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Flag of the Philippines
The National Flag of the Philippines (Tagalog: Pambansang Watawat ng Pilipinas) is a horizontal bicolor with equal bands of Royal blue and Scarlet red, and with a white equilateral triangle at the hoist; in the center of the triangle is a golden yellow sun with eight primary rays, each containing three individual rays; and at each vertex of the triangle is a five-pointed golden yellow star. This flag is unique in that it can indicate a state of war depending on the manner in which it is displayed.

The flag's length is twice its width, which translates into an aspect ratio of 1:2. 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.

Usage as war ensign
The Philippines does not utilize a separate war flag; instead, the national flag itself is used for this purpose. This flag is unique in the sense that it can indicate a state of war when the red field is displayed on top, or on the observer's left when the flag is displayed vertically (i.e., with the white equilateral triangle at the top). In times of peace, however, the blue area is the superior field (as seen in the above illustrations). Historical examples of this wartime reversal in orientation are during the Revolution of 1896, World War II, and some flags carried by the demonstrators who stormed Malacañang Palace during the EDSA Revolution in 1986.

Philippine Government "Flag and Anthem" web page states that the white triangle stands for equality and fraternity; the blue field for peace, truth and justice; and red field for patriotism and valor. The eight rays of the sun stand for the first eight provinces that the colonizers have put under martial law. The three stars symbolize Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. That page does not list the eight provinces symbolized by the rays, and other sources differ on the makeup of the list and the inclusion criteria. Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista, who wrote the Philippine Declaration of Independence and who read it on the occasion of its proclamation on June 12, 1898, has listed the eight provinces as Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Laguna, and Batangas, saying that these eight were declared in a state of war almost from the start of the revolution. Historian Ambeth Ocampo has supported this, as have other sources. Ocampo has also included Tarlac among the eight listed instead of Bataan, as have other sources.

The symbolism given in the 1898 Proclamation of Philippine Independence differs from the current official explanation. It says that the white triangle signifies the emblem of the Katipunan, the secret society that opposed Spanish rule. It says the flag's colors commemorate the flag of the United States as a manifestation of gratitude for American protection against the Spanish during the Philippine Revolution. It also says that one of the three stars represents the island of Panay, rather than the entire Visayan islands. The proclamation also declares that the sun represents the gigantic steps made by the sons of the country along the path of Progress and Civilization, and lists Bataan among the eight provinces symbolized by the sun's rays.

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 first flag of the Katipunan was a red rectangular flag with a horizontal alignment of three white Ks (an acronym for the Katipunan's full name, Kataas-taasang Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan - Supreme and Venerable Society of the Sons of the Nation). The flag's red field symbolized blood, as members of the Katipunan signed their membership papers in their own blood.

The various leaders of the Katipunan, such as Andrés Bonifacio, Mariano Llanera, and Pio del Pilar, also had individual war standards. The organization was represented in Cavite province by two factions: the Magdiwang faction and the Magdalo faction, with each adopting a flag. Both used a white sun. Instead of the letter K the flags bore the symbol for the syllable ka in the pre-Hispanic baybayin writing system.

The Katipunan adopted a new flag in 1897 during an assembly at Naic, Cavite. This new flag was red and depicted a white sun with a face. The sun had eight rays, representing the eight provinces that Spain had placed under martial law.

Current design
The modern design of the Philippine flag was conceptualized by President Emilio Aguinaldo during his exile in Hong Kong in 1897. The first flag was sewn by Marcela Marino de Agoncillo with the help of her daughter Lorenza and Delfina Herbosa de Natividad (a niece of Propagandista José Rizal). It was displayed in battle on May 28, 1898.

The flag was formally unfurled during the proclamation of independence on June 12, 1898 in Kawit, Cavite. However, a Manila Times article by Augusto de Viana, Chief History Researcher, National Historical Institute, mentions assertions in history textbooks and commemorative rites that the flag was first raised in Alapan, Imus, Cavite, on May 28, 1898, citing Presidential Proclamation No. 374, issued by then-President Diosdado Macapagal on March 6, 1965. The article goes on to claim that historical records indicate that the first display of the Philippine flag took place in Cavite City, when General Aguinaldo displayed it during the first fight of the Philippine Revolution.

The flag's original symbolism was enumerated in the text of the independence proclamation, which makes reference to an attached drawing, though no record of the drawing has surfaced. The original design of the flag adopted a mythical sun with a face, a symbol common to several former Spanish colonies. The particular shade of blue of the original flag has been a source of controversy. Based on anecdotal evidence and the few surviving flags from the era, historians argue that the colors of the original flag were the same blue and red as found on the flag of Cuba.

The flag of Cuba influenced the design of the flag of the Philippines as Cuba's revolution against Spain inspired, to some degree, the Philippine Revolution.

Hostilities broke out between the Philippines and the United States in 1899. The flag was first flown with the red field up on February 4, 1899 to show that a state of war existed. Aguinaldo was captured by the Americans two years later, and swore allegiance to the United States.

With the defeat of the Philippine Republic, the Philippines was placed under American colonial rule and the display of the Philippine flag was declared illegal by the Sedition Act of 1907. This law was repealed on October 30, 1919. With the legalization of the Philippine flag, the cloth available in most stores was the red and blue of the flag of the United States, so the flag from 1919 onwards adopted the navy blue color. The Philippine Legislature passed Act. No 2928 on March 26, 1920, which legally adopted the Philippine flag as the official flag of the Philippine Islands. Up until the eve of World War II, Flag Day was celebrated on annually on October 30, commemorating the date the ban on the flag was lifted.

The Commonwealth of the Philippines was inaugurated in 1935. On March 25, 1936, President Manuel L. Quezon issued Executive Order No. 23 which provided for the technical description and specifications of the flag. Among the provisions of the order was the definition of the triangle at the hoist as an equilateral triangle, the definition of the aspect ratio at 1:2, the precise angles of the stars, the geometric and aesthetic design of the sun, and the formal elimination of the mythical face on the sun. The exact shades of colors, however, were not precisely defined. These specifications have remained unchanged and in effect to the present. In 1941, Flag Day was officially moved to June 12, commemorating the date that Philippine independence was proclaimed in 1898.

The flag was once again banned with the Japanese invasion and occupation of the Philippines beginning December 1941, to be hoisted again with the establishment of the Japanese-sponsored Second Republic of the Philippines. In ceremonies held in October 1943, Emilio Aguinaldo hoisted the flag with the original Cuban blue and red colors restored. The flag was initially flown with the blue stripe up, until President Jose P. Laurel proclaimed the existence of a state of war with the Allied Powers in 1944. The Commonwealth government-in-exile in Washington DC continued to use the flag with the American colors, and had flown it with the red stripe up since the initial invasion of the Japanese. With the combined forces of the Filipino & American soldiers and the liberation of the Philippines in 1944 to 1945, the flag with the American colors was restored, and it was this flag that was hoisted upon the granting of Philippine independence from the United States on July 4, 1946.

Design changes
A specification of color was adopted by the National Historical Institute in 1955, with the colors of the American flag. In 1985, President Ferdinand Marcos ordered the colors of the flag restored to the original blue and red of the Cuban flag. However, this act was reversed after the People Power Revolution removed Marcos from power. For the 1998 centennial of the proclamation of Philippine independence, the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines (RA 8491) was passed, changing the shade of blue to royal blue.

Sun's rays
Prior to the 1998 Centennial celebrations the provincial government of Zambales lobbied that the sun's rays be adjusted to add a ninth ray reflecting that their province was also in a state of rebellion in 1896. However, the Centennial Commission denied this change based on research done by the National Historical Institute. In 2009, a senate bill was introduced to add an additional ray to represent the Moro. As of September 24, 2009, it is in the process of bill reconciliation in Congress.

Flag protocol
The flag should be displayed in all government buildings, official residences, public plazas, and schools every day throughout the year. The days from May 28 (National Flag Day) to June 12 (Independence Day) are designated as flag days, during which all government offices, business establishments, and private homes are also encouraged to display the flag.

By law, the Philippine flag must be permanently hoisted and illuminated at night at the following locations:

* Malacañang Palace, the Presidential Residence
* The Congress of the Philippines building
* Supreme Court of the Philippines building
* The Rizal Monument in Luneta, Manila
* Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite
* Barasoain Shrine in Malolos, Bulacan
* Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
* Mausoleo de los Veteranos de la Revolución
* All international ports of entry
* All other places as may be designated by the National Historical Institute.

The flag may be flown at half-mast as a sign of mourning. Upon the official announcement of the death of the President or a former President, the flag should be flown at half-mast for ten days. The flag should be flown at half-mast for seven days following the death of the Vice President, the Chief Justice, the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The flag may also be required to fly at half-mast upon the death of other persons to be determined by the National Historical Institute, for a period less than seven days. The flag shall be flown at half-mast on all the buildings and places where the decedent was holding office, on the day of death until the day of interment of an incumbent member of the Supreme Court, the Cabinet, the Senate or the House of Representatives, and such other persons as may be determined by the National Historical Institute.

When flown at half-mast, the flag should be first hoisted to the peak for a moment then lowered to the half-mast position. It should be raised to the peak again before it is lowered for the day.

The flag may also be used to cover the caskets of the dead of the military, veterans of previous wars, national artists, and outstanding civilians as determined by the local government. In such cases, the flag must be placed such that the white triangle is at the head and the blue portion covers the right side of the casket. The flag should not be lowered to the grave or allowed to touch the ground, but should be solemnly folded and handed to the heirs of the deceased.

Prohibited acts
It is prohibited to deface or ridicule the flag, to dip the flag as a salute, or to add additional marks of any nature on the flag.
It may not be used as a drapery, festoon, tablecloth, as a covering for objects, or as part of a costume or uniform.
Several commercial uses of the flag are prohibited, including using the flag as a trademark or for commercial or agricultural labels or designs.

It is forbidden to use the image of the flag on merchandise, or in any advertisement or infomercial.

It also may not be used as a pennant in the hood, side, back and top of motor vehicles.

The flag may not be displayed horizontally face-up, or under any painting, picture or platform.

It may not be displayed in "discotheques, cockpits, night and day clubs, casinos, gambling joints and places of vice or where frivolity prevails."

The Pledge of Allegiance to the Philippine flag should be recited while standing with the right hand with palm open raised shoulder high. Individuals whose faith or religious beliefs prohibit them from making such pledge are permitted to excuse themselves, but are required by law to show full respect when the pledge is being rendered by standing at attention.
Ako ay Pilipino
Buong katapatang nanunumpa
Sa watawat ng Pilipinas
At sa bansang kanyang sinasagisag
Na may dangal, katarungan at kalayaan
Na pinakikilos ng sambayanang
Makakalikasan at
English translation
I am a Filipino
I pledge my allegiance
To the flag of the Philippines
And to the country it represents
With honor, justice and freedom
Put in motion by one nation
For God
for the People,
for Nature and
for the Country.

The law makes no statement regarding the language in which the pledge must be recited, but the pledge is written (and therefore recited) in the Filipino language.

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