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The Philippines has an existing law, Republic Act No. 8491 or the “Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines,” which prescribes the proper display and usage of the Philippine flag and the proper singing of the Philippine anthem.  As symbols of our nation, utmost reverence and respect shall at all times be accorded to them.


            This page would give the basic pointers on the proper display and treatment of the Philippine flag in the U.S., and the proper behavior required when singing the national anthem.




The Philippine Flag





During his exile in Hong Kong in 1897, General Emilio Aguinaldo designed the Philippine flag as it looks today. Mrs. Marcela de Agoncillo sewed it with the help of her daughter Lorenza and Mrs. Josefina Herbosa de Natividad (niece of Dr. Jose Rizal). It was made of silk with a white triangle at the left containing a sunburst of eight rays at the center, a five-pointed star at each angle of the triangle, an upper stripe of dark blue, and a lower stripe of red. The white triangle stands for equality and fraternity; the upper blue stripe for peace, truth and justice; and the lower red stripe for patriotism and valor. The sunburst of eight rays inside the triangle represented the first eight provinces that took up arms against Spain. The three stars symbolize the three major island groups of the Philippines:  Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

The flag which Mrs. Agoncillo made in Hongkong was taken to the Philippines by General Aguinaldo. It was hoisted officially at Kawit on June 12, 1898, in connection with the proclamation of Philippine independence. From that date, it has served as the National Flag of the Philippines.

Today, the official Philippine Flag is rectangular in form with an aspect ratio of 1:2, meaning the length of the flag is twice longer than its width. It has a horizontal band of two colours of equal size, having on top is the royal blue and red at the bottom. The left end (viewer’s left) of the flag has a white equilateral triangle (3-sides equal to the width of the flag) which inside has symbols of 3-stars at each corner and a sun having 8-rays is in the center of the triangle



How to display the flag in the US:


  • For household and office display, the flag must be displayed vertically, with the sun and stars on top. The blue field should be to the right (left of observer) and the red field to the left (right of the observer).

  • The flag should never be displayed horizontally except in flagpoles nor should it be hung fastened by its fly. The fly portion should always be free to move.

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

  • When the Philippine flag is flown with another flag, the flags, if both are national flags, must be flown on separate staffs of the same height and the flags shall be of equal size.

  • When displayed with the US flag, the Philippine flag shall be on the left of the American flag.

  • When displayed with the US flag from crossed staffs, the Philippine flag should be on its left side (the right side of the observer). Its staff should be under the staff of the US flag. Two Philippine flags should never be displayed crossed staff.

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

  • When mounted on a platform, the flag should be placed on the presiding officers' or speaker’s right and a bit in front, as they face the audience. If displayed with US flag, the Philippine flag will be placed on the presiding officers' or speaker's left, while the US flag is on the speaker's right.


Some prohibitions on the use of the flag:

  • As a drapery or tablecloth;

  • As a covering for statues or other objects;

  • For unveiling of monuments or statues;

  • To display under a painting of picture;

  • Horizontally, face up;

  • Below any platform;

  • To add any word, figure, mark or any imprint on the flag; and

  • To wear in whole or in part as a costume of uniform.


For complete information on the protocol of the flag, please visit the following link: http://www.gov.ph/1998/02/12/republic-act-no-8491/




The Philippine National Anthem


Lupang Hinirang

Bayang Magiliw

Perlas ng Silanganan

Alab ng puso

Sa Dibdib mo’y buhay.


Lupang Hinirang,

Duyan ka ng magiting,

Sa manlulupig

Di ka pasisiil


Sa dagat at bundok,

Sa simoy at sa langit mong bughaw,

May dilag ang tula

At awit sa paglayang minamahal.


Ang kislap ng watawat mo’y

Tagumpay na nagniningning;

Ang bituin at araw niya,

Kailan pa may di magdidilim


Lupa ng araw, ng luwalhati’t pagsinta,

Buhay ay langit sa piling mo;

Aming ligaya na pag may mang-aapi,

Ang mamatay nang dahil sa iyo.


The Philippine National Anthem was composed by Julian Felipe, a Filipino music teacher and composer of Cavite. It was first played by the band of San Francisco de Malabon during the unfurling of the Filipino flag at Kawit during the declaration of Philippine Independence on 12 June 1898.

For more than a year, the anthem remained without words. Towards the end of August of 1899, a young poet-soldier named Jose Palma wrote the poem titled Filipinas. This poem expressed in elegant Spanish verses the ardent patriotism and fighting spirit of the Filipino people. It became the words of the anthem, and today, the anthem is sung in Filipino, its official lyrics translated by Felipe de Leon, from the original Spanish lyrics in the early 1900s.

           The Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines mandates that National Anthem should always be sung in the national language and that the rendition of the National Anthem, whether played or sung, shall be in accordance with the musical arrangement and composition of Julian Felipe.   Please refer to the following link for the proper music and tempo of the National Anthem: http://nhcp.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lupang-hinirang-DepEd.mp3

           As a sign of respect, all persons shall stand at attention and face the Philippine flag, if there is one displayed, and if there is none, they shall face the band or the conductor. At the first note, all persons shall execute a salute by placing their right palms over their left chests. Those in military, scouting, citizen’s military training and security guard uniforms shall give the salute prescribed by their regulations. The salute shall be completed upon the last note of the anthem. There is never applause after its rendition.

           When national anthems from different countries are played, courtesy and long-standing accepted practice indicate that foreign national anthems are played before the host nation's anthem.  As such, the "Lupang Hinirang" will be played first followed by the "Star Spangled Banner."




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