Filipinos are among the most patriotic people in the world. They are ready to die in defense for their freedom and independence. Pledge to the flag and singing of the national anthem is a simple gesture and manifestation of every Filipinos love of the country.
I am a certified Philippine Flag and Anthem Advocate. I joined the advocacy in 2010 and it is my primary duty as a Filipino citizen, history teacher and a flag advocate promoting and informing Filipino people within my reach the basic knowledge about the Philippine Flag.
Here are some of the most interesting facts and historic details about the Philippine National Flag.
1. The colors of the Philippine flag “must” always be royal blue, scarlet red and golden yellow. These colors were adopted on the colors of the American flag because there were no color specifications on the original flag.
2. There are actually four stars in the Philippine flag – the 3 stars on the corner of the equilateral triangle at the hoist and the “sun” on the middle which is actually the nearest star on Earth.
3. The 3 stars represent the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao which is also commonly known as Luzviminda.
4. The sun with 8 rays represents the 8 Philippine provinces that revolted against the Spanish government in the Philippine Revolution of 1896 namely Cavite, Manila, Batangas, Laguna, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga and Tarlac.
5. The proportion of the Philippine flag is 1:2. This means that the length of the flag is twice its width.
6. The 3 stars of the flag are 5-pointed gold stars with each star oriented in such manner that one of its tips points towards the vertex at which it is located.
7. The Philippine flag was actually first displayed on May 28, 1898 at the Battle of Alapan, Imus, Cavite. This is the reason why the celebrations of National Flag Days are conducted every May 28 and June 12 every year.
8. The Philippine flag days are now from May 28 to June 30 every year.
9. Flag Day, up until the eve of the Second World War, was celebrated annually on October 30. This is to commemorate the date the ban on the flag was lifted on October 30, 1919.
10. The first flag was sewn by Marcela Mariño de Agoncillo or more popularly known as simply Marcela Agoncillo. She manually sewed the flag and was help by Jose Rizal’s niece – Delfina Herbosa de Natividad and her daughter Lorenza.
11. The Philippine National Flag was designed by Emilio Aguinaldo while he was in exile in Hong Kong. It was adopted as the Philippine flag on June 12, 1898 – the Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain.
12. The country is on state of war if the red side of the flag is on top. It indicates peace if the blue side is on top.
13. The Philippine flag was first flown with the red field up on February 4, 1899 to show that a state of war existed during the Fil-Am War. It was flown again in the same manner during the Second World War, and by a few during the EDSA revolution of 1986.
14. Originally, according to the 1898 Declaration of Independence, the white triangle symbolizes the Katipunan, the secret society that opposed the Spanish rule and the color of the flag commemorates the US flag as a manifestation of gratitude for the protection it offered during the Philippine Revolution.
15. In addition, one of the 3 stars on the flag represents Panay instead of the entire Visayas, the sun, which contains a mythical face, represents a gigantic step of the Filipino nation toward civilization and development and one of the rays of the sun represents Bataan instead of Tarlac.
16. The white equilateral triangle represents equality and fraternity; blue stands for justice, peace and truth; red for patriotism and valor; and the golden sun refer to democracy, freedom, sovereignty and unity.
17. For more than a decade, the Philippine flag was not allowed to be raised. During the American colonial rule, the display of the Philippine flag was declared illegal by the Sedition Act of 1907. This law was repealed on October 30, 1919.
18. On March 26, 1920, the Philippine Legislature passed Act. No 2928 which legally adopted the Philippine flag as the official flag of the Philippines.
19. The Philippine flag was ban again to be hoisted from 1941 to 1943 during the Second World War.
20. The provincial government of Zambales also suggested that a 9th ray should be included in the flag but it was denied. A crescent moon to the flag is also suggested by Muslims but it is still on process.
21. The Philippine flag should be displayed at the highest prominent area in all government and private entities all over the archipelago.
22. The Philippine flag, on all Philippine registered shipping and naval vessels with more than 1,000 gross tons, must be displayed at the stern whilst at anchor and from the gaff whist at sea.
23. Display of the Philippine flag is compulsory, night and day, in Malacañan Palace, Philippine Congress, Libingan ng mga Bayani, Supreme Court, Rizal Monument, Aguinaldo Shrine, Barasoain Church, Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers, Libingan ng mga Veteranos and all ports of entry.
24. The flag can be flown at half-mast as a sign of mourning. In doing so, the flag should be first hoisted to the peak for a moment then lowered to the half-mast position. It should be raised to the peak again before it is lowered for the day.
25. Filipino citizens who are entitled for a half-mast include the Philippine president for 10 days, vice president, chief justice, senate president and speaker of the house for 7 days.
26. Incumbent Supreme Court justices, senators and congressmen are entitled also of the half-mast privilege as determined by the National Historic Institute.
27. Dead military, veterans of previous wars, national artists, and outstanding civilians as determined by the local government can used the Philippine flag to cover their caskets.
28. Teachers, other local government officials and exemplary civilians are also entitled of the half-mast privilege as determined by the provincial, municipal and barangay council.
29. The Philippine flag can not be displayed "horizontally face-up, or under any painting, picture or platform."
30. Unlike in America, the Philippine flag can not be burned, used as part of a uniform or costume, can not be used as drapery and many others.
31. The Philippine flag cannot be used as a pennant in the hood, side, back and top of motor vehicles.
32. The Philippine flag is prohibited to be displayed in cockfighting arenas, discotheques, night clubs, casinos and gambling places.
33. The original Filipino flag sewn by Marcela Agoncillo is on display at Aguinaldo’s Shrine in Kawit, Cavite.
34. The raising of the Philippine flag is called Flag Raising Ceremony while the lowering of it is called Flag Lowering Ceremony not Flag Retreat because it does not retreat.
35. Philippine flags with faded colors, worn and tear must be immediately replaced and even if it is already wear down and torn it should not be burn. There is an appropriate ceremony in discarding a dilapidated Philippine flag.
36. There were some attempts to create the largest Philippine flag but none yet is recognized by the Guinness World Records. See the details of one of the largest Philippine flag ever made HERE
37. The Philippine flag should not touch the ground, water or any object at any time. It should be raised briskly and should be lowered ceremonially.
38. During inclement weather, the Philippine flag may not be raised but if it is already raised, the flag must remain raised.
39. the Philippine flag must be displayed also in private buildings and houses on April 9 – Araw ng Kagitingan, May 1 – Labor Day, last Sunday of August – National Heroes Day, November 30 – Bonifacio Day and December 30 – Rizal Day.
40. Not known to many, the Philippine flag could be knotted to signal distress or assistance is badly needed.
Watch out, I will be presenting more facts and details regarding the Philippine National Flag including facts and details of the Philippine National Anthem.