Philippine Flag

flag.gif (419 bytes)

Explanations of the flag
The symbols on the white triangle of the Philippine flag are an eight rayed sun and three stars in gold. The sun represents the dawning of a new era of self-determination that was desired in 1898 (when the flag was first designed) after the Spanish-American war and the US promise of independence, which was granted in 1946. The 8 rays on the sun stand for the 8 provinces that rose in revolt against Spanish rule in the late 19th century. The 3 stars stand for the 3 principal geographic areas of the country, Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.
To complete the symbolism of the flag, the red stripe represents courage and bravery and the blue stripe is for noble ideals. The white triangle stands for the Katipunan, a revolutionary organization that led the revolt against Spain and the color white represents peace and purity. This flag is unique in that in peacetime, the blue stripe is uppermost but during wartime, the red stripe is on top.

War versus peace state
The flag has the unique ability to display a state of war of the country. It does this according to the orientation of the blue and red panels: if the blue panel is above the red, the Philippines is at peace, in the red above blue indicates a state of war. In the vertical position, blue on the right means peace and opposite means otherwise.

Shade of blue
The dark blue is probably a change after the authorization of the flag for the American authorities in 26 March 1920, Law 2928.

25 February 1985: President Marcos changed the blue color of the flag to light blue, according the first design, but, after his fall, Cori Aquino abolished the change


Somewhere in the Middle of the Philippines

Masbate Island



The "Tribes" in the Philippines


It has been suggested that I should give a few facts about the so-called "tribes" of the Philippines.
Statements have been made to the effect that we are divided into eighty-four tribes, speaking different languages, and of all degrees of barbarism and civilization; that these "tribes" are at enmity with each other; that they would never agree to form a united, strong government; and that one warlike
"tribe" is seeking to dominate all the others, and to rule with an iron hand the weaker and peaceable citizens of our country. These statements are entirely incorrect. That there are a few uncivilized or semi-civilized peoples still inhabiting the northern part of Luzon and the interior of the Island of Mindanao is a fact which no one disputes. They correspond to the uncivilized or semi-civilized remnants of the Indian tribes still inhabiting certain parts of the United States. The Schulman Commission is responsible for the statements about these eighty-four different "tribes." But it is clear that the Commissioners' list has been compiled from imperfectly kept and still more imperfectly spelt
Spanish records. The confusion into which they and others have fallen in reference to the so-called "tribes" is due to the fact that our country is divided not only into provinces but into provincial districts, wherein slightly different dialects are spoken. The inhabitants of these provincial districts have been confused with the few mountain peoples. The latter have been subdivided by purely artificial boundaries, by which means a small community has been subdivided into two or more "tribes." Additional "tribes" have also been created by the incorrect spelling of local Spanish officials, and by giving two native equivalents for the same people, -- as for instance: when two "tribes" are created by calling the one Buquils and the other Buquiles, which is equivalent to saying that there are two "tribes" in
England, the English and the British. Examining the list still more in detail, we find that there are said to be two tribes of Aetas, two more of Attas, and one of Atas. These are not tribes at all. The word "Aeta" is the Tagalog equivalent of "Negrito." This word has been spelt in three different ways by careless Spanish officials, and thus multiplied by the Commissioners into three separate and distinct
"tribes." The word "Baluga" is another native equivalent for the Negritos, and this word is also given by the Commission as the name of a separate and distinct "tribe." It would be just as absurd to regard the Americans as one tribe and the "Yankees" as another, and then to increase these two tribes
into four or more by misspelling the word "Americans," or by translating it into French. The names are also given of "tribes" which do not exist in the Philippines at all, as, for instance, the Manguianes of Masbate, the Manguianes or Ticao, the Negritos of Tayabas. I have been in all of these places, but I never saw or heard of these "tribes," nor have I ever met any one who had seen or heard of them.
Thus, by the processes of imagination, bad spelling, translation, subdivision, and multiplication, the 15,000 Negritos are split up into twenty-one "tribes"! There are also said to be sixteen Indonesian "tribes" in the island of Mindanao. It would be interesting to know where the Commissioners obtained
this information. The interior of Mindanao has never been explored; all that is known of it with any degree of certainty is that the inhabitants are Indonesians, and that they are divided into sections under small chiefs or head men. It would be impossible, in the time at my disposal, to even attempt to
explain all the errors and confusions of this list prepared by the Schurman Commission. It is sufficient to say that by the processes which I have indicated the few semi-civilized people and the civilized inhabitants of the provincial districts in Luzon and the Visayas have been multiplied into eighty-four "tribes." Now, as a native of the country, and as one who has given some attention to the ethnography of the Archipelago, both by personal research and by a study of the best works on the subject, I may be permitted to give a brief statement of the facts. There has been a considerable amount of speculation about the Negritos, who are erroneously regarded as the aboriginal inhabitants of the whole Archipelago. But Pedro A. Paterno, one of our most capable ethnologists, and others have shown that the Negritos are the surviving remnant of the slaves brought to our islands by the Moros in the eleventh and subsequent centuries. They are not especially negroid in appearance, and only those inhabiting the Province of Bataan in Luzon have curly hair. In the large and only partially explored island of Mindanao there are several Indonesian "tribes," the chief of which are the Subanos, estimated to number from fifty to seventy thousand; the Mendayas, who are estimated to number thirty-five thousand; and the Tagabau, comprising about thirty thousand. The Mendayas and the Manobos are said to practice, the one human sacrifice, and the other ceremonial cannibalism. But the evidence of this is conflicting and untrustworthy. It is also said that the small "tribe" of four thousand Ilongotes in Luzon are head-hunters. This has been denied and asserted on equally untrustworthy authority. I have never met or heard of
any one who had witnessed any of these practices. The information has always come from a neighboring people. The idea has probably arisen by travelers having seen the heads of criminals erected on spears, just as one might have witnessed the same thing a century or two ago on Temple Bar or London Bridge. But if that proved head-hunting on the part of the Ilongotes, it also proves that the English people were head-hunters. If, however, these statements are true, they are paralleled by the
scalp-hunting Indians of the United States, and by the human sacrifices and ceremonial cannibalism of the Canadian Indians. There are also the Moros of Mindanao and the Sulus. They are of course
Mohammedans, and some of their institutions are contrary to the true ideals of morality and liberty.
There are a few natives on Mindanao who have not been Christianized nor tyrannized by Spain. But they have a religion and a code of morals of their own, the latter of which they adhere to and which in many respects is superior to that practiced by the Spaniards. They believe in one God and are
monogamists. They are a moral and hospitable people who do their duty to their fellow man, worship God in their own way, and do not believe in any kind or form of devil. The so-called wild men of Luzon are the Igorrotes, who are "a warlike but semi-civilized people, living in villages, owning farms and cattle, irrigating their rice fields, mining and working gold and copper and forging swords and spear heads of iron," but who have never been converted to Christianity or subdued by Spain. They are, however, prepared to submit to and recognize Aguinaldo's government and have sent him presents of gold dust to assist in the war. The Igorrotes are probably an early branch of the Malayan race which originally populated the island. These uncivilized and semi-civilized people are not separate genealogical
tribes. The inhabitants of Mindanao are a homogenous people of common Indonesian descent, who have become divided into sections under petty chiefs or head men, some of which have slight differences of dialect which have arisen gradually owing to there being little or no inter-communication. But most of them speak the same dialect. Let us now glance very briefly at the remaining millions of Filipinos, who are generally regarded as belonging to the Malayan race. They constitute more than nineteen-twentieths of the entire population of the Archipelago, and are divided into provincial districts, inhabited by the Visayans, the Tagalogs, the Bicols, the Ilocanos, the Pangasinans, the Pampangans, and the Cagayans. All of these provincial people belong to one race and all of them are Christian people practicing the morals and arts of civilization, and speaking dialects which are as similar to each other as are the dialects of the different provinces in England. The divergence between these dialects is much less than that between the Spanish and the Italian languages. I have traveled alone in Italy; I do not know Italian; but I have had no difficulty in understanding and in making myself understood by the Italians. Similarly, I have traveled in the Visayas and elsewhere in the Philippines and have had very much less difficulty in communicating with the Visayans and the Bicols. A Tagalog will become
proficient in the Visayan or other dialects within a fortnight, and vice versa. As a matter of fact, the difference between the dialects of the seven provincial districts would not be a real difficulty to independent self-government. First, because the difference is so slight, and secondly, because Spanish is the official language of our country, spoken by the educated people of all the provinces; and, as the Schurman Commission declares, these educated people are far more numerous than is generally
supposed. When Tagalogs, or Visayans, or Bicols meet they never dream of speaking in their own dialects; intercourse between them is carried on in Spanish. And I may state parenthetically that the Filipinos have so excelled in Spanish as to have won valuable literary prizes in competition with the
Spaniards themselves. Dr. Jose Rizal, at the age of seventeen, took the first place in the Cervantes Literary Competition at Manila, which was open to Spaniards and Filipinos alike in both Spain and the Philippines. But if the language were a difficulty under Filipino rule it would be a still greater difficulty under American rule, due to the necessity of the introduction of English, which would form a third language in our islands. Other countries do not find that a difference in language forms a difficulty
to self-government. In every country in the world, with perhaps the exception of the United States, there are two or more languages or dialects spoken by the people. The only difficulty with regard to language in any of these countries has been due to jealousy as to which language should become the official one. This difficulty has already been settled in the Philippines. Now as to the supposed enmity between the so-called "tribes." Such enmity is quite unknown among our people. There may be, and no doubt there is, enmity between individuals, but the enmity does not exist between the so-called
"tribes" or provinces. During the short term when our government was not interfered with the most perfect harmony and unanimity existed, and provincial and racial differences were never even thought of. When our government was first established, emissaries came from almost all the provinces and islands declaring their support on behalf of those from whom they came. Even the Moros in Mindanao and Igorrotes of North Luzon, who had never been subdued by Spain, acclaimed Aguinaldo and were prepared to recognize his government. Our "Asamblea" or Representative Chamber, under the new constitution, comprised representatives of all the provinces. Some of these provinces include two or more islands, while some islands are divided into two or more provinces. Thus the province of Romblon includes the islands of Romblon, Tablas, Sibuyan, and other smaller islands, whilst
Panay is divided into four and Luzon into many provinces. It should be remembered that these provinces are separated by artificial boundaries. They are geographical but not racial areas. Frequently in one province two dialects are used, as in North Camarines, where Tagalog and Bicol are
spoken. On the other hand, in some cases two or more provinces use only one dialect, as in the thirteen provinces where Tagalog is spoken. A Spaniard or other foreigner cannot distinguish any difference in the accent of the of the inhabitants of these thirteen provinces, although a native may in some cases, but not in all, be able to tell whether a speaker is from, say, Batangas or Bulacan. But to imagine that the inhabitants of these provinces generally are at enmity with each other, or that they would be likely to tear one another's throats, is as absurd as to suppose that the inhabitants
of Massachusetts would naturally desire to rend the men of New Hampshire or Rhode Island.
The inter-relations of the people of the several provincial districts show that no such enmity has existed or does now exist. For instance: In the schools and colleges, especially in Manila, there are representatives of all the chief provincials, and it would be impossible to tell which were which.
I may be pardoned for here referring to myself. I am a Tagalog; but it would be impossible for another Filipino to say, judging from external appearance only, whether I was a Bicol, a Visayan, a Tagalog, or a Pangasinan. The only way of discovering from which provincial district I came would be by means
of the dialect. There are many institutions in the Philippines the benefits of which are not confined to the people of any one province. For example, there is an educational institution (purely Filipino) granting scholarships which enable the winners to study in Europe. These scholarships are open to all Filipinos
in the Archipelago. In Japan, the official representative of the so-called "Tagalog Despotism" is an Ilocano. In Madrid all the Filipinos have formed themselves into a Committee and are working unitedly for independence. The president of the committee is a Bicol, the vice-president an Ilocano, the secretary a Visayan, the treasurer a Tagalog, and the remainder of the committee are Tagals, Visayans, Bicols, Ilocanos, and Pangasinans. In Barcelona, in Paris, and in London the same diversity of province and the same unanimity of purpose obtain. Among all the Filipinos resident in Europe, who represent
the educated and moneyed classes, and who know something of European methods of government, there is not one "Americanista." This is an important fact, because all these men are entirely free from the supposed despotism of Aguinaldo or General MacArthur. They are thus free from all external influences, yet every one of them has voluntarily chosen to support Aguinaldo and to work for the independence of our country. As a matter of fact, with the exception of the few uncivilized tribes in
Central Mindanao and the Sulus, and the semi-civilized Igorrotes and Negritos of Luzon to which I have referred, the Filipinos are a homogenous people belonging to the Malayan race. They speak several dialects, but they are one people. They constitute an overwhelming majority of the inhabitants
of the Philippines. They are opposed not solely to American but to any foreign rule; and they are united in the desire for independence and for the purpose of maintaining a stable, independent government.
In conclusion, I again assert without fear of contradiction, that the alleged antagonisms between the inhabitants of the provincial districts, or between the so-called "tribes," have arisen not in the minds of the Filipinos themselves, but in the minds of those who do not understand our peoples and who have reached conclusions in no way warranted by the facts. I have also been asked to say a word about a so-called "tribe" not included in the Commissioners' list. It has been stated that "the Macabebes are
fighting on the American side." The statement has been made in a manner which would convey the idea that the Macabebes are a large tribe somewhat like the Tagalogs, and that it is therefore clear that all the Filipinos do not desire native rule. You will no doubt be surprised to learn that the Macabebes, or Macabebians as they should be called, are simply the inhabitants of the town of Macabebe in Pampanga. The population of this town has been estimated at from four to ten thousand all told; and of these, only two hundred are scouting for the American forces. If that shows disunity on the part of ten millions of Filipinos -- well, "make the most of it!" I should like to mention that these same Macabebians also fought for Spain against the Filipinos in the insurrection of 1896. Apparently they prefer foreign rule of any kind, whether it be Spanish or American, to that of their own. We are glad, therefore, that such men as these are not fighting on our side. Sixto Lopez was secretary of the Philippine mission sent to the United States in 1898 to negotiate U.S. recognition of Philippine  independence. When war broke out, this delegation left the country but Lopez returned to the United States in 1900 as the guest of Fiske Warren, an officer of the New England Anti-Imperialist League, and he made extensive speaking tours and published numerous articles in the U.S. press urging independence. His sister Clemencia traveled to Boston in 1902 to petition the government for the release from prison of three brothers in the Philippines who they believed had been arrested solely because of their relation to Sixto and another brother who had joined the Philippine army. Both Sixto and Clemencia Lopez formed close ties with many people in Massachusetts and were influential in the Anti-Imperialist League's shift from a nearly exclusive focus on the effects of imperialism on the United States to one which included a component of solidarity with the Filipino people. Sixto Lopez
remained in exile for many years because he refused to take the pledge of allegiance to the United States that was required for entrance into the Philippines.