Ha, ha, ha! I can hear some Filipinos saying out loud: “What! Titas S, you mean to tell us that our country has a national motto1?

The answer is “YES! The Philippines has a national motto just like other countries that choose to have one!”

The national motto “Isang bansa, isang diwa” (One country, one spirit) was adopted on June 9, 1978 by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 1413, when then-President Ferdinand Marcos had the vision of building his “New Society”. It was abolished after the 1986 People Power Revolution, i.e, on September 10 of the same year, by virtue of Memorandum Order No. 34 of President Corazon Aquino. This motto was officially removed from the coat of arms the following year, with the passage of the Administrative Code of 1987, according to Wikipedia page “Isang Bansa, Isang Diwa”.2

It took twelve years before a new national motto was enacted by law. Chapter III, Section 40 of Republic Act 8491 (The Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines), passed by President Fidel V. Ramos on February 12, 1998, changed the national motto to “Maka-Diyos, Maka-Tao, Makakalikasan, at Makabansa” (For God, for the people, for nature and for the country) according to Wikipedia page “Maka-Diyos, Maka-Tao, Makakalikasan at Makabansa”.3

What a wonderful motto it is since it covers all important aspects for national motivation! Would you know its actual origin? It was derived from the last lines of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Philippine Flag (Filipino: Panunumpa ng KatapatansaWatawat ng Pilipinas)4, recited at flag ceremonies immediately after the National Anthem and Patriotic Oath.

Now, I know what is going on in your minds, Thinking Seniors! Yes, other countries have their own state/national motto, although some opt not to have one. And I am sure you are wondering about the national mottos of specific countries you are fond of. Just go to Wikipedia and search for “List of national mottos”.

And that is a brief history of the national motto of the Philippines! So now you know!

Let all Filipinos unite and make the national motto our mantra!

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1A state motto is a short phrase to formally describes the intent or motivation of a state.

2“Isang Bansa, Isang Diwa”, accessed February 4, 2018,,_Isang_Diwa.

3“Maka-Diyos, Maka-Tao, Makakalikasan at Makabansa”, accessed February 4, 2018,,_Maka-Tao,_Makakalikasan_at_Makabansa.

4The Pledge of Allegiance to the Philippine Flag was legalized under Executive Order No. 343, finalized by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts from a draft prepared by the Commission on the Filipino Language, approved by President Fidel V. Ramos on Independence Day, June 12, 1996, and subsequently by Republic Act No. 8491, or the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines. The law requires the pledge to be recited while standing with the right hand with palm open, raised shoulder high. It can be recited in English or Tagalog5:



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

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

Maka-Diyos, Makatao, Makakalikasan

At Makabansa

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