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The Philippine Symbols

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Narra or Angsana (Pterocarpus indicus)

Narra tree is a striking, large and strong shady tree. It is one of the most wanted wood for furniture but because there are only a few trees left, cutting down a Narra tree is no longer allowed. It is mostly found in Bicol, Mindanao and the Cagayan Valley forests. The Narra trees grow all over the Philippine islands and are mostly found and grown in Bicol, Mindanao and the Cagayan Valley forests.

Pambansang Dahon or Philippine National Leaf
Anahaw or Fan palm (Livistona rotundifolia in Latin)

The Filipino word “Anahaw” (ana-how) are nice-looking, tropical palm known for its round fan-shaped leaves. Its leaf has some uses like: to fan yourself during hot days. The Tagalogs of Quezon Province even use it to wrap their brown and delicious tikoy. Anahaw leaves are also a widespread symbol in the Philippines that is often used in awards and medals to represent high achievement, strength, and loyalty. The Anahaw leaf features a large, round outline and is glossy green in color. It spreads out grandly from the center of the shaft and opens to a full crest divided shallowly at the ends and is known to be one of the most beautiful plant in the Philippines.

Pambansang Prutas or Philippine National Fruit

Mangga (Mangifera indica)

Philippine Mango is a bizarre tropical fruit prevalently known to be yellow in color which achieves its addictive taste through its scrupulous harvest procedures. Philippine Mango is recognized worldwide for its best qualities, which cannot be beaten by any kind of mangoes around the globe.

It is a wonder fruit of versatile ways to enjoy its taste. Green mango can be served as a salad constituent, while golden yellow mango has diversities of ways to relish its uniqueness. It can be served as plain, processed, dried or frozen, this delicious fruit is world known for its sweetest character. Philippine mango is an ideal dessert served in many ways and has been known as the “Fruit of the Gods”.

Pambansang Ibon or Philippine National Bird

Agila ng Pilipinas or Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jeffery) Philippine Eagle or also known as the monkey eating eagle stands over 3 feet (1m) tall. It has a large, sharp, curved beak. It has feathers that seem to bristle on its head. It is a giant forest raptor and is considered excellent hunters. It is considered one of the largest and most powerful eagles in the world and one of the worlds rarest and definitely one of the world’s most seriously endangered vertebrate bird kind with only about 500 birds in the wild. It lives in tropical rain forests and it lays only one or two eggs each year. There are only a few of them now because of the disappearance of trees in our mountains.

Pambansang Hayop or Philippine National Animal

Kalabaw or Carabao or water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis)

The carabao or kalabaw in Filipino is a tamed type of water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis or sometimes bubalus carabanesis) in the Philippines. Being the farm animal of choice for pulling the plow and cart used to tow farm produce to the market, carabaos are warmly associated with farmers. Its life span is 18 to 20 years and the female carabao can deliver one calf each year.

Pambansang Isda or Philippine National Fish
Bangus or Milkfish (Chanos chanos)

Deboned milkfish, or “boneless bangus,” has become popular in stores and markets because milkfish is known for being bonier than other food fish in the Philippines. Bangus is a popular table fare among Filipinos. To the biologist, it is a naturally strong fish since it is capable in adapting and thrives even in the limited, unusual environment of the fishpond. This feature is not frequently found in most other fish class.

Pambansang Bulaklak or Philippine National Flower
Sampaguita or Arabian Jasmine (Jasminium sambac)

Philippine Sampaguita flower is a white, star-shaped blossom which has a sweet fragrance. It opens at night and droops in less than a day. The white flowers are often made into wreath and its extract made into perfumes. Sampaguita is not a tree but a woody vine. The flower called was accepted as the National Flower of Philippines in 1934 which also happens to be the National Flower of Indonesia.

Pambansang Pagkain or Philippine National Dish
Lechon or Roasted pig

The lechon is a very popular and famous food among Filipinos. Lechon (litson in tagalong) is roasted whole pig cooked over burning charcoals. It is a dish that is almost a fixed part and menu centerpiece of any Filipino celebration which is usually prepared for fiestas, family celebrations (like parties and marriages) and also a favorite dish during Christmas. Lechon is the Spanish name for pig, in the Philippines it means a spit-roasted pig. Lechon is prepared by filling the inside of the animal pig with herbs and vegetables. The pigs are slowly hand roasted on top of charcoal for hours till their skin turns into reddish brown and the inside flesh becomes tender. Philippine Lechon is often served with a thick liver sauce cooked with vinegar, sugar and herbs.

Pambansang Tirahan or Philippine National House
Bahay Kubo or Nipa Hut

Bahay kubo is a shelter made out of bamboo and palm leaves. It is a good place to take rest and eat typical food in the farm because of its material which allows good ventilation. The roof of the first Philippine houses, nipa huts, or bahay kubo, were high inclined and typically open gabled to allow for ventilation. The steeply sloping pitch also protected from the wind and rain in the typhoon season. The roof also provides wide extension roof space to provide shade from the hot sun.

Pambansang Sayaw or Philippine National Dance

Cariñosa, the national dance of the Philippines, is a romantic, flirtatious folk dance set to a waltz-like 3/4 rhythm. A couple expresses their feelings for each other with coy moves, including playing hide-and-seek behind a handkerchief or a fan. Cariñosa is known throughout the Philippines. Cariñosa (‘kah-reehn-YOH-sah’) means affectionate, lovable, or amiable. With a fan or handkerchief, the dancers go through hide-and-seek movements and other flirting acts expressing tender feelings for one another. There are many versions of this dance, but the hide-and-seek movements are common in all. Carinosa was introduced to the country by Spanish colonizers.

Panay Island, located in the Visaya island group, is considered the home of the carinosa. Dancers perform carinosa to Spanish-style music played by a string ensemble, in 3/4 time. Carinosa usually involves two dancers, one male, one female, who dance facing one another. The word “carinosa” means “affectionate” or “lovable” in Spanish, and this is a courtship dance. The dancers don’t touch each other, but their dancing indicates their romantic interest: They peek at each other around a handkerchief, exchange coy little waves, and drop to one knee while one partner dances around the other.

Pambansang Kasuotan Para sa Mga Lalaki or
Philippine National Costume for Men
Barong Tagalog

Barong Tagalog is an untucked or loose shirt of delicate fabric showing Chinese, airy tropical appearance Indo-Malayan and elongated effect of Hindu influences and the decorative captivity of European men’s clothing. The barong appears to have preserved its fundamental look since it was first worn. Almost unnoticeably, through the years, the barong’s round neck, straight long sleeves and mid-thigh hemline were resourcefully customized with collar, cuffs and side slits.

\Pambansang Kasuotan Para sa Mga Babae or
Philippine National Costume for Women
Baro at Saya

Baro’t Saya is a collarless blouse and skirt which means baro at saya (blouse and skirt). From the original, half-naked style, the bare upper torso was slowly covered with a short-sleeved, collarless blouse called “baro”. The whole look has developed into a many-layered collection of the kimona or inner shirt, the baro outershirt with its typically delicate materials, fine embroidery and wide sleeves.

Pambansang Laro or Philippine National Sport
or Game

Arnis, a traditional Filipino martial art that uses rattan sticks as weapon, is now the country’s national sport. President Arroyo has signed Republic Act 9850 declaring arnis as national martial art and sport of the country, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde announced Friday. Remonde, an enthusiast of arnis, said he was happy with the signing of the law that made his childhood sport the national sport.

Pambansang Bayani or Philippine National Hero
Dr. Jose Rizal

Jose Rizal or Dr. José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonzo Realonda was born on June 19, 1861 in the town of Calamba, Laguna and died on December 30, 1896. He was listed as one of the National Heroes of the Philippines and was one of the reasons why Filipino people became aware about the colonization of Spanish during Spanish Era. His death anniversary was commemorated here in the Philippines and called Rizal Day. Jose Rizal’s parents were Francisco Engracio Rizal Mercado y Alejandro (1818–1898) and Teodora Morales Alonso Realonda y Quintos (1826–1911). Rizal was the seventh child in their family among the eleven children.

“Rizal”means “green fields” or “Luntiang Bukirin” in tagalog which was suggested to him by a provincial governor. Together with his brother, Paciano, they were already advancing unheard-of political ideas of freedom and individual rights which infuriated the authorities. Rizal studied at Ateneo Municipal de Manila and graduated as sobresaliente (outstanding).

He continued his education at the Ateneo Municipal de Manila to obtain a land surveyor and assessor’s degree, and at the same time at the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Arts and Letters where he studied Philosophy and Letters. Upon learning that his mother was going blind, he decided to study medicine specializing in ophthalmology at the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery but did not complete the program, claiming discrimination by the Spanish Dominican friars against the native students.

Pambansang Sasakyan
or Philippine National Vehicle

Philippine kalesa is a horse-driven carriage that looks like an inclined cart, was introduced during the 18th century. The kalesa has two round wheels on each side and two rows of seats that can accommodate four persons. The driver sits on a block of wood located at the front of the cart near the horse.

This was one of the methods of transportation introduced in the Philippines in the 18th century by the Spaniards that only nobles and high ranked Spanish officials could afford. The Ilustrados, who are the rich Filipinos who had their own businesses, used the kalesa not only for traveling but as a way of transporting their goods as well. They are hardly ever used in the streets nowadays except in tourist spots and some rural areas.

Philippine National Gem
South Sea pearls

The color of south sea pearls is white to golden. Their extraordinary sizes are normally large which is between 9mm to as much as 19mm which made Philippine pearls very expensive. South Sea Pearl is very valuable. Its beauty and elegant gleam honor its reputation as “the queen of pearls”. There are two basic groups of Philippine South Sea cultured pearls: white and black. Their colors range from white and silvery blue to pale gold. The golden or light-yellowish varieties abound in Philippine and Indonesian waters while white or silvery hues occur mainly in Australian waters.

Pambansang Sapin Sa Paa or Philippine National Footwear
Bakya or wooden clogs

Bakya or wooden clogs footwear is made from local light wood like santol and laniti. It is cut to the desired foot size before being shaven until smooth. The side of the bakya is thick enough to be carved with floral, geometric or landscape designs. Afterwards, the bakya could then be painted or varnished. Uppers of plastic or rubber will then be fixed firmly using clavitos or tiny nails and the bakya is now ready to wear. The word bakya may also be used in the Philippines to indicate something that is of “low-class”, “unsophisticated” or “cheap”.

Pambansang Awit or Philippine National Anthem
Lupang Hinirang

The entire song is translated into English as “Land of the Morning”. In English, Lupang Hinirang is Beloved Country and Filipinas in Spanish. Julian Felipe from Cavite composed the music to our national hymn. Jose Palma wrote the poem entitled Filipinas. We sing our Philippine national hymn to indicate our unity as a nation. It is generally sung during flag-raising ceremonies and whenever there is an official and important event. Filipinos place their right hand on their left chest as they sing the Philippine national anthem, Lupang Hinirang and we remember our heroes who gave their lives for our independence. Pambansang Wika or Philippine National Language


Filipino is a prestige register of the Tagalog language, and the name under which Tagalog is designated the national language of the Philippines, as well as an official language alongside English. Tagalog is a first language of about one-third of the Philippine population; it is centred around Manila but is spoken to varying degrees nationwide. There was no common language in the Philippine archipelago when the Spanish arrived in the 16th century. The three major linguae francae were Tagalog, Ilocano, and Visayan. As the Philippine languages are all closely related and therefore easy for Filipinos to learn, most speakers of smaller languages spoke in two or more such regional languages.

On 12 November 1937, the first national assembly in the Philippines approved a law creating a National Language Institute to make a study and survey of each existing native language, hoping to choose which was to be the base for a standardised national language The three main contenders were Tagalog, Visayan, and Ilocano. On 14 July 1936, the Surián ng Wikáng Pambansâ (National Language Institute) selected Tagalog as the basis of the Wikáng Pambansâ (National Language) based on the following factors: Tagalog is widely spoken and is the most understood in all the Philippine Regions; It is not divided into smaller daughter languages, as Visayan or Bikol are;

Its literary tradition is the richest, most developed and extensive (mirroring that of the Tuscan language vis-Ă -vis Italian). More books are written in Tagalog than in any other autochthonous Philippine language, but this is mainly by virtue of law and privilege; Tagalog has always been the language of Manila, the political and economic centre of the Philippines during the Spanish and American Eras; Tagalog was the language of the 1896 Revolution and the Katipunan. Philippine National Motto

Maka-Diyos, Maka-Tao, Makakalikasan, at Makabansa
(For the Love of God, People, Nature and Country)

Philippine National Pledges
* Patriotic Pledge
* Pledge of Allegiance to the Philippine Flag
Philippine Narional Patriotic Song
* Pilipinas Kong Mahal
* Bayan Ko
* Ako ay Pilipino

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