the philippine flagPHILIPPINEflag

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The Philippine National Flag made its first public appearanceat General Aguinaldo's declaration of independence from Spain.Prior to this flag, there were several Katipunan flags and warbanners and some of the revolutionary generals had their ownflags, some of which stand some similarity to the presentnational flag. The Philippine flag was banned at certain timesduring the US and Japanese occupation. The exact specificationsof the flag were placed down in 1936 although the blue used inthe flag has long been an issue of debate amongst historians.The blue was changed to royal blue in 1998 as a compromise tothe argument regarding the use of a Cuban blue, American (ornavy) blue and sky blue used in previous flags.

While inforced exile abroad, one of the first tasks of the foundingfathers of the aspiring new nation was the preparation of thesymbols of state - a new flag and a new Philippine National anthem. They decided tohave a new common flag to use in another attempt atindependence. This new flag would not have the stigma ofdisunity of the previous war standards, and it wouldsymbolize the common aspirations forfreedom.

The designof the new flag was decided by General Emilio Aguinaldoand the other leaders after a great deal of discussionand study. The sketch was submitted to Mrs. MarcelaMariño de Agoncillo, who was living with herhusband Don Felipe Agoncillo at No. 535 Morrison HillRoad, Hong Kong, where the other exiles lived. Thispatriotic woman was requested by General Aguinaldo tomake the flag because of her skill in sewing, which sheacquired from her hometown of Lipa, Batangas and herstudent days at the Colegio de Santa Catalina,Manila.

two equalhorizontal bands of blue (top) and red with a whiteequilateral triangle based on the hoist side; in thecenter of the triangle is a yellow sun with eight primaryrays (each containing three individual rays) and in eachcorner of the triangle is a small yellow five-pointedstar.


TheKatipunan (1892 - 1897)

first KKK
The First KKK (Kataastaasan atKagalanggalang Katipunan ng Mga Anak ngBayan--The Highest and Most Honorable Societyof the Sons of the Nation) Flag (1892) With theestablishment of the Katipunan, AndresBonifacio requested his wife, Gregoria deJesus, and with the help of Benita Rodriguez tocreate a flag for the society. De Jesus createda simple red flag bearing the society'sacronym, KKK, in white and arrangedhorizontally at the center of a rectangularpiece of red cloth (locally called "kundiman").The color red represents the blood and courageof the Katipuneros who stood ready to fight forfreedom and shed their blood if need be. Thiswas the flag which was developed during the"First Cry of Nationhood" at the district ofNorth Manila in August 1896. This was the firstofficial flag of the society.

one K flag
Early KatipunanOne-K Flag. In some areas, only one whileletter K was positioned on a rectangular piece of redcloth.

second katipunan flag
The Second KatipunanFlag (1892). Some members of theKatipunan used other variations. A red flagwith the three white letter Ks arranged in anequilateral triangle, a shape prominent inPhilippine revolutionary imagery, at the centerof the rectangular field.

bonifacio flag
Andres Bonifacio's Flag(1892). Andres Bonifacio “thefather of katipunan”, had a personal flagwhich represents a white sun with an indefinitenumber of rays on a field of red. Below the sunare three white Ks arranged horizontally. Thisflag was first shown on August 23, 1896 duringthe Cry of Pugadlawin where the Katipunerosgather tore their cedulas (poll taxcertificates) in rebelliousness of Spanishauthority. The flag was used later during theBattle of San Juan del Monte on August 30,1896, the first major battle of the PhilippineRevolution. This was also used by the war campof Bonifacio, the "Great Plebeian" ("DakilangAnak Pawis").

1st degree flag

2nd degree flag

3rd degree flag

war flag

Katipunan 1st Degree Flag(1892). A red flagwith one white letter K at the center of the field,crossed by a native sword ("tabak") pointingdownwards and a small skull above the letter K.This was accepted to rally the Katipunerosbelonging to the lowest rank or grade.



Katipunan2nd Degree Flag(1892). A red flag similarto the 1st degree design, but with two K's and noskull symbol. This was supposed to rally the middleranks of the Katipuneros.



Katipunan3rd Degree Flag(1892). A red flag, again,with three K's and sword sign, for the highestranks of the society.



War Camp of Katipuneros of Malibay,Pasay(1896)
. This battle flag had theMasonic triangle on the left, with the MalibayKatipunero description over a red field.

The Revolutionary Government (1897 - 1899)

rising sun flag
PersonalFlag or BatallionFlag
Pio del Pilar's RisingSun Flag(1896). A red flag with awhite triangle on the left side, became famousthrough General Pio del Pilar of San Pedro deMakati (the hero of Makati and one of the mosttrusted generals of Emilio Aguinaldo), who usedit up to the Pact of Biak-na-Bato. Thetriangular strip at the left side led thenational flag design. At each of the angles ofthe triangle was a letter K. The rising sun inthe middle had eight rays representing thefirst eight united provinces that were placedunder martial law by the Spanish colonialgovernment for rising up in rebellion namely,Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Bulacan, Manila,Cavite, Laguna and Batangas. The flag wascalled Bandila ng Matagumpay (The Flag of theVictorious) and was first used on July 11,1895. The flag was also one of the first toillustrate an eight-rayed sun.

Llanera's battle skull flag
PersonalFlag or BatallionFlag

GeneralMariano Llanera's battle Skull Flag(1896).General Mariano Llanera who fought in the provincesof Bulacan, Tarlac, Pampanga, and Nueva Ecija useda dull-looking black flag, with the single whiteletter K and the skull and crossbones symbol. Theblack color of the flag was inspired by the hoodworn during the secret initiation rites of thefirst degree Katipuneros. The flag was for the campof General Mariano Llanera of Cabiao, Nueva Ecija,who earned for himself a reputation as a brave andreckless fighter. "Let us fight to the finish," wasone of his favorite remarks. Owing more toFreemasonry than to traditional Katipunero imagery.This flag looked like the pirates' banner in theCaribbean. It is said that Andres Bonifacio madefun of this flag, calling it Bungo ni Llanera orLlanera's skull.

aguinaldo-magdalo flag

TheAguinaldo-Magdalo Flag (August 30, 1896).When the revolution heated up, the Magdiwang groupof the Katipunan, which operated in Cavite underGen. Santiago Alvarez, adopted a flag consisting ofa red flag with the character at the centre of theflag is a K in an ancient Filipino alphabet oralibata script in white placed at the center of asun with eight pointed rays, again representing theKatipunan and the eight revolutionary provinces inLuzon that pledged its support to fight underAguinaldo’s banner and to start thePhilippine revolution. This was the flag adopted byGeneral Emilio Aguinaldo for his Magdalo group atKawit, Cavite on August 30, 1896. General Aguinaldoreferred to this flag in his proclamation ofOctober 31, 1896: "Filipino people!! The hour hasarrived to shed blood for the conquest of ourliberty. Assemble and follow the flag of theRevolution - it stands for Liberty, Equality andFraternity." Due to the popularity of GeneralAguinaldo, it was used by the revolutionary forcesuntil December 30, 1897 when it was hauled downfrom the flagstaff at Biak-na-Bato, signifying theend of warfare with Spain after the peaceagreement. This flag became the first officialbanner of the revolutionary forces and was blessedin a crowd celebrated at Imus.

revised flag
The Magdalo faction of theKatipunan, which also operated in Cavite underGen. Emilio Aguinaldo, used a flag alike to theMagdiwang faction's. It features a white sunwith a red baybayin letter ka.
This symbol has recently been revived by abreakaway group of army officers callingthemselves the Magdalo Group. These officersrebelled against the government of GloriaMacapagal-Arroyo at the command of SenatorGregorio Honasan.


The First Republic (1899 -1901)

gregorio del pilar flag
Personal Flagor Batallion Flag
Gregorio del Pilar'sTricolor Flag(1897). The firstFilipino tricolor. A flag almost alike to thepresent National Flag was used by GeneralGregorio del Pilar, "boy hero of the Battle ofTirad Pass” and “The Young Generalof the Katipunan.” The upper red stripestood for the Katipunan color; the lover blackwas motivated by General Llanera's flag; andthe blue triangle at the left indicatescomradeship with the revolutionary flag ofCuba, another colony of Spain which was also inrevolt and like the Philippines, it was in astate of revolution for independence fromSpain. The flag took its last stand against theAmericans in Tirad Pass, Ilocos Sur, defendingthe retreating armies of Aguinaldo.

sun of liberty flag
FirstOfficial Flag

"Sun ofLiberty Flag" (March 17, 1897). The firstofficial flag of the revolutionary government ofGeneral Emilio Aguinaldo. The first Filipinonational flag. A red flag with a white sun of eightrays, symbolizing the search for liberty. This wasadopted by the revolutionary leaders at theirassembly in Naic, Cavite on March 17, 1897. It wasa transformed version of the Aguinaldo-Magdaloflag, with a mythological sun at the center.
The last revolutionary flag represented thedesires for independence of the Filipino nation asa whole, rather than the Katipunan society alone,for the sun (nation) had replaced the KKK as thecenter of their sign. It was raised and wavedduring some of the bloodiest days of therevolution, but unfortunately, it did not lastlong. The flag served as the national flag and wasused for less than a year because the Filipinossigned a truce with Spanish authorities (Pact ofBiak-na-Bato) on December 14 to 15, 1897.
On December 27, 1897, the first phase of thePhilippine Revolution ended with the signing of thePact of Biak-na-Bato between the struggling Spanishcolonial government and the poorly armed andunsalaried volunteer army of Katipuneros. The truceushered in a period of false peace before anotherstorm was released in the land.
The leaders of the Katipunan decided to fightunder Aguinaldo’s banner. Aside from beingformally educated, Aguinaldo was winning hisbattles while Bonifacio was struck by a number oflosses. For this same reason, Aguinaldo’sflag was said to have become the basis for thedesign of the new flag of the revolutionarygovernment – the Sun of Liberty. This samerevolutionary government was responsible forordering the execution of Andres Bonifacio.Bonificio was charged with treason for provocativerebellion against the new government. The flag wasapproved on March 17, 1897 in Naic,Cavite.

sun and the stars flag

"The Sunand the Stars." The second phase of thePhilippine revolution (1898-1902) began the hopesfor creating the first Philippine republic. And oneof the first tasks of the founders who were exiledabroad is to produce the flag and a new anthem, thesymbols of a state.
The Philippine national flag was designed byEmilio Aguinaldo during his exile in Hong Kong. Theflag was sewn at 535 Morrison Hill, Hong Kong byMrs. Marcela Mariño Agoncillo - wife of thefirst Filipino diplomat, Felipe Agoncillo, becauseof her sewing skills with the help of her daughterLorenza and Mrs. Delfina Herbosa de Natividad,niece of Dr. Jose P. Rizal and wife of GeneralSalvador Natividad, they skillfully sewed what waslater to be known as "The Sun and the Stars."
The flag was completed within five days and handedover to Emilio Aguinaldo before he returned to thePhilippines. The flag was unfurled for the firsttime on the balcony of Emilio Aguinaldo's home inCavite on June 12, 1898 in proclamation ofindependence from Spain. This flag was used June12, 1898 - April 1, 1901 and had the same red andblue as found on the Cuban flag. The flag was flownwith the red stripe on top during thePhilippine-American war.
The flag's design spoke of the Filipinos' spritand their deep longing for the country. A whitetriangle on the flag stood for equality; the upperstripe of dark blue for peace, truth and justice,the lower stripe of red for patriotism and courage,the sunburst of eight rays representing the firsteight provinces that took up arms against Spain andthe three stars symbolizing Luzon, the Visayas andMindanao.

For the period ofthe US military government in the Philippines,there was an unwritten ban on the Philippine flagand use of the national colors. Once a civilgovernment was recognized, the unwritten ban wasrelaxed. However, due to the patriotic nature ofFilipinos and their use and display of their flagand the national colors, and several incidentsrelated to their patriotism, the Flag Law waspassed. The Flag Law or Act No.1696 (An act toprohibit the display of flags, banners, emblems, ordevices used in the Philippine islands for thepurpose of rebellion or insurrection against theauthorities of the United States and the display ofKatipunan flags, banners, emblems, or devices andfor other purposes) was passed on September 6,1907. The US flag was used as the official flag ofthe Philippines 1898-1946.

There werenumerous attempts to abolish the Flag Law andfinally on October 22, 1919, Act No. 2871 waspassed abolishing the Flag Law. On October 24, 1919Proclamation No. 19 was issued establishing October30, 1919, as a public holiday to be known as FlagDay. However, the Philippine flag now had theAmerican red and blue, rather than the Cuban redand blue. This flag was adopted as the officialflag of the Philippines on March 26, 1920, by ActNo. 2928.

philippine national flag

OnMarch 25, 1936, President Manuel Quezon issuedExecutive Order No. 23 which restricted theofficial description and specifications of thePhilippine flag. This flag was used when thePhilippines was granted independence in 1946and until 1981 and then again in 1986 until1998.
The Philippine flag was banned again in 1942when the Japanese attacked in World War II. TheJapanese flag was used until theJapanese-sponsored Second Republic of thePhilippines was established in 1943. The flagban was lifted and the Philippine flag from the1936 specifications became official onceagain.
The flag was flown in its wartime state by theCommonwealth de jure government 1941-1945 andby the Japanese-sponsored Second Republic defacto government 1944-1945. The Commonwealthwas at war against the axis forces while theSecond Republic was at war against theassociated forces.

philippine flag with skyblue
In 1981, President FerdinandMarcos ordered the colors of the Philippineflag be changed back to the original Cubancolors. Allegedly, the flag factories did nothave a Cuban blue so a sky blue was usedinstead. This color design was abolished andthe previous colors from 1936 were restored in1986, after President Marcos fled toHawaii.

the philippine flag

Due to much debate amongsthistorians at to which type of blue wascorrect, the blue was changed to royal blue asa agreement by Republic Act No. 8491 which waspassed on February 12, 1998. This is thecurrent version of the Philippine NationalFlag.


Explanation of theFlag

Each part of the Philippineflag has a specific meaning as follows:

The blue field stands for common unity andthe noble desires of the Filipino people.
The white triangle with equal sides of the flag is symbolic ofequality among men.
The white field stands for purity.
The sun stands for the gigantic strides that have been made bythe Sons of the land on the road to progress andcivilization.
The eight rays of the sun in the triangle represent the firsteight united provinces that revolted for independence -Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Manila, Nueva Ecija,Pampanga and Tarlac.
The three stars in the triangle stand for the three majorgeographical divisions of the country which are Luzon, Visayasand Mindanao.
The red field symbolizes the eagerness of the Filipino peopleto shed blood in defense for their country.

Colors of The Modern Flag

Cable No.80173800018010880068
Pantone equivalent286cn.a.193c122c
CMYK values
RGB values4-28-67255-255-255222-22-43255-48-40

The cable number corresponds to the definitive color defined in America, 10th edition, Color Association of the US. These are the current, 1998 specifications mandated by law.
Manuel L. Quezon III, 20 April 2002


• For household andoffice display, the flag must be displayed vertically, withthe triangle on top. The blue field should be to the right(left of observer) and the red field to the left (right ofthe observer).

• The flag should never be displayed horizontallyexcept in flagpoles or hung fastened by its fly. The flyportion should always be free to move.

• When flown from a flagpole, the flag should haveits blue stripe on top in times of peace, and the red ontop in times of war.

• When displayed in the middle of the street, asbetween buildings or posts, the flag should be balancedvertically with the blue stripe pointing to north oreast.

• When a number of flags are grouped and displayedfrom stationary staffs, the Philippine flag should be inthe center at the highest point, or at the right of theother flags. Also, it must always be in the peak, and notsmaller than the other flags of pennants ororganizations.

• When displayed with another flag from crossedstaffs, the Philippine flag should be on its right side,the left side of the observer. Its staff should be over thestaff of the other flag. Two Philippine flags should neverbe displayed crossed staff.

• When used on a speaker's platform without thestaff, it should hang vertically and placed above andbehind the speaker. It should never be used to cover thespeaker's desk, or be draped over the front of theplatform.

• When mounted on a platform, the flag should beplaced on the presiding officers' right and a bit in front,as they face the congregation. Other flags should be ontheir left. However, when it is displayed on a level withthe congregation, the flag is placed on the right of thecongregation.

• Torn, faded of worn-out flags should be replacedimmediately. They should be disposed off or destroyedprivately, if possible by burning.

• There are exclusion on the use of the flag. Theflag should not be used as part of, or as an entirecostume. It should not be displayed in cockpits, dancehalls, and centers of vice. It should not be used aspresentation material in unveiling ceremonies.

• Also, the flag should not be used as a curtain or acover, although decorations of blue, white and red can beused. The blue color in the bunting should be at the top,or at the point of honor, and must be equal in width to theother colors.

• The manufacture, sale, and purchase of all flagsfor government use and public displayed are regulated byPresidential directives. These processes require theearlier approval of the NHI.

• The flag must be protected with carefulconsideration of its technical design, color, materials,and craftsmanship. Flag suppliers are obliged to registerannually at the NHI, and are required to furnish thelaboratory test results for every color of textilematerials to be used in the flag'smanufacture.

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