Philippine Independence Day 2020 | How Well Do you Know our National Symbols

Philippine Independence Day 2020 | How Well Do you Know our National Symbols

Maligayang Araw ng Kalayaan!

Today, we celebrate our independence as a nation. So let’s start the celebration right by looking back, appreciating, and understanding the things and people that symbolize our identity as a nation despite being influenced by other countries that have been part of our history.

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The National Symbols of the Philippines

When was the last time you’ve ever heard or read about the National Symbols of the Philippines? Maybe at least a few years ago.

This might be one of your favorite topics back in grade school or perhaps even in high school, so you may remember some of these but have already forgotten a few.

And while it might be an old topic, today – the 122nd Philippine Independence Day – would be one of the best days to recall some of these symbols to rekindle the spirit of patriotism and nationalism.

Official National Symbols of the Philippines

Here are the Official National Symbols of the Philippines based on the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), a number of Republic Acts and Proclamation.

1. National Flag

According to Republic Act No. 8491, the flag of the Philippines shall be blue, white, and red with an eight-rayed golden-yellow sun and three five-pointed stars, as consecrated and honored by the people.

We are very much aware of this since the Philippine Flag could be seen on the poles of almost every school and other buildings within our country.

However, did you know that a flag that’s worn out through wear and tear shall not be thrown away?

You’ve read that right. According to the same Republic Act which has approved our national flag, once worn out or torn, “It shall be solemnly burned to avoid misuse or desecration. The flag shall be replaced immediately when it begins to show signs of wear and tear.”

2. National Anthem

The National Anthem of the Philippines is entitled “Lupang Hinirang.” It has been approved as our National Anthem in the same Republic Act that has upheld the National Flag.

Its music was composed by Caviteño Julian Felipe while the words were written by Jose Palma, which was originally a poem entitled Filipinas.

We sing the Lupang Hinirang to signify our unity as a nation.

3. National Motto

Do you remember reciting the Panunumpa ng Katapatan sa Watawat ng Pilipinas when you were in elementary and high school? You may not know this but some of its words make up our National Motto, “MAKA-DIYOS, MAKA-TAO, MAKAKALIKASAN AT MAKABANSA.”

4. National Flower

Our National Flower symbolizes purity, simplicity, humility and strength.

Do you still remember it? That’s right. The National Flower of the Philippines is Sampaguita.

It has been declared by Governor-General Frank Murphy as our national flower in the year 1934, during the Commonwealth era, through Proclamation No. 652.

The white, sweet-smelling flowers of Sampaguita are often made into garlands. Its extract, on the other hand, is made into perfumes.

5. National Tree

According to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Narra is the National Tree of the Philippines.

Just like Samapaguita, Narra has been declared by Governor-General Frank Murphy as a national symbol in 1934, during the Commonwealth era, through the same proclamation.

And here’s a little something you might still haven’t hear about our National Tree.

Cutting down a Narra tree is no longer allowed. You’d need to secure a special permit to do so since our national tree is already considered an endangered specie.

6. National Bird

On July 4, 1995, President Fidel V. Ramos, through the Proclamation No. 615 s. 1995, has declared the Philippine Eagle, previously known as the “Monkey-eating Eagle,” as the National Bird of our country.

The Philippine Eagle is a natural treasure found only in the Philippines. Thus, it has become a source of national pride.

However, it is also considered an endangered specie. As such, it is under the protection of the Republic Act 9147, an Act Providing for the Conservation and Protection of Wildlife Resources and their Habitats, Appropriating Funds Thereof, and for Other Purposes.

7. National Gem


The National Gem of our country is no other than the Philippine Pearl.

On October 15, 1996, President Fidel Ramos, under Proclamation No. 905, s. 1996, has declared the Philippine Pearl, known as the South Sea Pearl, as the National Gem.

Part of the reason for the declaration is to further promote the cultural heritage of the country and support its national development efforts.

And speaking of pearls, the world’s largest pearl was discovered by a Filipino diver in a giant Tridacna (mollusk).

It was found under the Palawan Sea in the year 1934 and was valued at US$42 million as of May 1984.

8. National Sport

As declared by Republic Act No. 9850 which was approved by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on December 11, 2009, the National Martial Art and Sport of the Philippines is Arnis.

Arnis is also known as Eskrima, Kali, Garrote and other names in various regional languages. Pananandata in Tagalog; Pagkalikali, Ibanag; Kabaraon and Kalirongan, Pangasinan; Kaliradman, Bisaya; and Didja, Ilokano.

Based on the definition of the sport in the R.A. No. 9850, it is an indigenous Filipino martial art and sport characterized by the use of swinging and twirling movements, accompanied by striking, thrusting and parrying techniques for defense and offense.

The sport is usually performed with the use of one or two sticks or any similar implements or with bare hands and feet also used for striking, blocking, locking, and grappling.

9. National Language

What’s the National Language of the Philippines? Is it Tagalog? Or Pilipino? Or is it Filipino?

Some might be able to give the right answer the very moment they’ve read the question while some might still have second thoughts.

Now, here’s the answer based on the “Development of Filipino, The National Language of the Philippines” by Paz M. Belvez, published on National Commission for Culture and the Arts:

Under Executive Order No. 134 s. 1937,  it was stated that the National Language will be based on Tagalog.

Three years after the proclamation of Tagalog as the basis of the national language (officially called “Pilipino” since 1959) it was decided as one of the official languages of the Philippines.

However, during the 1973 Constitutional Convention, the National Language issue once again sparked heated discussion.

After hearing conflicting testimonies from language experts in the country, the committee on National Language (CNL) recommended to eliminate Pilipino and replace it with a new common national language to be known as Filipino.

Under the 1987 Constitution, Filipino was declared as the national language of the Philippines.

Article XIV Section 6 states that “the National language of the Philippines is Filipino. As it evolves, it shall be further developed and enriched on the basis of existing Philippine and other languages.

Unofficial National Symbols of the Philippines

You may have probably remembered more National Symbols such as the National Dance, National Animal, National Fish, and more, but according to the NCCA, those have no basis in the Philippine law.

Only those which have been mentioned above are the Official National Symbols of the Philippines.

For More Feature Stories Like This

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Again, Happy Independence Day fellow Filipinos!



National Commission for Culture and the Arts

National Commission for Culture and the Arts, August 28, 2009

National Commission for Culture and the Arts, October 03, 2014

National Commission for Culture and the Arts, National Bird

Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines

Official Gazette, Republic of the Philippines, Republic Act No. 8491

Official Gazette, Republic of the Philippines, Republic Act No. 9850

Official Gazette, Republic of the Philippines, Proclamation No. 905, s. 1996

Official Gazette, Republic of the Philippines, Proclamation No. 615, s. 1995

House of Representatives, House Bill No. 3926

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