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National Symbols of the Philippines Chart, Facts, & Worksheet

National Symbols of the Philippines Chart, Facts, & Worksheet

National symbols are vital elements of a country’s identity, representing its history, culture, and values. They serve as a source of pride and a reminder of the nation’s heritage.

In the Philippines, these symbols play a significant role in instilling patriotism and fostering a sense of belonging among its people. This article aims to provide elementary school teachers with insights into the official and unofficial national symbols of the Philippines, enabling them to teach these important concepts to young grade-school students.

Official National Symbols of the Philippines

national symbols of the philippines chart

1. National Flag (Pambansang Watawat)

  • Overview: The Philippine flag consists of a horizontal bicolor, with an upper blue half and a lower red half, featuring a sun and three stars.
  • Legal Basis: Republic Act No. 8491, or the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines1, governs the use, display, and handling of the national flag.
  • Interesting Facts:
    • The flag’s blue represents peace, truth, and justice, while the red symbolizes patriotism and valor.
    • The blue stripe is placed on top when the country is at peace. On the other hand, if the red stripe is on top, it means the country is at war2.
    • The sun on the flag has eight rays, representing the first eight provinces (i.e., Bulacan, Laguna, Tarlac, Cavite, Batangas, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, and Manila, which was a province then) that revolted against Spanish colonial rule.
    • The three stars signify the main geographical regions of the country: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

2. National Seal and Coat-of-Arms (Pambansang Selyo at Kuwadro Almasiga)

  • Overview: The national seal and coat-of-arms feature a shield bearing the elements of the Philippine flag. On its lower portion, two animals represent the country’s rich colonial past. The blue field shows the North American bald eagle, grasping an olive branch of peace in one talon and arrows of war in the other. Meanwhile, the red field shows the lion-rampant of the coat of arms of the Kingdom of León of Spain.
  • Legal Basis: Republic Act No. 8491 or the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines likewise specifies the code for the national coat-of-arms. The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) is responsible for the proper use and display of the national seal.

3. National Motto (Pambansang Motto)

  • Overview: The national motto, “Maka-Diyos, Maka-Tao, Makakalikasan, at Makabansa,” embodies the principles of love for God, people, nature, and country. This motto reflects the country’s commitment to a harmonious relationship with nature, a strong connection to its culture and traditions, and a dedication to the welfare of its citizens.
  • Legal Basis: The motto is enshrined in the national seal and coat-of-arms through Republic Act No. 8491.

4. National Anthem (Pambansang Awit)

  • Overview: “Lupang Hinirang” is the Philippine national anthem, expressing love for the homeland and its people. It is sung during flag-raising ceremonies and before any official or important event. As a sign of respect, you must stop whatever you’re doing, place your right hand on your left breast, and sing the anthem as you remember the heroes who sacrificed their lives for the country’s independence.
  • Legal Basis: Republic Act No. 8491 designates “Lupang Hinirang” as the national anthem and prescribes its proper rendition.
  • Interesting Facts:
    • The national anthem was first played by the Banda San Francisco de Malabon during the declaration of Philippine Independence on June 12, 18983. At that time, it was only music and it remained without words for more than a year.
    • The lyrics were written by Jose Palma and the music was composed by Julian Felipe.

5. National Bird (Pambansang Ibon)

  • Overview: The Philippine Eagle, also known as the monkey-eating eagle, is a critically endangered species and the country’s national bird.
  • Legal Basis: Presidential Proclamation No. 6154, issued in 1995, declared the Philippine Eagle as the national bird.
  • Interesting Facts:
    • The Philippine Eagle, with the scientific name Pithecophaga jefferyi, is one of the world’s largest and most powerful eagles, with a wingspan of up to 8 feet.
    • It is found only in the Philippines and is considered a symbol of the nation’s unique biodiversity.
    • Philippine eagles are monogamous, which means each pair will mate for life. The mating will only stop when one of the pair dies, in which case the surviving eagle will find another partner.

6. National Tree (Pambansang Puno)

  • Overview: The Narra tree (Pterocarpus indicus) is the national tree of the Philippines, known for its beautiful golden-yellow flowers.
  • Legal Basis: Declared the national tree in 1934 through Proclamation No. 6525 by Gov. Gen. Frank Murphy, the Narra tree is protected by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
  • Interesting Facts:
    • Narra wood is prized for its durability and is often used in making furniture and musical instruments.
    • The tree’s flowers are not only aesthetically pleasing but also symbolize the country’s natural beauty.
    • Due to the rampant cutting of trees, the narra tree is already considered an endangered species. As a result, nobody is allowed to cut down a Narra tree unless a special permit is secured from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

7. National Flower (Pambansang Bulaklak)

  • Overview: The Sampaguita (Jasminum sambac) is the Philippines’ national flower, known for its fragrant and pure white blossoms.
  • Legal Basis: Also declared as the national flower in 1934 via Proclamation No. 652 by Gov. Gen. Frank Murphy, the Sampaguita is protected by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
  • Interesting Facts:
    • The Sampaguita’s pure white petals symbolize simplicity, purity, and humility, virtues held in high regard by Filipinos.
    • It is often made into garlands and used in traditional Filipino ceremonies and offerings, reflecting the country’s rich cultural traditions.
    • A type of woody vine or shrub, the Sampaguita has sweet-smelling white flowers that open at night and wilt in less than a day.

8. National Gem (Pambansang Alahas)

  • Overview: The Philippine Pearl, particularly the South Sea Pearl, is the country’s national gem and is celebrated for its lustrous beauty.
  • Legal Basis: The Philippine Pearl was proclaimed the national gem by then President Fidel V. Ramos in 1996 through Proclamation No. 9056.
  • Interesting Facts:
    • South Sea Pearls are renowned for their quality and are harvested in the Philippines, making it a significant export product.
    • The pearl symbolizes the country’s connection to the sea and its rich marine resources.
    • In 1934, a Filipino diver in the Palawan Sea found a giant Tridacna (mollusk) bearing a giant pearl weighing 14 pounds and measuring 9 1/2 inches long and 1/2 inches in diameter. The pearl, estimated to be 600 years old, would later be named “Pearl of Allah.” It held the record for being the world’s largest pearl for several years.

9. National Sport and Martial Art (Pambansang Laro at Sining ng Pakikidigma)

  • Overview: Arnis, a traditional Filipino martial art, is the national sport and martial art of the Philippines. It’s also known as eskrima, garrote, kali, and other names in regional languages like pananandata (Tagalog), pagkalikali (Ibanag), kabaraon and kalirongan (Pangasinan), kaliradman (Bisaya), and didja in Ilokano.
  • Legal Basis: Republic Act 98507, signed by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, declared Arnis as the national sport and martial art in 2009.
  • Interesting Facts:
    • Arnis emphasizes the use of sticks, knives, and empty hands for self-defense and has a rich cultural heritage.
    • It promotes discipline, physical fitness, and self-confidence among practitioners.

10. National Language (Pambansang Wika)

  • Overview: Filipino, based on Tagalog, is the national language of the Philippines, reflecting the country’s linguistic diversity.
  • Legal Basis: The 1987 Constitution recognizes Filipino as the national language, with English as an official language.
  • Interesting Facts:
    • Filipino incorporates words from various regional languages, making it a dynamic and inclusive language.
    • The promotion of Filipino fosters national unity by connecting people from different parts of the archipelago.

Unofficial National Symbols of the Philippines

While official national symbols hold a special place in a country’s identity, there are also unofficial symbols that resonate deeply with the people of the Philippines. These unofficial symbols are not officially designated by government decrees or laws but are widely embraced by the population for their cultural significance, historical relevance, and representation of the Filipino spirit.

So, what makes these symbols unofficial, and why are they not officially recognized? Additionally, should teachers still teach these unofficial symbols to their students?

Unofficial Status: The unofficial national symbols of the Philippines have not been officially declared by law or government proclamation. They are symbols that have naturally evolved over time and have become ingrained in the culture, identity, and daily lives of Filipinos.

Why Unofficial: The unofficial status of these symbols can be attributed to various reasons, including the absence of specific legislation to designate them as official symbols, the organic development of cultural symbols, and the diverse and decentralized nature of Filipino culture, which has led to multiple local and regional symbols.

Teaching Unofficial Symbols: Educators should consider teaching unofficial national symbols to their students for several reasons. These symbols provide valuable insights into Filipino culture, traditions, and history, allowing students to better understand the multifaceted nature of their country’s identity.

By learning about these unofficial symbols, students can gain a deeper appreciation for the rich and diverse heritage of the Philippines. Additionally, these symbols can foster a sense of pride and connection to the nation, just like the official national symbols.

List of Unofficial National Symbols:

  1. National Dance (Sayaw ng Bayan): The Tinikling is a popular traditional Filipino dance that involves bamboo poles. It represents the country’s creativity and agility.
  2. National Food (Pambansang Pagkain): Adobo, a flavorful and savory dish made from meat (often chicken or pork) marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, and spices, is considered a quintessential Filipino dish.
  3. National Animal (Pambansang Hayop): The Carabao, a water buffalo, is a symbol of hard work, endurance, and rural life in the Philippines.
  4. National Fish (Pambansang Isda): Bangus, or milkfish, holds a special place in Filipino cuisine and represents the country’s rich marine resources.
  5. National House (Pambansang Bahay): The Bahay Kubo, a traditional nipa hut made from indigenous materials, represents simplicity, adaptability, and rural life.
  6. National Leaf (Pambansang Dahon): The Anahaw leaf, often used in Filipino traditional decorations, is a symbol of tropical beauty and resilience.
  7. National Fruit (Pambansang Prutas): The mango, particularly the Philippine Carabao Mango, is celebrated for its sweetness and is a source of national pride.
  8. National Costume (Pambansang Kasuotan): The Barong Tagalog (for men) and the Baro’t Saya (for women) are considered the national costumes of the Philippines. The Barong Tagalog is a formal shirt for men made from pineapple or abaca fibers, representing Filipino elegance and artistry. The Baro’t Saya or the Maria Clara dress, named after a character in a novel, is a traditional dress for women known for its grace and modesty.
  9. National Hero (Pambansang Bayani): Dr. Jose Rizal, often referred to as the national hero of the Philippines, played a pivotal role in the country’s struggle for independence from Spanish colonial rule. His writings and actions inspired the Filipino people to seek freedom and fight for their rights. Rizal’s dedication to education, social reform, and love for the Philippines make him an enduring symbol of Filipino patriotism and nationalism.

Incorporating these unofficial national symbols into the curriculum allows teachers to offer a more holistic view of the Philippines’ rich culture and heritage. By teaching both official and unofficial symbols, educators can help young students develop a deeper understanding of their country’s identity and instill in them a stronger sense of national pride and unity. These symbols serve as a bridge between generations, preserving the nation’s traditions and ensuring that its cultural legacy continues to be passed down to future Filipinos.


  1. Republic Act No. 8491 or the “Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines” (1998).
  2. National Symbols (no date) National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Official Website. Available at: https://ncca.gov.ph/childrens-corner/our-country/national-symbols/ (Accessed: 31 October 2023).
  3. In Focus: Official National Symbols of the Philippines (2009) National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Official Website. Available at: https://ncca.gov.ph/about-culture-and-arts/in-focus/official-national-symbols-of-the-philippines/ (Accessed: 31 October 2023).
  4. Proclamation No. 615 (1995).
  5. Proclamation No. 652 (1940).
  6. Proclamation No. 905 (1996).
  7. Republic Act No. 9850 (An Act Declaring Arnis as the National Martial Art and Sport of the Philippines) (2009).

Written by Luisito Batongbakal Jr.

in Social Studies, Worksheets

Last Updated

Luisito Batongbakal Jr.

Luisito E. Batongbakal Jr. is the founder, editor, and chief content strategist of FilipiKnow, a leading online portal for free educational, Filipino-centric content. His curiosity and passion for learning have helped millions of Filipinos around the world get access to free insightful and practical information at the touch of their fingertips. With him at the helm, FilipiKnow has won numerous awards including the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs 2013, the 2015 Globe Tatt Awards, and the 2015 Philippine Bloggys Awards.

Browse all articles written by Luisito Batongbakal Jr.

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