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Flag of the Philippines

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Missing imageFIAV_63.pngImage:FIAV_63.png  Flag ratio: 1:2
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Flag ratio: 1:2

The national flag of the Philippines features an eight-rayed sun and three stars, all in gold, on a white equilateral triangle on the mast. The upper half of the remaining area is blue while the lower half is red. The proportion of the flag is 1:2.

The flag was first conceptualized by Emilio Aguinaldo. The first flag was sewn in Hong Kong by Marcela de Agoncillo, her daughter Lorenza, and Josefina Herbosa de Natividad, niece of José Rizal. (In other sources, the niece's name was Delfina Herbosa de Natividad.)

This is a depiction of the original flag of the Philippines as it was conceived by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. The blue was of a lighter shade than the currently mandated royal blue, the sun had many more rays although it still had eight points, and it has a mythical face.
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This is a depiction of the original flag of the Philippines as it was conceived by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. The blue was of a lighter shade than the currently mandated royal blue, the sun had many more rays although it still had eight points, and it has a mythical face.

According to the June 12, 1898 Proclamation of Philippine Independence, the white triangle is the distinctive emblem of the Katipunan which by means of its blood compact inspired the Philippine peoples to rise in revolution. The three stars represent the three geographical island groups of the country: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, although in the Declaration of Philippine Independence, one of the three stars originally represented the island of Panay, instead of the Visayas. Both representations convey the same idea: the unity of separate peoples and cultures into one Nation. The eight rays of the sun represent the first eight provinces, Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Laguna, and Batangas, which revolted against Spanish rule.

While many people today think of Manila as a city, the addition of Manila to this grouping is historically accurate as in 1898, Manila and its suburbs were administered as a separate and independent province. This province is today known as the National Capital Region.

The significance of the colors, red, white, and blue, are currently attributed as follows: the white triangle stands for equality and fraternity; the blue for peace, truth and justice; and red for patriotism and valor. However, the original Declaration of Independence stated that the three colors were inspired by the American flag as a manifestation of the Filipino's gratitude towards American help against the Spanish.

The Philippine flag was banned, or proscribed, by United States authorities for 11 years, until October 30, 1919.

On March 25, 1936, President Manuel L. Quezon issued Executive Order No. 23 which provided for the technical description and specifications of the Philippine Flag. Among the provisions of the Order was the definition of the triangle at the hoist as an equilateral triangle; the precise angles of the stars; the geometric and aesthetic design of the sun, and the formal elimination of the mythical face on the sun. The exact shades of colors, however, were not precisely defined. A formal and legal definition was adopted by the National Historical Institute in the 1950s, adopting the specifications for the colors of the American flag. The present 1:2 proportions of the flag also date to 1937.

This is the first official flag intended to represent the country. It was created by the Katipunan at Naic, Cavite in 1897.
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This is the first official flag intended to represent the country. It was created by the Katipunan at Naic, Cavite in 1897.

The particular shade of blue used in the flag has been the subject of controversy for almost ninety years. From 1920 until 1985, the shade was navy blue until President Ferdinand E. Marcos ordered it changed to a lighter shade of blue. Due to lobbying by some manufacturers, the flags actually manufactured had sky blue, although this was not precisely the shade contemplated under advice from historical circles. Historians suggested that the proper blue should be the same shade used in the flag of Cuba, which was seen as an ally against Spain, and the revolution of which had provided inspiration to Filipino revolutionaries (the Philippines belongs to the flag family that includes Cuba and Puerto Rico which all adopted flags of similar designs. Due to a lack of standardization and material during the Philippine-American War, supporters for both the navy blue shade and the sky blue shade have documentary evidence that both supports and contradicts each argument. See Flags of the Philippine Revolution.

While some revolutionary-era documents state that the original shade of blue used on the first flag was azul oscura, which roughly translates into English as misty blue, exactly what shade this refers to, will be a matter of debate for years to come. Historians now agree that azul oscura is of a deeper shade than sky blue, but lighter than navy blue. The June 12 Proclamation of Philippine Independence mentions the inclusion of a sketch, with colors, of the Philippine flag, which would be definitive, but the sketch has, to date, not surfaced.

In order to put the controversy to rest, the currently mandated shade is royal blue, according to Republic Act No. 8491. Unfortunately, this act has created controversy between historians and politicians over whether or not the government has the right to alter historical symbols and original meanings of those symbols for the sake of convenience.

The Philippine flag is unique in that it can indicate a state of war. When the flag is upside-down such that the red is on top (or the red is at the left when displayed vertically), it means that the Philippines is at war. This was first flown on February 4, 1899, at the start of the hostilities of the 1899-1913 Philippine-American War. It was last officially ordered flown with the red stripe up, in December, 1941, following the Japanese attack on the Philippines on December 8, 1941. It remained flown with the red stripe up by the government of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, both during the Japanese invasion and subsequently in front of the temporary capital of the Commonwealth government-in-exile, which was located in the Philippine Resident Commissioner's building in Washington, D.C. The Japanese-sponsored Second Republic of the Philippines flew the flag with the blue stripe up from its proclamation in 1943 until President Jose P. Laurel proclaimed the existence of a state of war with the Allied powers in 1944. There was also a brief attempt to restore the pre-1937 proportions but this wasn't successful.

Related Articles

National flags
List of national flags | List of national coats of arms
de:Flagge der Philippinen

he:דגל הפיליפינים it:Bandiera filippina tl:Watawat ng Pilipinas

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