Our Flag’s History

[Wikipedia, painting by Fernando Amorsolo]  The National Flag of the Philippines (Tagalog: Pambansang Watawat ng Pilipinas) is a horizontal flag bicolor with equal bands of royal blue and scarlet red, and with a white equilateral triangle at the hoist; the in the center of the triangle is a golden yellow sun with eight primary rays, which represent the country’s first group of provinces that started the 1896 Philippine Revolution against Spain; and at each vertex of the triangle is a five-pointed golden yellow star, each of which represent the country’s 3 main regions – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. This flag can indicate a state of war if it is displayed with the red side on top.


The flag’s length is twice its width, which translates into an aspect ratio of 1:2 but may be smaller up to 1:\sqrt 3.  The length of all the sides of the white triangle are equal to the width of the flag. Each star is oriented in such manner that one of its tips points towards the vertex at which it is located. Moreover the gap-angle between two neighboured of the 8 ray-bundles is as large as the angle of one ray-bundle, so 22.5 °, and its major ray is twice as “thick” then its two minor rays.  Remark: the golden sun is not exactly in the center of the triangle but shifted about 1/14 to the right.

Historical flags

It has been common since the 1960s to trace the development of the Philippine flag to the various war standards of the individual leaders of the Katipunan, a pseudo-masonic revolutionary movement that opposed Spanish rule in the Philippines and led the Philippine Revolution.However, while some symbols common to the Katipunan flags would be adopted into the iconography of the Revolution, it is inconclusive whether these war standards can be considered precursors to the present Philippine flag.

The flag’s colors are specified by Republic Act b y 8491 in terms of their cable number in the system developed by the Color Associaition fo the United States.  The official colors and their approximations in other color spaces are listed below:

The Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines specifies that he blue color shall bear Cable No. 80173; the white color, Cable No. 80001; the red color, Cable No. 80108; and the golden yellow, Cable No. 80068.  Introduced for the Philippine Centennial Celebrations.

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