Symbols, Origin and Meaning: Philippine National flag

 flags of the Philippines, cuba, and puerto rico

They say the easiest way to know a country better is by looking at the meaning of its flag. So in this posting for Brief History, we'll take a look at some of the many influences that were at play in the designing of the Philippine flag.

If placed beside each other, one would see the similarities between the Philippine, Cuban, and Puerto Rican national flags.

This is no coincidence, as all three countries were colonies of the Spanish Empire and all three fought for their independence at the turn of the 19th Century. So in effect, the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico are brother nations with years of interaction and a shared history of ups and downs. And just like any other family member, the inspiration and influences that inspired the Filipinos in their pursuit of self-rule and in the design elements of their flag came from Cuba and Puerto Rico. This is why similarities between the Philippine, Cuban, and Puerto Rican national flags exist.

Starting on the sun and three stars. The eight-rayed sun symbolizes the first eight provinces that revolted against the Spanish government. Specifically, they are Manila, Cavite, Batangas, Bulacan, Laguna, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Nueva Ecija.

The Sun in the Filipino flag was also influenced by Hispanic countries Peru, Argentina, and Uruguay. It was first adopted in the Katipunan flags and later carried over towards the present design of the flag. The Sun in the Filipino flag also once had a human face which was a recurring symbol in masonic rites. Over time, however, the face in the sun was dropped in the Philippine flag but is still retained in the flags of Argentina and Uruguay.

The three five-pointed stars represent the three main island groups: Luzon, Visayas (originally Panay), and Mindanao.

The usage of stars as symbols was drawn from the flags of Texas, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. Where in Puerto Rico the star symbolizes the island of Puerto Rico while in Cuba it symbolizes the new state.

The white equilateral triangle stands for equality and fraternity which is also seen in various Katipunan flags and has Freemasonic origins. The blue stripe means peace, truth, and justice while the red stripe represents the Filipino’s patriotism and valor.

In general, the Philippine flag has changed through the years and there were propositions to change it to add more meaning or to adapt to the changing realities of the times.

Regardless of the motivations behinds the proposed changes in the national flag, none of it ever materialized, perhaps for good reasons.

Are you in favor of changing the design elements of the Philippine national flag? Let us know in the comment section.

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