010. (Photo by: Malacañang Photo Bureau)

In a meeting hosted by US President Barack Obama in New York City, the organizers mistakenly displayed the flag upside down. Right after the incident, the U.S. embassy immediately  apologizes to the Filipino people and their special guests, citing that it was an honest mistake.

The flag must fly in fair weather condition-If the weather is inclement, the Philippine flag may not be raised, if it is already raised, the flag must remain raised.
A worn out flag in Tacloban after Super Typhoon Haiyan devastate the city. Photo by: Wikipedia

It’s prohibited to display the flag in places of vice –Bars, cockpits, casinos and other places of vice or where frivolity prevails aren’t the place where the flag is flown.

It’s illegal to throw away a worn out flag- It shall be solemnly burned to avoid desecration. A flag that is beginning to show signs of wear and tear shall be replaced immediately.

The flag was once banned in the Philippines-In 1907, Act No. 1697 or the Flag Law of 1907 was passed and it prohibited the display of the Philippine flag which was then replaced by the stars and stripes of U.S. After 11 years and upon liberation from the U.S. this law was repealed and the Philippine flag was reinstated as the nation’s official standard.


Photo by: Wikipedia

New flag proposal-On June 15, 1995 President Fidel Ramos suggested to incorporate a crescent moon into the current national flag to represent the Filipino Muslims. However the planned revision didn’t push through before he left the presidency.

Viva and happy National Flag day, FILIPINAS!

ViajeroMNL (Viajero Manila) is a lifestyle blog site that features different pop culture, travel, and food destinations in the Philippines. This article was written by Gillian Gacuma. 


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