7 facts you should know about the Philippine flag

Filipino soldiers raise a Philippine flag during ceremonies to mark the Independence Day at the Rizal National Monument in Manila, Philippines, 12 June 2012. The Philippines marks its 114th Independence Day on 12 June to remember the country's declaration of freedom from Spanish rule in 1898. EPA/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

Every Filipino knows the Philippine flag, but not everyone is familiar with its symbolisms and history. As we celebrate Flag Day, here are some facts that you might have not known about our national emblem:

1. The Philippine flag was heavily inspired by the U.S. flag
The similarity between the two flags is not mere coincidence. As a form of “profound gratitude,” the designers of the flag decided to honor the U.S. for its “disinterested protection” of the Philippines, thus the red, blue and white theme and the use of stars.

2. The three stars denote Luzon, Mindanao and Panay
The three stars signify Luzon, Panay and Mindanao and not Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The Proclamation of Independence in 1898 referred to these as “the archipelago’s three principal islands.” The stars, it added, commemorate the places where the Spanish revolution started.

3. The white triangle represents the Katipunan
As the Philippine’s most dominant and influential force during the Spanish revolution, the society sparked the masses into fighting for their rights and our country’s sovereignty. Furthermore, the triangle also refers to the “Eye of Providence” which was adopted by freemasonry and later inspired the Katipunan’s ideologies, traditions and rituals.

4. The sun combines two representations
The rays indicate the eight provinces – Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Laguna and Batangas – as the foremost regions that supported the revolt, but the sun also embodies the “gigantic steps made by the sons of the country along the path of progress and civilization.”

5. The shades of red and blue used by the flag were revised
In 1985, former President Ferdinand Marcos attempted to change the shades of these two colors, but his proposal was ultimately rejected after the EDSA revolution. However during the centennial year of the proclamation of independence in 1998, navy blue was replaced with royal blue.

6. The flag was once banned in the Philippines
In 1907, Act No. 1697 or the Flag Law of 1907 was passed and it prohibited the display of the Philippine flag which was then replaced by the stars and stripes of U.S. After 11 years and upon liberation from the U.S. this law was repealed and the Philippine flag was reinstated as the nation’s official standard.

7. The Philippine, Cuban and Puerto Rican flags are strikingly similar
If you put these three flags side by side, you would be able to notice the physical aspects that they share. Aside from these striking resemblances, these three countries were also former Spanish colonies in the 19th century.

Source: The Presidential Library and Museum website