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National Symbols of the Philippines

flag of the Philippines Learn more about the culture and traditions observed in the Philippines. | Photo by Sam Balye on Unsplash

During the Spanish colonial period, there were many cultures and traditions introduced which greatly affected Philippines history.

Like any other country, the Philippines adapted to new ways, and new discoveries were also made. The Philippines also gained national symbols that indicate the true value of being a Filipino.

Check out the national symbols of the Philippines:

  1. National Flag
  2. The national flag symbolizes the pride of the Filipinos for claiming their independence from other nations. It is a rectangular shape with different colors consisting of different meanings.

    The triangular white color symbolizes liberty, equality, and fraternity. The blue color for peace, truth, and justice, which must be over the red color which symbolizes patriotism and valor.

    If the blue and red colors are flipped upside down, it is an indication of war and chaos.

    Meanwhile, at the center of the white triangle lies the eight-rayed golden sun which symbolizes unity, freedom, democracy, and sovereignty.

    Each ray represents the eight provinces which played a significant role in the 1896 Philippine Revolution against Spain.

    Each star represents the three major islands of the Philippines, namely, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

  3. National Fruit: Mango
  4. The golden color of the mango symbolizes richness, and its shape that is identical to that of a human heart symbolizes just that.

    The mango fruit has been known as the “Fruit of the Gods”, but in 1995, the Carabao mango of the Philippines held the title for the sweetest fruit in the Guinness Book of World Records.

  5. National Tree: Narra
  6. It is a sturdy and durable tree which symbolizes the Filipino’s indomitable spirit and strength of character.

    The tree’s timber is well-known throughout the wood industry for its rose-like scent, pliancy, and adaptability to any type of condition or climate.

  7. National Animal: Carabao
  8. If dogs are man’s best friend, then carabaos are the Filipino farmer’s best friend.

    This animal is the perfect representation for the outstanding qualities of Filipinos who are strong-willed and hardworking.

    Like the carabao that plows the field from daylight to sunset, Filipinos work hard to survive and accomplish the things that need to be done.

  9. National Flower: Sampaguita
  10. This flower symbolizes purity, simplicity, and humility, as well as the Filipino’s sense of commitment to a vow or duty to always keep a promise.

    However, in today’s practical context, the sampaguita flower symbolizes hope for some Filipino folks.

  11. National Anthem: Lupang Hinirang
  12. The national anthem was composed by Julian Felipe, who also played a great role influencing Philippines culture.

    The song was played publicly on June 12, 1898 during the proclamation of Philippine Independence. The lyrics were adopted from the Spanish poem, Filipinas, which was written by José Palma.

  13. National Bird: Philippine Eagle
  14. An interesting fact about the Philippine eagle is that it wasn’t a Filipino who discovered it. It was by British naturalist and explorer John Whitehead.

    It is proclaimed the national bird because there are no recognizable subspecies or close relatives, and it can only be found in the Philippines, hence the name. The eagle symbolizes the strength and love for freedom of Filipino people.

  15. National Gem: Philippine Pearl
  16. Filipino culture wouldn’t be complete without its national gem. The Philippine pearl is very expensive and can grow between 9mm to 19mm. It is very valuable, and its beauty and elegant gleam gained recognition as the Queen of Pearls.

  17. National Sport: Arnis
  18. It is a national sport as well as a form of martial art. It refers to one or two sticks made from rattan that can be used as weapons for defending one’s self.

    As there are many forms of self defense out there, this art practices the way of striking, thrusting, and parrying techniques to immobilize an attacker.

  19. National Hero: Dr. Jose Rizal
  20. He is considered a national hero because of his actions that led the Philippines to achieve its independence which greatly affected Filipino culture and values.

    He became the foundation of the Philippines where acts of truth and justice can set you free -- by sacrificing one’s self for the good of others and having unconditional love for one’s own country. A true patriot.

  21. National Leaf: Anahaw
  22. There is nothing special about this leaf, and no scientific discoveries were particularly made. How did this leaf receive its title, then? Perhaps it is because it is a symbol of the resourcefulness of Filipinos.

    This plant can be treated as ornamental, or it can probably be ignored, but making something extraordinary out of the ordinary is where Filipinos come in.

    Filipinos make use of this leaf as a roof for shelter and sometimes walls. Their ancestors had been using the Anahaw leaf as a food wrapper since they couldn’t afford lunchboxes.

  23. National House: Bahay Kubo
  24. When you stumble upon the rural areas of the Philippines, you will notice the unique architectural designs of the Philippines which involve woods and other materials that are highly combustible.

    Yes! This is the bahay kubo. It symbolizes the creativity of the Filipinos and the nurtured value called bayanihan which attributes to a spirit of collective unity to accomplish an objective.

  25. National Fish: Bangus
  26. It is also known as milkfish in English. It is an adaptable, tough, and sturdy fish that can survive in confined spaces. It is regularly bred on fish farms, which is why it is widely available all over the Philippines.

  27. National Dance: Tinikling
  28. It is a traditional folk dance which originated from the Spanish colonial era. The dance imitates the movement of the tikling birds as they dodge bamboo traps set by the farmers.

    The dancers mimic the bird’s grace and agility by dancing between large bamboo poles. The rhythm and the clashing of poles while dancers avoid getting clapped by the poles get the audience hyped as they experience thrills.

Just like any other country, the Philippines also has its own culture and set of traditions to uphold. With their sense of pride, Filipinos value their national symbols more than anything.

For them, you can never achieve the truest sense of being a Filipino without knowing and experiencing it first hand.

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