National Symbol in the Philippines and Its Meaning

Today, we are embarking on an exciting journey to unravel the national symbol in the Philippines and its meaning. These symbols, deeply embedded in the Filipino psyche, stand as vivid representations of the country’s identity, values, and aspirations.

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In the Philippines, each national symbol carries a tale of its own, telling stories of resilience, unity, and unwavering spirit. They serve as a beacon, guiding the nation through the ebbs and flows of time, reminding Filipinos of their roots, and inspiring them to uphold the values these symbols signify.

Here is the list of the National Symbols in the Philippines and their meaning.

Please note that over time, the Philippine government may have added, removed, or changed some national symbols. There may also be other symbols that are widely accepted and recognized by the people, but not officially designated as such by the government.

1. National Flag: Philippines’ National Symbol and its Meaning

National Flag: Philippines' National Symbol and its Meaning

The Philippine national flag holds a lot of meaningful symbols. It’s rectangular with two equal-sized bands of blue and red, and a white triangle on the left side. Inside the triangle, there’s a golden-yellow sun with eight rays, each representing a Philippine province.

Around the sun, there are three five-pointed stars in gold, symbolizing the three main geographical regions of the Philippines: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Let’s break down these symbols:

  1. Blue Stripe: The blue stripe on top symbolizes peace, truth, and justice.
  2. Red Stripe: The red stripe at the bottom stands for patriotism and valor. An interesting fact: the flag can be reversed in times of war, with the red stripe on top.
  3. White Triangle: The white triangle on the left represents equality and the Katipunan, a revolutionary group that fought for the country’s independence from Spain.
  4. Golden-Yellow Sun: The sun at the center of the flag represents freedom. It has eight rays, each standing for a province that first rose against Spanish rule. These provinces are Manila, Cavite, Batangas, Bulacan, Laguna, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Nueva Ecija.
  5. Three Stars: The three stars around the sun symbolize the three main geographical regions of the Philippines: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

So, each time you see the Philippine flag, remember that it tells a story of the nation’s struggle for independence, its unity, and its enduring spirit of freedom. It’s not just a piece of fabric; it’s a symbol of the country’s history, identity, and pride.

2. National Anthem: Philippines’ National Symbol and its Meaning

“Lupang Hinirang” is more than just a song sung during special events or school flag ceremonies. It’s a symbol of the Philippines that embodies the country’s history, culture, and aspirations for freedom.

The anthem starts with the phrase “Bayang Magiliw” (Beloved Country). This phrase shows the deep love and affection that Filipinos have for their country. It’s a symbol of their patriotism and their readiness to protect their homeland.

The next line, “Perlas ng Silanganan” (Pearl of the Orient), signifies the Philippines as a precious gem in the East, highlighting its natural beauty and richness. It’s a symbol of the country’s unique geographical location and the wealth of its natural resources.

“Alab ng puso, sa Dibdib mo’y buhay” (The fire in the heart, in your chest is alive). This line shows the fiery spirit of the Filipinos, their courage, and their relentless drive to fight for their freedom and sovereignty.

“Lupang Hinirang, Duyan ka ng magiting” (Chosen land, you are the cradle of the brave). This line symbolizes the bravery and courage of Filipinos who fought against colonizers to protect their homeland. It’s a symbol of the country’s history of heroism and resistance.

“Sa manlulupig, Di ka pasisiil” (To the oppressors, you will never submit). This line expresses the Filipinos’ unyielding spirit in the face of oppression and tyranny. It’s a symbol of their resilience and their commitment to uphold their freedom and sovereignty.

Lyrics of 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 ma’y di magdidilim.

Lupa ng araw, ng luwalhati’t pagsinta,
Buhay ay langit sa piling mo;
Aming ligaya, na pag may mang-aapi,
Ang mamatay ng dahil sa iyo.

In summary, the Philippine National Anthem, “Lupang Hinirang”, is a national symbol that encapsulates the love, bravery, resilience, and spirit of the Filipino people. It’s a testament to their history, their struggles, and their unwavering hope for a free and prosperous nation.

3. National Seal: Philippines’ National Symbol and its Meaning

National Seal: Philippines' National Symbol and its Meaning
By Roel Balingit, J-Ronn

The National Seal of the Philippines shows a lot about the country’s history, culture, and national symbols. It’s like a beautiful picture that tells a story about the Philippines.

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Let’s break down the different parts of the seal:

  1. The Sun: The sun in the middle of the seal has eight rays. Each ray represents one of the eight provinces that first revolted against Spanish rule. These provinces are Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Laguna, and Batangas. The sun represents the country’s journey to freedom.
  2. The Stars: There are three stars on the seal. These stars stand for the three main geographical regions of the Philippines: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. These regions are the backbone of the country.
  3. The Eagle: The eagle above the stars and the sun is the American bald eagle. This symbolizes the time when the Philippines was under American rule. It shows a part of the country’s history.
  4. The Lion: Opposite the eagle, you can see a lion. This lion represents Spain because the Philippines was a Spanish colony for over 300 years. Like the eagle, the lion shows a part of the country’s past.
  5. The Shield: The shield in the center of the seal holds the sun and the stars. It represents defense and protection, showing that the Philippines will stand strong against any challenges.
  6. The Banner: The banner reads “Republic of the Philippines.” This banner proudly declares the country’s status as a free and independent nation.
  7. The Chains: Around the shield, there are chains. These chains symbolize the country’s noble history and the bravery of its people.

So, the Philippine National Seal is more than just a symbol. It’s a story about the country’s history, its struggles, and its victories. Every part of it speaks a part of the Philippine story. It is a symbol of national pride that reminds Filipinos of their rich heritage and their strong, unified nation.

4. National Flower: Philippines’ National Symbol and its Meaning

This is one of the key national symbols in the Philippines, and it carries a lot of meaning.

The Sampaguita is a small, white flower. It belongs to the jasmine family. It’s not just pretty, it also has a sweet, fresh scent. People in the Philippines grow this flower all over the country. You can see it in gardens, parks, and even on the sides of the road.

But why did the Philippines choose the Sampaguita as their national flower? It’s because this flower stands for purity, simplicity, and humility. These are values that the Philippine people hold dear. The Sampaguita doesn’t need a lot of care to grow. It can thrive even in poor soil conditions. This resilience of the Sampaguita reflects the strength and endurance of the Filipino people.

The Sampaguita also plays a big role in Filipino culture. You can see it in many festivals and religious events. Filipino people make garlands from these flowers. They offer these garlands to saints, use them to welcome guests or sell them in the streets to earn a living. The Sampaguita, in this way, supports the livelihood of many Filipino families.

5. National Bird: Philippines’ National Symbol and its Meaning

Wild rare Monkey Eating Eagle with brown and white colored plumage and shaggy crest sitting on fallen twig in tropical forest. National Bird: Philippines' National Symbol and its Meaning

The Philippine Eagle, also known as the Monkey-eating Eagle, is the national bird of the Philippines. It’s a very large bird, with a wingspan that can reach up to two meters. This eagle is known not just for its size, but also for its majestic beauty. It has brown and white-colored feathers, a shaggy crest, and a large, curved beak.

But why is it the national bird, and what significance does it have to the Philippines? The choice of the Philippine Eagle as a national symbol represents several key aspects of Filipino identity and values.

Firstly, the Philippine Eagle is unique to the Philippines. You won’t find it naturally living in any other country. This makes it a fitting symbol of the nation’s independence and uniqueness.

Secondly, it’s a powerful and noble creature. These qualities symbolize the strength and courage of the Filipino people.

Thirdly, the Philippine Eagle is known to mate with only one partner for its entire life. This represents loyalty, a deeply held value in Filipino culture, not just in relationships, but also in duties and responsibilities.

Sadly, the Philippine Eagle is critically endangered due to loss of habitat and hunting. This gives the bird an additional symbolic role: a reminder of the importance of protecting and conserving the country’s natural resources. The fight to save the Philippine Eagle from extinction is also a fight to preserve the rich biodiversity of the Philippines.

So, when you see the Philippine Eagle, it’s not just a bird. It’s a symbol of the unique spirit, strength, loyalty, and environmental commitment of the Filipino nation.

6. National Tree: Philippines’ National Symbol and its Meaning

The national tree of the Philippines is the Narra tree, known scientifically as Pterocarpus indicus. The Narra tree is a symbol of strength and durability, which is fitting since it’s a large, robust tree that can grow up to 40 meters tall.

This tree is treasured for its hard, red-tinted wood that is commonly used in making furniture and construction materials. The Narra tree’s wood is also resistant to termites, which adds to its value and significance.

The Narra tree was declared the national tree of the Philippines on February 26, 1934, by Governor-General Frank Murphy during the American colonial period. This act was done to promote a sense of national pride and identity among Filipinos.

The Narra tree’s flowers are small and yellow, bursting into bloom around April. These flowers are a beautiful sight, symbolizing the Filipinos’ resilience and ability to bloom amidst challenges.

The tree also symbolizes the Filipinos’ warmth and openness as it provides shade and shelter to anyone under its wide, spreading branches. It is a common sight in parks, along roadsides, and in other public areas, making it a familiar part of everyday life in the Philippines.

Choosing the Narra tree as the national tree is more than just an act of recognizing a native species. It stands as a symbol of the strength, resilience, and warmth of the Filipino people. It’s a reminder that just like this tree, the Philippines and its people are full of life, able to withstand trials and continue to grow stronger every day.

7. National Fruit: Philippines’ National Symbol and its Meaning

The Carabao mango is a national symbol in the Philippines. But why is it a national symbol, you might ask?

Well, symbols are used to represent something else. In the case of the Philippines, the mango is a symbol of the country’s natural richness and bounty. The Philippines is a tropical country, blessed with a climate that allows a variety of fruits and plants to grow. The mango, being one of the most well-known and loved fruits, represents this abundance.

Moreover, the Carabao mango is also a symbol of Philippine resilience and hard work. You see, growing mangoes isn’t always easy. It requires patience and care. Farmers need to wait for about three to five years before a mango tree starts bearing fruit. This waiting period could be seen as a symbol of the Filipino people’s resilience and patience.

In addition, the process of taking care of the mango trees, from planting them to harvesting the fruits, represents the hard work and dedication that Filipinos put into their crafts. This is not just in farming, but in all the work they do.

8. National Fish: Philippines’ National Symbol and its Meaning

The national symbol of the Philippines is the bangus or milkfish. It’s a type of fish that’s commonly found in the country’s coastal waters. The Philippine government declared the bangus as the national fish in 1995 to recognize its importance in the country’s culture and economy.

Milkfish is a popular food fish in the Philippines, and it’s often cooked in a variety of ways, such as grilled, fried, or stewed. It’s also an important export product that contributes to the country’s economy.

Aside from its economic importance, the bangus also holds cultural significance for Filipinos. It’s often used in traditional feasts and celebrations, and it’s also considered a symbol of resilience because of its ability to thrive in different environments and adapt to changing conditions.

9. National Gem: Philippines’ National Symbol and its Meaning

The national gem of the Philippines is the Philippine Pearl, also known as the “Pearl of the Orient.” The Philippine Pearl is a valuable gemstone that is found in the waters surrounding the Philippines, particularly in the Sulu Sea and the Palawan area.

The Philippine Pearl has been a significant symbol of Philippine culture and heritage for many years. It represents the beauty, resilience, and strength of the Filipino people. The pearl is also a symbol of purity, wisdom, and wealth.

In 1996, the Philippine government declared the Philippine Pearl as the national gemstone of the country. Since then, it has been used to represent the Philippines in various national and international events, including the Miss Universe pageant.

The Philippine Pearl is highly valued around the world for its unique color and luster. It is also considered one of the most environmentally sustainable gems, as it is a product of natural resources that are not harmful to the environment.

10. National Animal: Philippines’ National Symbol and its Meaning

Photo of Woman Standing Near Carabao.

The national animal of the Philippines is the Philippine Carabao. It’s a type of water buffalo, native to the country, and it’s a major symbol of the Philippines.

When you see the Philippine Carabao, you see a strong, hardworking creature that’s deeply connected to the country. Much like the people of the Philippines, the Carabao is resilient, tough, and enduring. These animals are often seen working in the fields, helping farmers cultivate crops. This image symbolizes the strong agricultural roots of the country and the hard work that goes into every grain of rice and every piece of fruit.

The Philippine Carabao is not just a symbol of hard work; it represents the will of the Filipino people to thrive and succeed, no matter the challenges they face. In many ways, it’s an icon of the spirit of the Philippines.

The Carabao’s strength and endurance are a reminder of the nation’s resilience in the face of adversity. Through typhoons, earthquakes, and other natural disasters, the people of the Philippines continue to work hard and persevere, just like the Carabao.

The choice of the Carabao as the national animal shows the importance of the agriculture sector to the Philippines. It also underscores the value of hard work and resilience to the Filipino people. It’s a symbol that connects the past and the present, reminding Filipinos of their heritage and their continuing journey as a nation.

11. National Dance: Philippines’ National Symbol and its Meaning

The national dance of the Philippines is called the Tinikling. It’s a traditional dance that originated in the province of Leyte, but it’s now performed all over the country and even around the world.

The Tinikling involves two people who dance in between bamboo poles that are being struck together. The dancers have to jump over and in between the poles while the music plays, and the goal is to not get their feet caught in the bamboo poles.

The Tinikling is considered a national symbol of the Philippines because it represents the country’s history and culture. The dance is said to have originated during the Spanish colonial period when the Spanish colonizers forced the Filipino people to work in the fields. The Filipinos would use bamboo poles to trap birds that would eat the rice crops, and they would dance in between the poles to avoid getting caught themselves.

The Tinikling also represents the resilience and creativity of the Filipino people. Despite the difficult circumstances they faced, they were able to turn a tool of oppression into a beautiful art form that is now celebrated around the world.

In modern times, the Tinikling is often performed at cultural events and celebrations, and it’s a source of pride for many Filipinos. It serves as a reminder of their heritage and the strength of their culture, and it’s a symbol of the country’s rich history and traditions.

12. National Costume: Philippines’ National Symbol and its Meaning

In the Philippines, national costumes are considered a symbol of the country’s rich history and cultural diversity. They are more than just clothes; they represent the Filipino identity and spirit.

Let’s start with the women’s national costume, which is known as the “Baro’t Saya”. The term “Baro’t Saya” translates to “blouse and skirt” in English. The “Baro” is an embroidered blouse, usually made from pineapple fiber or silk, which showcases the intricate and delicate artistry of Filipino weavers. The “Saya” is a colorful, long skirt that is often decorated with native designs. Wearing the Baro’t Saya shows respect for Filipino traditions and the country’s craftsmanship.

For Filipino men, the national costume is the “Barong Tagalog”. The term “Barong Tagalog” means “dress of the Tagalog” in English. It is a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt, traditionally made from pineapple fiber or banana silk. The Barong Tagalog often includes beautiful embroidery, showcasing the Filipino’s excellent craftsmanship. It’s worn over a plain shirt and paired with trousers. The Barong Tagalog stands as a symbol of Filipino dignity and honor.

These national costumes are not just clothes; they are a vital part of the Filipino identity. They carry centuries of traditions, histories, and stories of the Filipino people. They represent the unity, creativity, and resilience of the Philippines. Each stitch and pattern tells a story of the country’s journey and its people’s unwavering spirit.

13. National Language: Philippines’ National Symbol and its Meaning

The national language of the Philippines is Filipino. It’s a beautiful language, shaped by a rich history and a mix of cultural influences. Filipino, primarily based on Tagalog (a regional language), is a unique blend of words and phrases from several different languages. These include Spanish, English, Malay, and various indigenous Philippine languages. This mix reflects the diverse history of the Philippines, from its local roots to its interactions with other nations.

14. National Hero: Philippines’ National Symbol and its Meaning

The Portrait of Rizal, painted in oil by Juan Luna. National Hero: Philippines' National Symbol and its Meaning
By Painting from Lineage, Life and Labors of José Rizal, Philippine Patriot, by Austin Craig (1909). Information page at Project Gutenberg, Public Domain

Jose Rizal is the national hero of the Philippines. He was a man of many talents: he was a writer, a poet, a doctor, and an intellectual. But perhaps more importantly, he was a visionary who had a great love for his country. Rizal wrote two novels, “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo,” which exposed the injustices of the Spanish colonizers. His works sparked the revolution that eventually led to the country’s independence. Rizal symbolizes the desire for freedom and the fight against oppression.

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15. National Motto: Philippines’ National Symbol and its Meaning

The national motto of the Philippines is “Maka-Diyos, Maka-Tao, Makakalikasan, at Makabansa.” This means “For God, People, Nature, and Country” in English. As a national symbol, it holds a deep meaning and represents important values for the Filipino people.

Let’s break it down further:

  1. “Maka-Diyos” means “For God”. This reflects the Filipinos’ deep faith and strong belief in God. Religion plays a big part in their daily lives, guiding their actions and decisions.
  2. “Maka-Tao” means “For People”. This shows the Filipinos’ love for their fellowmen. They show respect for human rights and always strive for social justice. They believe in treating others with kindness, generosity, and compassion.
  3. “Makakalikasan” means “For Nature”. This represents the Filipinos’ respect for nature and the environment. They believe in taking care of the earth, preserving its beauty, and using its resources responsibly.
  4. “Makabansa” means “For Country”. This symbolizes the Filipinos’ deep love for their nation. They are proud of their heritage and are willing to sacrifice for the welfare of their country.

Each of these principles stands as a pillar that supports the Filipino identity. Together, they form a powerful motto that embodies the heart and soul of the Filipino people. This motto serves as a constant reminder of who they are and what they stand for. It encourages them to live with faith, compassion, respect for nature, and love for their country.

16. National Sport: Philippines’ National Symbol and its Meaning

The national symbol that represents the Philippines in the world of sports is none other than Arnis — a traditional Filipino martial art. It’s an integral part of the country’s rich history and culture, and it holds a unique and meaningful significance for the Filipino people.

Arnis, also known as Kali or Eskrima, is a weapon-based fighting style that mainly uses sticks, blades, and improvised weapons. The word “Arnis” comes from “arnés,” an old Spanish term that means armor. This hints at the sport’s origins as a method of combat and self-defense during the country’s historical struggles.

But why is Arnis the national sport of the Philippines? The answer lies in its deep-rooted connection to the Filipino spirit of resilience and creativity. Throughout the years, the Filipinos adapted and honed Arnis in response to various challenges. Whether in the heat of battle or in the spirit of friendly competition, Arnis showcases the Filipino’s courage, adaptability, and resourcefulness.

The practice of Arnis enhances physical agility, mental alertness, and cultural awareness, embodying not just the physical toughness but also the intellectual depth of the Filipino people. It’s not just about wielding a stick or a sword; it’s about understanding and appreciating the rich history and culture that the sport carries.

As a national symbol, Arnis represents the Filipino’s journey through history – the struggles, the victories, and the enduring spirit. It’s a testament to the Filipino’s strength and resilience against adversity, and it’s a showcase of the country’s unique and vibrant culture. As such, Arnis is not just a sport; it’s a way of life that continues to inspire and unite the people of the Philippines.

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17. National Folk Song: Philippines’ National Symbol and its Meaning

The Philippine national folk song is called “Bahay Kubo” (Nipa Hut). This song, beloved by Filipinos, is a celebration of simple, rural living and appreciation for the bounty of nature. It’s a key symbol of the Philippine culture, embodying the country’s history, values, and traditions.

“Bahay Kubo” is a simple song that talks about a humble nipa hut, a traditional type of house seen in the Philippines, surrounded by different kinds of vegetables. These vegetables mentioned in the song, such as eggplants, winged beans, and bitter gourds, are staples in the Filipino diet and are commonly grown in their backyards.

Despite its simplicity, the song is rich in meaning. The nipa hut, even though it’s small and made of simple, natural materials, is overflowing with various kinds of vegetables. This serves as a metaphor for Filipino family life. Even if a family is not wealthy in terms of money, they are rich in love, respect, and bonds that tie them together.

The song also captures the Filipino values of gratitude and contentment. It emphasizes how one can find joy and satisfaction in simple things, like a humble home and a garden full of vegetables.

Additionally, “Bahay Kubo” is often taught to young children as an introduction to the Filipino language and culture. Through this song, they learn about traditional Filipino living, local vegetables, and the Philippine language. It’s a fun and engaging way to pass on important aspects of Filipino heritage to the younger generation.

Lyrics of Bahay Kubo

Bahay kubo, kahit munti
Ang halaman doon ay sari-sari
Singkamas at talong,
Sigarilyas at mani
Sitaw, bataw, patani.

Kundol, patola, upo’t kalabasa
At saka meron pa
Labanos, mustasa,
Sibuyas, kamatis,
Bawang at luya
Sa paligid-ligid ay puno ng linga.

18. National Musical Instrument: Philippines’ National Symbol and its Meaning

The national symbol of music in the Philippines is the kudyapi. This instrument is a type of boat lute, a family of stringed instruments that includes the guitar and violin. The kudyapi is usually made from wood and has two strings, which are played by plucking.

The design of the kudyapi is unique. It has a long neck and a body shaped like a boat. One end of the neck features a carved figure, usually that of a man or a dragon, which adds to its distinctive look.

The sound of the kudyapi is sweet and soothing, often described as “singing”. It is traditionally played solo, but can also be used in ensemble music.

The kudyapi is not just an instrument. It is a symbol of the rich and diverse culture of the Philippines. Each region in the Philippines has its own version of the instrument, reflecting the unique musical traditions of that area.

In essence, the kudyapi is a representation of the Filipino spirit – resilient, diverse, and harmonious. Through its music, it tells the world about the beauty and richness of the Filipino culture. Just like the Philippine eagle soars high in the sky, the kudyapi’s music echoes across the islands, a proud symbol of the nation’s identity.

19. National Monument: Philippines’ National Symbol and its Meaning

The Philippine National Monument, also known as the “Rizal Monument,” is a key national symbol in the Philippines. It’s a tribute to Dr. Jose Rizal, a national hero who played a vital role in the country’s fight for independence from Spain in the late 19th century.

The monument is located in Rizal Park, Manila. If you ever visit, you’ll see a statue of Rizal dressed in an overcoat, holding a book. This statue stands on top of a stone base. Two other figures, a woman holding a torch and a man breaking chains, are also part of the monument.

The statue of Rizal is a symbol of his intelligence and bravery. The book in his hand represents his writings. His two novels, “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo,” unveiled the abuses of Spanish authorities and sparked the revolution that eventually led to the country’s independence.

The woman with the torch signifies guidance. The light from her torch represents the path to freedom and the enlightenment that Rizal brought to his people through his writings.

The man breaking chains is a symbol of the Filipino people breaking free from the chains of Spanish rule. This figure represents the fight for freedom and the victory achieved by the Filipinos.

Together, these figures tell a story of struggle, courage, and ultimate triumph. They remind Filipinos of their rich history, the sacrifices made for their freedom, and the significant role Rizal played in that journey.

20. National Historical Site: Philippines’ National Symbol and its Meaning

Rizal Park, also known as Luneta Park. This park is a national symbol, carrying deep meaning for the people of the Philippines.

Rizal Park is a large open space in the heart of Manila, the capital city. The park is named after Dr. Jose Rizal, a national hero who fought for the country’s freedom during Spanish rule. The park, spread over 60 hectares, is more than just a green space; it’s a symbol of Filipino freedom and pride.

At the center of Rizal Park, you’ll find the Rizal Monument. This memorial marks the spot where Jose Rizal was executed in 1896. The monument is a tall, regal figure of Rizal, with an obelisk towering behind him. The statue of Rizal symbolizes the freedom and courage he stood for, while the obelisk represents the rise of the Filipino nation.

There’s a tradition that all Filipino leaders follow. When they take office, they lay a wreath at the Rizal Monument. This act shows respect for the sacrifices of the past and a commitment to uphold the values Rizal fought for.

Rizal Park also houses the Philippine National Museum of Anthropology, which displays the rich cultural heritage of the country. Here, you can see artifacts and learn about the diverse history and traditions of the Philippines. This museum serves as a symbol of the enduring spirit and rich culture of the Filipino people.

21. National Personification: Philippines’ National Symbol and its Meaning

The national personification of the Philippines is often represented through the character of Juan dela Cruz. You might ask, who is Juan dela Cruz? Well, Juan dela Cruz is a figure who symbolizes the Filipino people. Just like Uncle Sam in the United States, Juan dela Cruz represents the average Filipino.

Juan dela Cruz is a simple man wearing a traditional Filipino dress. He sports a barong tagalog, which is a lightweight, embroidered shirt, and he pairs it with a salakot on his head. A salakot is a traditional Filipino hat made of rattan or bamboo. This outfit shows the authenticity of Filipino culture and heritage.

The name “Juan” is a common name in the Philippines, while “dela Cruz” means “of the Cross” in Spanish, reflecting the country’s deep Catholic roots. Juan dela Cruz is an embodiment of the typical Filipino – hardworking, resilient, and deeply religious.

Now, you might wonder, what does Juan dela Cruz mean to the Filipino people? Juan dela Cruz represents the shared identity and unity of the Filipino people. He symbolizes the collective spirit, experiences, and aspirations of Filipinos.

In essence, Juan dela Cruz is not just a symbol, but a mirror of Filipino society. He reflects on the struggles and victories, the joys and sorrows, and the dreams and realities of every Filipino. He is a reminder of the strength and resilience that the Filipino people hold, their deep faith, and the rich culture and tradition that they proudly carry.

22. National River: Philippines’ National Symbol and its Meaning

The Philippine government declared the Agusan River as a national symbol because of its significance and contribution to the country’s culture, history, and ecology.

The Agusan River flows through the island of Mindanao, one of the main islands in the Philippines. This river is the third longest in the country, stretching for about 349 kilometers. That’s about the distance between New York City and Washington D.C.!

Now, why is the Agusan River a national symbol? First, it plays a big role in supporting the lives of the people in the region. Many communities live near its banks. They fish in the river for food and use it for transportation. The river is like a lifeline to them. It brings life and prosperity.

Second, the Agusan River is part of the country’s rich history and culture. Long ago, people would travel along the river to trade goods with other communities. It became a bridge that connected different cultures and traditions. Even today, the river continues to be a place of cultural exchange and interaction.

Finally, the Agusan River is a vital part of the Philippines’ diverse ecosystem. It is home to various species of fish and other aquatic creatures. The river also supports wetlands and marshes that serve as habitats for unique flora and fauna. By preserving the river, we also protect these important ecosystems.

23. National Mountain Range

The Philippine National Mountain Range is often referred to as the Cordillera Central. It’s a massive chain of mountains that stretches across the northern part of Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines. This mountain range is a significant national symbol due to its breathtaking beauty and cultural importance.

A national symbol is something that represents a country and its people. The Cordillera Central, as a national symbol, speaks volumes about the Philippines and its people. On a basic level, it represents the country’s rugged and diverse natural landscape. The Cordillera Central has a mix of high peaks, deep valleys, and expansive forests. Each feature contributes to the rich biodiversity of the country.

But the mountains are far more than just a picture of natural beauty. They also symbolize the strength and resilience of the Filipino people. Much like the mountains that withstand storms and earthquakes, Filipinos are known for their ability to face challenges with courage and determination.

Moreover, the Cordillera Central is home to many indigenous communities. These communities have preserved their unique culture and traditions for centuries, despite various challenges. This range, therefore, symbolizes cultural preservation and diversity. It highlights the country’s commitment to celebrating and protecting its cultural heritage.

24. National Park

The Philippines’ most well-known national park is the Mount Apo Natural Park. It’s located on the island of Mindanao. It’s easy to find on a map because it sits right in the southern part of the country.

Mount Apo is not just any regular park. It’s special. It’s the highest peak in the entire Philippines, reaching an impressive height of 2,954 meters. This makes it a symbol of greatness and resilience, reflecting the spirit of the Filipino people.

But the park is not only about the mountain. It’s home to over 270 bird species and many unique plants. It’s a place where nature thrives. This represents the Philippines’ rich biodiversity, a symbol of life and abundance.

The park also holds a spiritual meaning for the indigenous people living around the area. To the Bagobo Group, Mount Apo is a place of worship. They see it as a symbol of their ancestral heritage and cultural identity. It’s a part of who they are as a people.

Visiting Mount Apo Natural Park is like stepping into a living symbol of the Philippines. It embodies the country’s natural beauty, cultural richness, and the strength of its people. It’s a symbol of national pride and a reminder of the nation’s responsibility to protect and preserve its natural resources.

25. National Aquatic Marine Mammal

The country has chosen the Dugong, or “Dugong dugon” in scientific terms, as its national aquatic animal. Dugongs are sensitive and gentle sea creatures, often called “sea cows” because they eat seagrass, just like cows eat grass on land.

Why is the Dugong a national symbol in the Philippines, you might ask? The answer is quite interesting. Dugongs are unique in that they are the only marine mammals in the Philippines that are strictly vegetarians. They help to keep the seagrass beds healthy and balanced, which is crucial for the marine environment.

Just as the Dugong is vital for the marine ecosystem, every Filipino plays an important role in the nation. The Dugong stands for unity, cooperation, and the indispensable contributions of every individual to society’s overall health and prosperity. This is the deeper meaning of the Dugong as a national symbol in the Philippines.

Moreover, the Dugong mirrors the Filipino people’s resilience. Despite being hunted for their meat and oil, these creatures continue to survive, much like how Filipinos have endured various challenges throughout history.

But, the Dugong is now a vulnerable species, and its choice as a national symbol is also a reminder for Filipinos to value and protect their natural resources. It’s a call to action to conserve the country’s rich biodiversity and to live in harmony with nature.

Just as the Dugong nurtures the seagrass beds and the marine life that depends on it, so too must the Filipinos take care of their nation and all the people who call it home.

26. National Shell

This is a continuation of no. 9. The national shell/gem of the Philippines is the Philippine Pearl, also known as the South Sea Pearl. This beautiful pearl became the national shell in 1996 when then President Fidel V. Ramos declared it as such through Proclamation No. 905. But why the pearl? Why is it a national symbol in the Philippines and what is its meaning?

The pearl is a symbol of the Philippines’ rich biodiversity. The country is home to the South Sea pearl oyster, a type of large oyster that can produce pearls. Because of the Philippines’ warm and nutrient-rich waters, these oysters thrive and produce some of the world’s largest and most beautiful pearls.

The Philippine Pearl signifies purity, generosity, and natural beauty. It’s a symbol of the country’s natural wealth, showcasing its rich marine resources and biodiversity. The pearl’s formation process also mirrors the Filipino spirit. Just like how an irritant inside an oyster transforms into a beautiful pearl, Filipinos have shown resilience in the face of challenges, turning hardships into opportunities for growth and transformation.

The Philippine Pearl also stands for the country’s rich cultural heritage. Pearls have been used in traditional Filipino jewelry for centuries, and they hold a special place in the culture and hearts of the Filipino people. The pearl represents the Philippines’ unique history and traditions, embodying the values of the Filipino people.

27. National Stone

The national stone of the Philippines is Jade. This beautiful stone has been chosen as a symbol of the country for a couple of reasons that are deeply tied to the history and culture of the Philippines.

Jade is known for its vibrant green color, but it can also come in other colors like blue, lavender, and even white. This stone has been part of the Philippine culture for thousands of years. In fact, the oldest known jade artifacts in the Philippines date back to 2000 BC, further highlighting the stone’s historical significance in the country.

Why Jade? Well, Jade symbolizes a couple of things that are very important to Filipinos. One of these is durability. Jade is one of the toughest stones out there. It’s harder than steel! This toughness is a mirror of the resilience and strength of the Filipino people, who have faced and overcome many challenges throughout history.

Jade also stands for purity and protection. Many Filipinos believe that jade can ward off evil spirits and bring good luck. This belief comes from the country’s ancient cultures and continues to be a part of the Filipino tradition today.

In addition, Jade is a symbol of harmony and balance. Its smooth surface and calming color help to convey a sense of peace and unity. This is a reflection of the Filipino spirit of Bayanihan, which is all about community and working together.

28. National Soil

The Philippines has a national soil, and it’s called the Carabao Series. This soil is a symbol of the nation, just like the Philippine Eagle is the national bird, and the Carabao is the national animal. But why did the Philippines choose this specific soil as their national symbol?

The Carabao Series soil is very common in the Philippines, covering approximately 232,000 hectares. You would find it in many regions, such as Ilocos Norte, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, and Bohol. Because it’s so widespread, it’s a vital part of the country’s agriculture, supporting the growth of rice, corn, sugarcane, and various other crops.

The soil got its name from the Carabao, a type of water buffalo that is also a national symbol of the Philippines. The Carabao is a hardworking animal used in farming and is a symbol of labor and perseverance. By naming the national soil after this animal, it shows that the soil, much like the Carabao, is essential for the country’s productivity.

As a national symbol, the Carabao Series soil represents the richness of the Philippine land and the hard work of its farmers. The soil is a vital part of the country’s economy and sustains the Philippines’ agriculture, which in turn feeds the nation. Therefore, it stands as a symbol of the country’s self-sufficiency, productivity, and resilience.

The Carabao Series being selected as the national soil of the Philippines is a reminder of the country’s agricultural roots and the value of the land. It highlights the importance of preserving and taking care of the soil for the country’s sustainability and food security.

29. National Butterfly

The Philippine national butterfly is the beautiful, large, and colorful Philippine Eagle Butterfly, also known as the Great Eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina). This butterfly is an important national symbol in the Philippines and has a special meaning.

The Great Eggfly is a large butterfly, with a wingspan reaching up to 10 centimeters. Its wings display a unique pattern of black and iridescent blue spots, making it one of the most recognizable and striking butterflies in the country. Males and females look different, with males displaying more vivid colors and larger spots.

Choosing the Great Eggfly as the national butterfly shows the country’s appreciation for its rich and diverse natural environment. The Philippines is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, home to a vast number of unique species, including this stunning butterfly. By choosing it as a national symbol, the Philippines highlights the importance of protecting and preserving its natural wonders for future generations.

The butterfly is also a symbol of change, transformation, and resilience. Just like the butterfly goes through different stages in its life, from a tiny egg to a crawling caterpillar, then to a dormant pupa before becoming a beautiful butterfly, the Philippines has also gone through numerous changes and challenges throughout its history. Yet, it has managed to emerge stronger and more beautiful, just like the Great Eggfly.


In conclusion, the national symbols of the Philippines hold immense significance and represent the rich culture, history, and values of the Filipino people. They serve as powerful reminders of the country’s struggle for independence, its natural beauty, and its unique identity.

From the national flag, which embodies the spirit of freedom and patriotism, to the national anthem, which instills a sense of pride and unity, these symbols evoke strong emotions and foster a sense of national identity among Filipinos.

The national flower, animal, and bird showcase the country’s natural wonders and biodiversity, while the national hero and national language highlight the importance of history and cultural heritage. Together, these symbols contribute to the collective pride and sense of belonging that Filipinos share, serving as a constant reminder of their nation’s past, present, and future.

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