Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE REGIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES?

The Philippines is an archipelago1 and is divided into regions2 since 1972.A region is an administrative division based on geographical, cultural and ethnological characteristics. Each region is further subdivided in provinces3, composed of cities4 and municipalities5 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays6, formerly called barrios, according to Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines”.7

Filipino Senior Citizens (SCs), you might ask: “Tita S, why write about this?” I’ll answer you with a question too, “Well, do you know all 17 regions of our beloved country and how many have you visited?” Besides, this post is also for the SCs and non-SCs from other countries who are curious to know more about our country, and as a Filipino, I am proud to share this information. Recall as well that I plan to travel as much as I can and explore the various regions of our beautiful country, ok? Besides, we can all be tourism ambassadors of our beloved country so we need to know this information if a foreigner asks.

This post can also help us make our SC bucket list. We can tick off our trips by region2. Or, if you like, you can also make your Philippine bucket list by province3 or by city4/town, depending on your state of health, interest and budget. Be wowed by our country before going abroad! I just wish that it will less expensive and more SC-friendly to travel domestically.

There are 17 regions in the Philippines, 16 are administrative regions8, and one is an autonomous region9, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) – see Region XV below. Allow me to briefly describe each region2, based on Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines”:

Region I, called the Ilocos Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Luzon10, with San Fernando (La Union) as its regional center. It has 5 local government units11 (LGUs): Dagupan, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, and Pangasinan.

Region II, called the Cagayan Valley Region, is a Philippine region located in the island groupof Luzon10, with Tuguegarao as its regional center. It has 6 local government units11 (LGUs): Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Viscaya, Quirino, and Santiago.

Region III, called the Central Luzon Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Luzon10, with San Fernando (Pampanga) as its regional center. It has 9 local government units11 (LGUs): Angeles, Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Olongapo, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales.

Region IV-A, called the CALABARZON Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Luzon10, with Calamba as its regional center. It has 6 local government units11 (LGUs): Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Lucena, Quezon, and Rizal. NOTE: CALABARZON is an acronym for this region’s provinces: CAvite, LAguna, BAtangas, Rizal, QueZON.

Region V, called the Bicol Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Visayas12, with Legazpi as its regional center. It has 7 local government units11 (LGUs): Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, Naga, and Sorsogon.

Region VI, called the Western Visayas Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Visayas12, with Iloilo City as its regional center. It has 8 local government units11 (LGUs): Aklan, Antique, Bacolod, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, Iloilo City, and Negros Occidental.

Region VII, called the Central Visayas Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Visayas12, with Cebu City as its regional center. It has 7 local government units11 (LGUs): Bohol, Cebu, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor.

Region VIII, called the Eastern Visayas Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Visayas12, with Tacloban as its regional center. It has 8 local government units11 (LGUs): Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Ormoc, Samar, Southern Leyte, and Tacloban.

Region IX, or the Zamboanga Peninsula Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Mindanao13, with Pagadian as its regional center. It has 5 local government units11 (LGUs): Isabela City, Zamboanga City, Zamboanga de Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay.

Region X, or the Northern Mindanao Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Mindanao13, with Cagayan de Oro as its regional center. It has 7 local government units11 (LGUs): Bukidnon, Cagayan de Oro, Camiguin, Iligan, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, and Misamis Oriental.

Region XI, or the Davao Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Mindanao13, with Davao City as its regional center. It has 6 local government units11 (LGUs): Compostela Valley, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, and Davao Occidental.

Region XII,or the SOCCSKSARGEN Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Mindanao13, with Koronadal as its regional center. It has 6 local government units11 (LGUs): Cotabato, Cotabato City, General Santos, Sarangani, South Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat. NOTE: SOCCSKSARGEN is an acronym for this region’s provinces: SOuthCotabato, Cotabato, Cotabato City, Sultan Kudarat, SARangani, GENeral Santos.

Region XIII, or the Caraga Region, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Mindanao13, with Butuan as its regional center. It has 6 local government units11 (LGUs):  Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Butuan, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur.

Region XIV, or the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), is a Philippine region located in the island group of Luzon10, with Baguio as its regional center. It has 7 local government units11 (LGUs): Abra, Apayao, Baguio, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province.

Region XV, or theAutonomous Region9 in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), isa Philippine region located in the island group of Mindanao13, with Cotabato City as its regional center. It has 5 local government units11 (LGUs): Basilan (excluding Isabela City), Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

The latest news regarding Region XV was on July 17, 2018 when the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, or the Bangsamoro Organic Law, was approved by the 28-member bicameral conference committee (House of Representatives and Senate of the Philippines combined). It was ratified by both the Senate and House of Representatives on July 23 and 24, respectively, and was signed into law by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on July 26, 2018, according to the Wikipedia page “Bangsamoro Organic Law”.29 The law will then be ratified through a plebiscite in November 2018. If it is ratified, the ARMM will be replaced by this new region. If not, ARMM will stay.30 Let us wait and see if there will be changes regarding this region, which might affect the composition of the other existing Mindanao regions.

The National Capital Region (NCR) is a Philippine region located in the island group of Luzon10,with Manila as its regional center. It is the official and administrative urban area in the southwestern portion of Luzon surrounding Manila, established in 1975 through Presidential Decree No. 824. It is the capital region of the Philippines, the seat of government, and is officially called Metro Manila, composed of 16 cities4 (Caloocan, Las Piñas, Malabon, Makati, Mandaluyong, Manila, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Novotas, Parañaque, Pasay, Pasig, Quezon City, San Juan, Taguig, Valenzuela) and the municipality5 of Pateros. It is the center of culture, economy, education and government of the Philippines.

MIMAROPA, or the Southwestern Tagalog Region (as of 2016), is a Philippine region located in the island group of Luzon10, with Calapan as its regional center. MIMAROPA is an acronym for this region’s provinces: MIndoro (Occidental and Oriental), MArinduque, ROmblon, PAlawan. It has 6 local government units11 (LGUs): Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Palawan, Puerto Princesa (a city in Palawan), and Romblon. This region was formerly called Region IV-B (2002-2016).

Now, Senior Citizens, can you add one milestone to your travel list? Why don’t you visit even just one province3 per region2? Then, you can say that you visited all the regions of our country, right? Achieve!

Did you find this post informative? Dear Filipino SC, from what Philippine region do you come from? Please tell me and my followers the wonderful destinations, sites, or events that you recommend for SCs like us to enjoy when we visit your region. I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post.  Thank you!

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1An archipelago is a chain or cluster of islands or an island group. It is isolated, surrounded by bodies of water, and often volcanic, according to Wikipedia page “Archipelago”.14 Examples are the Philippines, Greece, Hawaii, Indonesia, Japan and New Zealand, to name a few.

2A region is the first-order administrative division inthe Philippines. There are 17 regions in the Philippines, based on geographical, cultural and ethnological characteristics. It is further subdivided in provinces3, composed of cities and municipalities5 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays6. The aforementioned Philippine regions were initially identified in 1972, through Presidential Decree No. 1 of President Ferdinand Marcos. Since then, other regions have been created and some provinces have been “transferred” to another region. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”7

3A provinceis the primary administrative and political division in the Philippines. It is the second-level administrative sub-division of a region2. There are 81 provinces (called “lalawigan”) in the Philippines. Each province is governed by an elected legislature called the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and by an elected governor. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Provinces of the Philippines.”15

4A city is the local government unit in the Philippines headed by a mayor elected by popular vote. A vice mayor serves as the presiding officer of the Sangguniang Panlungsod16 (city council), which acts as the city’s legislative body. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines.”17

5A municipality is a small, single urban administrative division, or local government unit (LGU), in the Philippines which has corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by law. It is a unit under a province3, subdivided into barangays6, and is called town, or “bayan”. In the Philippines, a municipality is headed by a mayor, a vice mayor and members of the Sangguniang Bayan (legislative branch). It can enact local policies and laws, enforce them, and govern its jurisdictions. It can enter into contracts and other transactions through its elected and appointed officials, and can tax as well. It enforces all local and national laws. There are almost 1,500 municipalities in the Philippines and there are 6 income classes of municipalities in the country (based on annual income): first class municipality (with at least 400 million pesos); second class municipality (between 320,000,000-less than 400 million pesos); third class municipality (between 240 million-less than 320 million pesos); fourth class municipality (between 160 million-less than 240 million pesos); fifth class municipality (between 80 million-less than 160 million pesos); and, sixth class municipality (below 80 million). All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Municipalities of the Philippines.”18

6A barangay is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines, headed by a barangay captain, aided by a Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council). It is the native Filipino term for a district or village. It was formerly called a barrio. In a metropolitan area, a barangay is an inner city neighborhood, a suburb, or a suburban neighborhood. The word barangay originated from the term “balangay”, a kind of boat used by a group of Austronesian people who migrated to the Philippines.A number of barangays grouped together is called a district. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Barangay.”19

7“Regions of the Philippines,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regions_of_the_Philippines.

8An administrative region in the Philippines is an administrative grouping of provinces in the Philippines, except the National Capital Region which is composed of cities4 and municipalities5, according to Wikipedia page “Administrative divisions of the Philippines”.20

9An autonomous region in the Philippines is an administrative grouping of provinces3 in the Philippines which has the authority to control the region’s culture and economy. This region2 is a minority entity that has a higher population of a particular minority ethnic group, according to Wikipedia page “Administrative divisions of the Philippines”.20

10Luzon is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It is the country’s largest (ranked 15th largest in the world) and most populated island, as well as its economical and political center. Luzon is composed of 8 regions2: Bicol, Cagayan Valley, CALABARZON, Central Luzon, Cordillera, Ilocos, MIMAROPA and the National Capital Region. The 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines are Visayas12 and Mindanao13.

11A local government unit (LGU) in the Philippines is divided into 3 levels: provinces3 and independent cities21; component cities22 and municipalities5; and, barangays6, according to Wikipedia page “Local government in the Philippines”.23

12Visayas is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It covers 3 administrative regions: Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas and Western Visayas. It consists of 6 major islands (Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Panay and Samar) mostly surrounded by the Visayan Sea, and is composed of 16 provinces, according to Wikipedia page “Visayas”.24 See the 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines: Luzon10 and Mindanao13.

13Mindanao is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It is the second largest island of the country and covers 6 administrative regions: CARAGA Region, Davao Region, Northern Mindanao, SOCCSKSARGEN, Zamboanga Peninsula, and ARMM.It is composed of 22 provinces and 33 cities. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Mindanao.”25 See the 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines: Luzon10 and Visayas12.

14“Archipelago,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archipelago.

15“Provinces of the Philippines,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_the_Philippines.

16Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) is the legislature of cities in the Philippines, with legislative and quasi-judicial powers and functions. The vice mayor of the municipality, or city, serves as the presiding officer, with councilors as members. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Sangguniang Panlungsod”26

 17“Cities of the Philippines,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cities_of_the_Philippines.

18“Municipalities of the Philippines,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipalities_of_the_Philippines.

19“Barangay,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barangay.

20“Administrative Divisions of the Philippines,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Administrative_Divisions_of_the_Philippines.

21An independent city is a type of city4 in the Philippines which is administratively and legally not subject to a province3 so it does not share its tax revenues with any province. The national government and its agencies serve such a city through sub-offices of the region2 it belongs to. It is subdivided into 2: highly urbanized city27 or independent component city28. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”17

22A component city is a type of city4 in the Philippines which does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city27. It is under the jurisdiction of a province3. If such a city is located along the boundaries of 2 or more provinces, it shall be considered part of the province of which it used to be a municipality5.

23“Local government in the Philippines,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_government_in_the_Philippines.

24“Visayas,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visayas.

25“Mindanao,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindanao.

26“Sangguniang Panlungsod,” accessed August 2, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sangguniang_Panlungsod.

27A highly urbanized city (HUC) is a type of city4 in the Philippines with a minimum population of 200,000 as certified by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and with the latest annual income of at least 50 million pesos, according to Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”.17 There are currently 33 such cities in the Philippines (see link below).

28An independent component city (ICC) is a type of city4 in the Philippines which is autonomous from the province in which it is geographically located and has a charter that explicitly prohibits its residents to vote for provincial officials (unless allowed to do so). It does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city27. There are 5 such cities in the country: Cotabato, Dagupan, Naga, Ormoc, and Santiago. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”17

29“Bangsamoro Organic Law.” accessed August 8, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangsamoro_Organic_Law

30www.newsinfo.inquirer.net

 

 

Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE NEW (2018) PHILIPPINE COINS?

I have a Balikbayan friend who arrived recently and asked me if she can still use the Philippine old coins she kept from her recent visit.

IMG_6016                   Old Philippine coins (from NGC Coins Brochure, with permission)

Well, dearest Balikbayan friend, Seniors, and other tourists who might not know about the new (2018) Philippine coins, here’s a summary:

The Central Bank of the Philippines (Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas in Filipino, abbreviated as BSP) released the complete newly designed New Generation Currency (NGC) Coin Series on March 26, 2018. The series was formally launched in July 2018, to coincide with the BSP’s 24th anniversary.

IMG_6015 - Copy                                        Summary of Designs, 2018 Philippine coins                                                                                  (from NGC Coins Brochure, with permission)

 

The old coins will remain in circulation, to coexist with the new coins, and can still be used for day-to-day business transactions until the BSP calls for their demonetization.

The NGC Series was produced using the latest technology in minting coins, and features enhanced aesthetics and security to deter counterfeiting as well as to improve wear and corrosion resistance capabilities.The BSP announced that the metallic composition of these coins similarly discourages the illegal practice of hoarding copious quantities of coins for the extraction of their metal content in overseas smelting entities.

NGC features modern designs for the 1-centavo, 5-centavo, 25-centavo, 1-peso, 5-peso, and 10-peso coins. Take note, dearest Seniors, there is no NGC 10-centavo coin. Thus, the old ten-centavo coin remains in place. Can you recall what it looks like, Foreign Senior? See the picture above.

The BSP announced that all the NGC coins have “a metallic silver appearance”, and are “made from durable nickel-plated steel that possesses very good wear and corrosion resistance”. The new coin series also addresses concerns on discoloration predominantly observed for copper-based metals.

The new coins feature the BSP logo, national heroes, and endemic flora, complementing the design of the NGC Banknote Series launched in 2010 which shows Philippine flora. These designs, features, and other specifications were the result of an extensive and in-depth study by two expert committees of the BSP – the Numismatic Committee, and the Currency Management Committee. Their proposals were reviewed by the Monetary Board and then recommended for final approval of the President of the Philippines.

flora-2018 coins-ok                               Summary of Featured Flora, 2018 Philippine coins                                                                            (from NGC Coins Brochure, with permission)

The centavo-coins of the NGC (2018) Coin Series have common features: all are silver with the obverse side (or face) featuring the stylized 3-stars-and-a-sun motif from the Philippine flag, a smooth background, and the words “Republika ng Pilipinas” on top, all covering two-thirds of the coin from the left. Occupying the remaining one-third of the face to the right are: a vertically-written year mark that appears on top; an “X sentimo” indication (depending on the denomination, 1-sentimo, 5-sentimo and 25-sentimo); and, a very small mint mark at the bottom.The smooth reverse side features an indigenous plant (distinct for each coin denomination) on the left, with the logo of the BSP on the right.

The centavo coins differ in size, type of edge, weight, and featured endemic flora:

The 1-centavo coin is a 15-mm silver coin with a plain 1.54-mm edge, weighs 1.9 grams, and features the Mangkono1 plant on the reverse side.

NGCCoinsPoster - 1-centavo

2018 Philippine NGC 1-Centavo Coin Features (from NGC Coins Poster, with permission)

1-cent-2                              Mangkono, Featured Flora, 2018 Philippine 1-centavo coin                                                                   (from NGC Coins Brochure, with permission)

The 5-centavo coin is a 16-mm silver coin with a 1.6-mm reeded-edge, weighs 2.20 grams, and features the Kapal-kapal Bagingplant on the reverse side.

NGCCoinsPoster - 5-centavo-ok

2018 Philippine NGC 5-Centavo Coin Features (from NGC Coins Poster, with permission)

5-cents-2-ok                Kapal-Kapal Baging, Featured Flora, 2018 Philippine 5-centavo coin                                                             (from NGC Coins Brochure, with permission)

The 25-centavo coin is a 20-mm silver coin with a 1.65-mm plain edge, weighs 3.60 grams, and features the Katmon3 plant on the reverse side.

NGCCoinsPoster - 25-centavo-ok

2018 Philippine NGC 25-Centavo Coin Features (from NGC Coins Poster, with permission)

25-cents-2-ok                          Katmon, Featured Flora, 2018 Philippine 25-centavo coin                                                                       (from NGC Coins Brochure, with permission)

The peso-coins of the NGC (2018) Coin Series have common features: all are silver and feature a national hero in the obverse (or face) side, with the words “Republika ng Pilipinas” on top. The right side of the face, occupying about one-third of the coin, has a vertically-written year mark, an “X piso” indication (depending on the denomination, 1 piso, 5 piso, and 10 piso), and a very small mint mark at the bottom. The reverse side features a unique endemic flora (but with different backgrounds – plain/smooth or with microprint) on the left, with the logo of the BSP centered (over different backgrounds – plain/smooth or with microprint) on the right.

The peso-coins differ in size, type of edge, weight, and featured national hero on the obverse side and endemic flora on the reverse side:

The 1-peso coin is a 23-mm silver coin with a 2.05-mm intermittent reed-edge, and weighs 6.0 grams. It features Jose Rizal4 on its smooth obverse side, and the Waling-Waling5 on its smooth reverse side.

NGCCoinsPoster - 1peso-ok

 

2018 Philippine NGC 1-Peso Coin Features (from NGC Coins Poster, with permission)

1-peso-2                   Waling-Waling, Featured Flora, 2018 Philippine 1-peso coin                                                                 (from NGC Coins Brochure, with permission)

The 5-peso coin is a 25-mm silver coin with a 2.20-mmsmooth/plain edge, and weighs 7.40 grams. It features Andres Bonifacio6 on the smooth two-thirds of the left side of its obverse, and, on the right, “5 piso” is indicated over a microprint background of “Republika ng Pilipinas”. On the reverse side, it features the Tayabakplant on the left two-thirds, and the remaining one-third has a microprint of “Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas”.

NGCCoinsPoster - 5peso-ok

2018 Philippine NGC 5-Peso Coin Features (from NGC Coins Poster, with permission)

5-peso-2                          Tayabak, Featured Flora, 2018 Philippine 5-peso coin                                                                          (from NGC Coins Brochure, with permission)

This new 5-peso coin, weighing in at 7.4 grams, is way heavier than the 6.1-gram old 1-peso coin. It is also thicker (2.2 mm vs. 1.8 mm) and slightly larger (25 mm vs. 24 mm). It has a smooth edge while the old 1-peso coin has ridges. So, with just 1-mm difference, be careful when giving out new coins. I personally find it difficult to differentiate these two coins and henceforth, I check on the face of the coin before I hand over a 1- or 5-peso coin. For the visually-impaired, it would be wise to feel the edge to differentiate the said coins.

The new 5-peso coin was released as early as December 2017 to mark the 154th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio (on November 30) and to meet the greater demand for coins during the Christmas season. This coin, along with the 10-peso coin, has “micro-printed details using laser-engraving technology” so it would be difficult to be duplicated using traditional coin counterfeiting methods.

The old 5-peso of the BSP Coin Series features the former BSP logo and Emilio Aguinaldo8. Aguinaldo was replaced by Bonifacio in the BGC coin, and the former is instead featured on the obverse side of the 200-peso NGC banknote as part of the image of the Declaration of Philippine Independence.

The 10-peso coin is a 27-mm silver coin, has a 2.05-mm milled edge with the lettering “Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas”, and weighs 8.0 grams. The obverse side is like the 5-peso coin but features Apolinario Mabinion the left side, and the “10 piso” indication over a microprint of “Republika ng Pilipinas” on the right.  The reverse side is also designed like the 5-peso coin, but features the Kapa-Kapa10 plant with microdots.

NGCCoinsPoster - 10peso-ok

2018 Philippine NGC 10-Peso Coin Features (from NGC Coins Poster, with permission)

10-peso-2                          Kapa-Kapa, Featured Flora, 2018 Philippine 10-peso coin                                                                   (from NGC Coins Brochure, with permission)

Bottomline, dearest Seniors, the differentiation between the old BSP Coin Series and the new (2018) NGC collection is achieved through visual and tactile familiarization.

The original coin picture/slide, which I cropped, were officially obtained through the BSP Currency Communications Staff and the Currency Issue and Integrity Office. The description per coin is my own, based on the information I received.

For more information, contact: Currency Issue and Integrity Office – Telephone Numbers: (02)988-4834 or (02) 352-1495; Email: ciiohelpdesk@bsp.gov.ph; BSP Corporate Affairs Office – Telephone Numbers: (02)708-7140 and (02) 708-7701 local 2876; Fax Number: (02) 708-7138; Email: corao@bsp.gov.ph; bspmail@bsp.gov.ph; Website: www.bsp.gov.ph

You can also visit – Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BangkoSentralngPilipinas; Twitter: @BangkoSentral;   Instagram: @bangkosentral; YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/BSPCORAO

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post.  Thank you!

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1The Mangkono (Xanthostemonverdugonianus) is a rare and endangered species of plant in the Myrtaceae family, endemic to the Philippines, and known to be the hardest Philippine hardwood species. Its inherent hardness and density have earned it the tag “Philippine Ironwood”. It is threatened by habitat loss due to human activity and urbanization. It can take two to four days to cut a 70-cm thick Mangkono tree with an axe compared to the average three hours for other trees with the same diameter. For this reason, diamond-point saws, together with a great volume of water (to counter overheating), have been used exclusively. It is known to have a very limited habitat, indigenous only within the “Mangkono Triangle” area (consisting of the Dinagat Island in Surigao, the Homonhon Island in Samar, and Babatngon, Leyte), and in Palawan. Information sourced from the Wikipedia page, “Xanthostemonverdugonianus” where the tree is referred to as “Magkono”.11

2The Kapal-Kapal Baging plant (Calotropis gigantea; Crown Flower) is a medium-sized (2 to 4-meter-high) shrub, with a pale bark, obovate or oblong (10-20 cm long, 3-8 cm wide, cottony beneath, heart-shaped at the base with pointed tip) light green leaves with a milky stem, that is cultivated for its long-lasting flowers. It is native to the Philippines, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and tropical Africa. The clustered, waxy flowers are either white or lavender. Each flower consists of five pointed petals and a small “crown” which holds the stamens. It is said to be the host plant of Hawaii’s monarch butterflies (recall their black-orange-white patterned four-inch wings). It is known as a Philippine medicinal plant: antibacterial; anti-diarrheal; antihyperglycemic (lowers glucose levels in the blood for diabetics); anti-inflammatory; antimicrobial; antipyretic (prevents or reduces fever); cytotoxic (able to kill cells for cancer treatment), hepatoprotective (prevents liver damage), insecticidal (destroys/controls insects); vasodilatory (widens blood vessels thereby promoting increasedblood flow); with wound healing properties; and, free radical scavenging activity.12 It seems this is a great plant with so many medicinal uses!

3The Katmon plant (Philippine Catmon) is a (6-15 meter-high) evergreen tree with leathery, shining, ovate, elliptic, or oblong-ovate 12-25 cm leaves, closely toothed at the margins, according to the Wikipedia page, “Dillenia philippinensis”.13 The large, white 6-15 cm (in diameter) flower is soft, with large fleshy sepals tightly enclosing the true fruit, and with reddish pistils and stamens. It is endemic to the Philippines and only found in forests, at low and medium altitudes. Its round, edible, 6-8 cm fruit can be cooked as a vegetable, used to flavor fish, or made into jams and sauces. It is also used in the Philippines as an alternative medicine: analgesic (pain reliever), antibacterial, antihyperglycemic (lowers glucose levels in the blood for diabetics), anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and hypoglycemic (lowers blood sugar).12 Another great plant, our very own, but sadly, it is considered a vulnerable, threatened species!

4Jose Rizal (1861-1896) is widely considered as the national hero of the Philippines. He was a Filipino patriot and a distinguished reform advocate during the end of the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines. He was also a polymath, i.e., a person with a wide-ranging knowledge/learning – he was an ophthalmologist, painter, educator, sculptor, playwright, poet, linguist and novelist. He was executed by the Spanish colonial government for the crime of rebellion, inspired in part by his writings, according to the Wikipedia page “Jose Rizal”.14 Remember, dearest Seniors, that our country has no official national hero to-date since there has been no law or proclamation for such a Philippine national symbol.

5The Waling-Waling is a flower of the orchid family, endemic to Mindanao in the provinces of Cotabato, Davao, and Zamboanga, and considered the “Queen of Philippine flowers”, according to Wikipedia page “Waling-waling”. It comes in two colors – pink and white.15

6Andres Bonifacio (1863-1897) was a Filipino revolutionary leader and the President of the Tagalog Republic, the revolutionary government involved in the Philippine revolution against Spain, from 1896-1897. He is also considered a de facto national hero of the Philippines, according to Wikipedia page “Andres Bonifacio”.16 He is often called “The Father of the Philippine Revolution”. He co-founded the Katipunan and later became “Supremo” (Supreme Leader).

7Tayabak (Strongylodonmacrobotrys) is the local term for emerald vine, jade vine, or turquoise vine. It is an endemic woody vine in Philippine tropical damp forests. Its stems can reach up to 18 meters in length. The claw-shaped, turquoise, blue-green to mint-green flowers are carried in pendent trusses, or pseudoracemes, of 75 or more flowers and can reach as much as three meters long, according to Wikipedia page “Strongylodon macrobotrys”.17 I first saw this flowering plant in Nagcarlan, Laguna, and I just loved the awesome long flowers!

8Emilio Aguinaldo (1869-1964) was the first and youngest president of the Republic of the Philippines. He was a Filipino revolutionary, politician, and military leader. He led the Philippine forces first against Spain in the latter part of the Philippine Revolution (1896-1898), and then in the Spanish-American War (1898), and finally against the United States during the Philippine-American War (1899-1901), according to Wikipedia page “Emilio Aguinaldo”.18

9Apolinario Mabini (1864-1903) was a Filipino revolutionary leader, educator, lawyer, and statesman who served first as a legal and constitutional adviser to the Revolutionary Government, and then as the first Prime Minister of the Philippines upon the establishment of the First Philippine Republic. He is known as the “Brain of the Revolution” despite having lost the use of both his legs to polio in 1896, according to Wikipedia page “Apolinario Mabini”.19

10Kapa-Kapa (Medinilla magnifica), also called showy medinilla or rose grape, is a species of flowering plant in the family of Melastomataceae, native to the Philippines, and commonly called the Philippine orchid. The flowers grow in panicles (multi-branched bunches of flowers arranged on a stem) up to 50 cm long, with ovoid pink bracts (specialized leaf with the flower). The individual flowers can measure up to 25 mm in size, and are pink, red or violet, according to Wikipedia page, “Medinilla magnifica”.20

11”Xanthostemonverdugonianus”, accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xanthostemon_verdugonianus.

12www.stuartxchange.org

13“Dillenia philippinensis”, accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dillena philippinensis.

14“Jose Rizal”, accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jose_Rizal.

15“Waling-waling”, accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waling-waling.

16“Andres Bonifacio”, accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andres_Bonifacio.

17“Strongylodon macrobotrys”, accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strongylodon_macrobotrys.

18“Emilio Aguinaldo”, accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emilio_Aguinaldo.

19“Apolinario Mabini”, accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apolinario_ Mabini.

20“Medinilla magnifica”, accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medinilla_magnifica.

Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT IS VISITA IGLESIA?

Filipinos observed Holy Week 2018 from March 25-31, and foreign tourists asked me: “What is Visita Iglesia?”

VISITA IGLESIA (or SEVEN CHURCHES VISITATION) is the Roman Catholic Lenten practice to visit seven (and even 14) churches during Holy Week, traditionally on the evening of Maundy Thursday, to pray before the Blessed Sacrament in each church, according to the Wikipedia page “Seven Churches Visitation”.1

There are no set prayers given by the Catholic Church for this activity, except to pray for the intentions of the Pope and recite the Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary and Glory Be. Some may opt to pray the Stations of the Cross2.

Way of the cross - 1-3

Way of the cross-4-6

Way of the cross-7-9

Way of the cross -10-12

Way of the cross-13-14.jpg

Historically, this Lenten observance was started by Saint Philip Neri3 around 1553. He initiated the tradition of making a one-day pilgrimage to seven churches, starting from St. Peter’s Basilica (www.varicanstate.va) and ending at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore (www.vatican.va), often with music and a picnic on the way, according to the Wikipedia page “Philip Neri”.

The Catholic Church commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples through the Mass of the Lord’s Supper or Service of Worship for Maundy Thursday, along with the “Washing of the Feet” reenactment. The chancels4 are traditionally stripped, with the altars often draped with black paraments5, in preparation for Good Friday, and as a symbol of humiliation and barrenness of the cross, according to Wikipedia page “Mass of the Lord’s Supper”.6 Countries slightly vary on the observance of this Lenten tradition.

In the Philippines, Catholics generally visit seven churches, traditionally either Maundy Thursday or Good Friday, but nowadays, any day of the Holy Week. They recite two Stations of the Cross per church. Seniors, and those who are sick and are not able to travel, visit just one church, while those who are very pious and able, tend to visit fourteen churches — one for each Station — usually accompanied by family members and/or or parish members, serving also as bonding time as well as an opportunity to sample the local cuisine and enjoy sites in the towns/cities visited. Offerings can be made at each church and to the poor as a form of almsgiving. There is even a bicycle tour, called “Bisikleta Iglesia”, organized in 2010, with a route covering seven churches.1

I had a very early Visita Iglesia this year in Laguna with two of my elementary batchmates, one of whom is a balikbayan (returning Filipino) and whom I have not seen since elementary graduation (please don’t ask when LOL). I toured them in different towns and saw to it that we were able to visit seven churches, which I will feature one by one in this blog in the future, but for now, I will only mention them and show some pictures.

We visited the following towns (and their parish churches): Pakil (San Pedro de Alcantara Church), Pangil (Nuestra Señora de la Natividad Parish Church), Paete (Saint James the Apostle Parish Church), Lumban (San Sebastian Parish Curch), Pagsanjan (Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Church), Liliw (Saint John the Baptist Church) and Pila (San Antonio de Padua Parish Church). We skipped Sta. Cruz, Laguna, because the Immaculate Concepcion Parish Church was closed when we went there. I will feature these churches in future posts.

1-Pakil church-altarPakil, Laguna – SAN PEDRO DE ALCANTARA PARISH CHURCH’s altar (church was founded in 1676)

1-Panguil church - facadePangil, Laguna – NUESTRA SEÑORA DE LA NATIVIDAD PARISH CHURCH (founded in 1579)

1-Paete church facadePaete, Laguna – SAINT JAMES THE APOSTLE PARISH CHURCH (founded in 1580)

1-Lumban-church-facade-with paxLumban, Laguna – SAN SEBASTIAN PARISH CHURCH (founded in 1578)

1-Pagsanjan church - facadePagsanjan, Laguna – OUR LADY OF GUDALUPE PARISH CHURCH (founded in 1687)

1-Liliw-church-facadeLiliw, Laguna –  SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH CHURCH (founded in 1605)

1-Pila-church-facadePila, Laguna – SAN ANTONIO DE PADUA PARISH CHURCH (founded in 1578)

Did you find this post informative? Do you have other travel trivia/information which you would like me to feature? I would like to hear from you so please leave a comment. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” box on the lower right corner of your device. Please do not forget to “like” this post and share it with your Facebook friends. Thank you!

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1 Seven Churches Visitation,” accessed March 21, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Churches_Visitation.

2The Stations of the Cross or the Way of the Cross, Ways of Sorrow, or Via Crucis, refers to the series of fourteen images depicting Jesus Christ on the day of His crucifixion and accompanying prayers, considered to be patterned after Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem which is believed to be the actual path Jesus walked to Mount Calvary. The devotion of Roman Catholics to do the Way of the Cross during Holy Week is like a spiritual pilgrimage through the contemplation of the Passion of Christ (the final period of the life of Jesus from His entrance in Jerusalem till His crucifixion on Mount Calvary). The 14 stations are: (1) Pilate condemns Jesus to die; (2) Jesus accepts His cross; (3) Jesus falls for the first time; (4) Jesus meets His mother, Mary; (5) Simon helps carry the cross; (6) Veronica wipes the face of Jesus; (7) Jesus falls for the second time; (8) Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem; (9) Jesus falls for the third time; (10) Jesus is stripped of His clothes; (11) Jesus is nailed to the cross; (12) Jesus dies on the cross; (13) Jesus is taken down from the cross; and, (14) Jesus is placed in the tomb. All these are according to the Wikipedia page “Stations of the Cross”.7

3Saint Philip Neri (Philip Romolo Neri or Flippo Romolo Neri) was an Italian priest known for a society of secular clergy called the Congregation of the Oratory. He is called the Third Apostle of Rome, after Saints Peter and Paul, according to the Wikipedia page “Philip Neri”.8

4A chancel is the space around the altar, including the choir and the sanctuary, of a traditional Christian church building, according to the Wikipedia page “Chancel”.9

5Paraments are the ornaments of a room of state, like the liturgical hangings on and around the altar, the cloths hanging from the pulpit and lectern, as well as the ecclesiastical vestments, mitres, and altar cloths, with colors changing on the season of the year (e.g., purple for Lent and white for Christmas and Easter), according to the Wikipedia page “Parament”.10

6Mass of the Lord’s Supper,” accessed March 21, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_of_the_Lord’s_Supper.

7”Stations of the Cross,” accessed March 21, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stations_of_the_Cross.

8“Philip Neri,” accessed March 21, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Neri.

9 “Chancel,” accessed March 21, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chancel.

10“Parament,” accessed March 21, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parament.

Foreign Seniors Ask: DO I NEED A VISA TO VISIT THE PHILIPPINES? HOW LONG CAN I EXTEND MY STAY AS A TOURIST?

I hope this blog catches the attention of foreign seniors/travelers who might be interested to visit my beloved country – the Philippines – and are wondering if they need a visa. Or, dearest Filipino Seniors, you might have new friends who are planning to visit you here in our country. Do they need a visa?

Well, ask no more! A foreign tourist1 (from the 154 countries, enumerated below) with a regular passport can visit the Philippines WITHOUT A VISA IF S/HE WILL STAY FOR 30 DAYS OR LESS, provided s/he has a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the period of stay in the Philippines, and a return ticket or a ticket to another destination outside the Philippines. These countries are:

  1. Andorra
  2. Angola
  3. Antigua and Barbuda
  4. Argentina
  5. Australia
  6. Austria
  7. Bahamas
  8. Bahrain
  9. Barbados
  10. Belgium
  11. Belize
  12. Benin
  13. Bhutan
  14. Bolivia
  15. Botswana
  16. Brunei
  17. Bulgaria
  18. Burkina Faso
  19. Burundi
  20. Cambodia
  21. Cameroon
  22. Canada
  23. Cape Verde
  24. Central African Republic
  25. Chad
  26. Chile
  27. Colombia
  28. Comoros
  29. Congo, Democratic Republic of
  30. Congo, Republic of the
  31. Costa Rica
  32. Cote d’Ivoire
  33. Croatia
  34. Cyprus
  35. Czech Republic
  36. Denmark
  37. Djibouti
  38. Dominica
  39. Dominican Republic
  40. Ecuador
  41. El Salvador
  42. Equatorial Guinea
  43. Eritrea
  44. Estonia
  45. Ethiopia
  46. Fiji
  47. Finland
  48. France
  49. Gabon
  50. Gambia
  51. Germany
  52. Ghana
  53. Greece
  54. Grenada
  55. Guatemala
  56. Guinea
  57. Guinea-Bissau
  58. Guyana
  59. Haiti
  60. Honduras
  61. Hungary
  62. Iceland
  63. Indonesia
  64. Ireland
  65. Italy
  66. Jamaica
  67. Japan
  68. Kazakhstan
  69. Kenya
  70. Kiribati
  71. Kuwait
  72. Kyrgyzstan
  73. Laos
  74. Latvia
  75. Lesotho
  76. Liberia
  77. Liechtenstein
  78. Lithuania
  79. Luxembourg
  80. Madagascar
  81. Malawi
  82. Malaysia
  83. Maldives
  84. Mali
  85. Malta
  86. Marshall Islands
  87. Mauritania
  88. Mauritius
  89. Mexico
  90. Micronesia
  91. Monaco
  92. Mongolia
  93. Morocco
  94. Mozambique
  95. Myanmar
  96. Namibia
  97. Nepal
  98. Netherlands
  99. New Zealand
  100. Nicaragua
  101. Niger
  102. Norway
  103. Oman
  104. Palau
  105. Panama
  106. Papua New Guinea
  107. Paraguay
  108. Peru
  109. Poland
  110. Qatar
  111. Romania
  112. Russia
  113. Rwanda
  114. Saint Kitts and Nevis
  115. Saint Lucia
  116. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  117. Samoa
  118. San Marino
  119. Sao Tome and Principe
  120. Saudi Arabia
  121. Senegal
  122. Seychelles
  123. Singapore
  124. Slovak Republic
  125. Slovenia
  126. Solomon Islands
  127. South Africa
  128. South Korea (Republic of Korea)
  129. Spain
  130. Suriname
  131. Swaziland
  132. Sweden
  133. Switzerland
  134. Tajikistan
  135. Tanzania
  136. Thailand
  137. Togo
  138. Trinidad and Tobago
  139. Tunisia
  140. Turkey
  141. Turkmenistan
  142. Tuvalu
  143. Uganda
  144. United Arab Emirates
  145. United Kingdom
  146. United States
  147. Uruguay
  148. Uzbekistan
  149. Vanuatu
  150. Vatican City
  151. Venezuela
  152. Vietnam
  153. Zambia
  154. Zimbabwe

Citizens of Taiwan may apply for an entry permit through the Electronic System for Travel Authorizationat the website of the Philippine Representative Office in Taiwan, the Manila Economic and Cultural Office: www.meco.org.tw.

Foreigners from Brazil and Israel are given 59 days to stay visa-free in the Philippines, and those from Hong Kong, Macau and Portugal (with passports issued to permanent residents of Macau only) are given 14 days.

Nationals of China traveling as tourists and holding a valid visa issued by Australia, Canada, Japan, United States or a Schengen Area3 state may enter and stay without a visa for up to 7 days.

Nationals of India holding a valid business, resident, or tourist visa issued by Australia, Canada, Japan, Singapore, the United Kingdom, United States, or a Schengen Area3 state may enter and stay without a visa for up to 14 days.

Upon arrival, you will receive a free Visa Waiver, given at the immigration desk in airports and ports.

Visit www.immigration.gov.ph for more details.

THE EXTENSION OF THE PHILIPPINE VISA

Assuming that foreign tourists from the countries enumerated above enjoyed their stay in the Philippines and decided to extend their stay beyond 30 days, can they? The answer is YES!

If you want to stay longer than 30 days in the Philippines, you can obtain a Visa Extension from the Philippine Embassy or Consulate in your country, even before your trip. If you are already in the Philippines, you can obtain it from the Bureau of Immigration; just be sure to have it extended more than a week before the expiry date.

The extension of the Visa Waiver for another 29 days costs 3,130 pesos. This can then be extended every two months thereafter for up to 16 months in total. Consult the said website’s “Visa Extension” section.

The Philippine Bureau of Immigration is very strict, so visa violations and overstays often result in penalties, imprisonment, and deportation.

Please note that the information in this post is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information. Visit www.immigration.gov.ph and go to “Procedures for foreigners”.

For holders of diplomatic, official, or service passports, as well as an APEC Business Travel Card, you can stay longer (ranging from 59 days to 3 months). Visit the official website of the Bureau of Immigration: www.immigration.gov.ph

Did you find this post informative? Do you have other travel trivia/information that you would like me to feature? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to the upper right part of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” box on the lower right corner of your device. Thank you!

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1A tourist holds an ordinary/regular passport; s/he is not a holder of a diplomatic, official or service passport or even an APEC Business Travel Card. NOTE: Holders of diplomatic, official or service passports as well as an APEC Business Travel Card can stay longer (ranging from 59 days to 3 months); please visit the official website of the Bureau of Immigration: www.immigration.gov.ph

2The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel.

3The Schengen Area refers to an area comprising 26 European states that have officially abolished passport and all other type of border control at their mutual borders: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. This area acts as a single jurisdiction for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy. Do you want to know where the term Schengen came from? The Schengen Agreement was signed on June 14, 1985 near the town of Schengen, Luxembourg, by 5 countries (Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands and West Germany), effective March 26, 1995. The agreement proposed the gradual abolition of border checks at the signatories’ common borders and common visa policies. A Schengen Convention followed in 1990. All these are according to the Wikipedia page “Schengen Area”.4

4Schengen Area,” accessed December 15, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Area.

Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE NATIONAL SYMBOLS OF THE PHILIPPINES?

Last month, a foreigner asked me what the national symbols of my country are. I enumerated what I remembered from elementary school with one or two which I recalled have been changed, like the national bird and motto. But this made me think, are there other updates/changes? Do you know them all, dearest Seniors? Well, here is the result of my research.

The following are official national symbols of the Philippines, all enacted through law, prior to 1998:

  1. Coat of Arms of the Philippines – The coat of arms was adopted on July 3, 1946 through Commonwealth Act No. 731, and reaffirmed on February 12, 1998 through Republic Act No. 8491.
  2. Lupang Hinirang – The national anthem with the music adopted on June 12, 1898 through a proclamation of President Emilio Aguinaldo, and the lyrics adopted on May 26, 1958 through an Administrative Order by the Department of Education. This was reaffirmed on February 12, 1998 by Republic Act No. 8491.
  3. Philippine eagle (Pithecophagajefferyi) – It was initially adopted as the national bird on July 4, 1995, through Proclamation No. 615.
  4. Flag of the Philippines – The national flag was adopted on June 12, 1898 through a proclamation of President Emilio Aguinaldo and reaffirmed on February 12, 1998 by Republic Act No. 8491.
  5. Sampaguita (Jasminum sambac) – It was initially adopted as the national flower on February 1, 1934 through Executive Proclamation No. 652, issued by Governor General Frank Murphy.
  6. Philippine pearl (Pinctada maxima) – It was initially adopted as the national gem on October 15, 1996, through Proclamation No. 905.
  7. Filipino – This is the national language, adopted on February 11, 1987 through Article XIV, Section 6 of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines.
  8. “Isang bansa, isang diwa” (One nation, one spirit) – national motto; see my post: (I will insert the link here)
  9. Narra (Pterocarpus indicus) – It was initially adopted as the national tree on February 1, 1934, through Executive Proclamation No. 652.

There were new and reaffirmed national symbols of the Philippines enacted through law, by Republic Act 8491 (The Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines), passed by President Fidel V. Ramos on February 12, 1998:

  1. Philippine eagle (Pithecophagajefferyi) – It was initially adopted as the national bird on July 4, 1995, through Proclamation No. 615.
  2. Sampaguita (Jasminum sambac) – It was initially adopted as the national flower on February 1, 1934 through Executive Proclamation No. 652, issued by Governor General Frank Murphy.
  3. Philippine pearl (Pinctada maxima) – It was initially adopted as the national gem on October 15, 1996, through Proclamation No. 905.
  4. “Maka-Diyos, maka-tao, makakalikasan, at makabansa” (For God, for the people, for nature and for the country) – This is the new and current national motto. See my post: (I will place the link here)
  5. Arnis – It was recognized as the national sport and martial artand reaffirmed by Republic Act No. 9850 on December 11, 2009.
  6. Narra (Pterocarpus indicus) – It was initially adopted as the national tree on February 1, 1934, through Executive Proclamation No. 652.

Now, now, dearest Seniors, I know what you are thinking: Tita S, where are the other national symbols we were taught or knew for some time? Well, bottomline, the proper authorities have not declared/enacted them through law, so they are unofficial, i.e., not officially recognized as national symbols.

Take the case of our national hero:

  1. On November 15, 1995, the Technical Committee of the National Heroes Committee, created through Executive Order No. 5 by former President Fidel Ramos, recommended nine Filipino historical figures to National Heroes: Jose Rizal1, Emilio Aguinaldo2, Melchora Aquino3, Andres Bonifacio4, Marcelo H. del Pilar5, Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat(declared a national hero during the presidency of President Marcos), Juan Luna7, Apolinario Mabini8, and Gabriela Silang9. However, to-date, they have not yet been declared as national heroes.
  2. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo officially declared Benigno Aquino, Jr.10, as one of the national heroes, through an Executive Order in 2003.
  3. Congresswoman Liwayway Vinzons-Chato filed House Joint Resolution No. 42 declaring the nine heroes recommended by the Technical Committee above, along with two other historical figures (Benigno Aquino, Jr.10 and Corazon Aquino11) during the 14th Congress (July 23, 2007-June 9, 2010).12

But wait! Foreign Seniors, whenever you visit a town/city in the country, go to the plaza, usually fronting or beside the municipal/city hall, because most of the time, there will be a bust, statue or monument of Rizal. Ask the name of the main or major street in a town, most likely it is named after Jose Rizal! Doesn’t these prove that Dr. Jose Rizal deserves to be the national hero? He even has so many monuments worldwide. See a related post: (I will place the link here)

On January 17, 2014, Bohol First District representative Rene Relampagos filed a bill at the Philippine House of Representatives, House Bill 3926, or the “Philippine National Symbols Act of 2014”, that sought to declare and re-declare and to recognize a number of national symbols like: the coat of arms (Commonwealth Act No. 731 and reaffirmed by Republic Act No. 8491), Jose Rizal1 (as the only historical Filipino to be recognized as a national hero), adobo13 (as national food), anahaw14 (as national leaf), carabao (as national animal), mango (as national fruit), bangus15 (as national fish), baro’t saya16 (as national costume), bakya17 (as national slippers), bahay-kubo18 (as national house), jeepney19 (as national vehicle), Bayan Ko20 (as national song), cariñosa21 (as national dance), the national flag (proclaimed by President Emilio Aguinaldo and reaffirmed by Republic Act No. 8491), and MakaDiyos, Makatao, Makakalikasan at Makabansa (Pro-God, pro-people, pro-environment and nationalist).22

The House of Representatives approved, on third and final reading, House Bill 7070 declaring the balangay23 as the national boat, sponsored by Congressmen Ramon H. Durano VI and Lawrence Lemuel H. Fortun, but was not enacted as a law.24

Oh, no! So, we officially do not have a national hero, nor a national boat, nor the following:

  1. adobo, lechon25, or sinigang26 (national food);
  2. anahaw14 (national leaf);
  3. bakya17 (national slippers);
  4. bangus15 (national fish);
  5. barong27 and baro’t saya16 (national costume, his and hers);
  6. “Bayan Ko”20 (national song);
  7. carabao (national animal);
  8. cariñosa21 or tinikling28 (national dance);
  9. Jose Rizal1 (national hero);
  10. Jeepney19 (national vehicle);
  11. Juan de la Cruz29 (national personification, symbolizing the Filipino people);
  12. Malacañang Palace30 (national seat of government);
  13. mango (national fruit);
  14. Manila (national capital);
  15. National Seal (modified version of the coat of arms of the Philippines);
  16. nipa hut (bahay kubo18, national house);
  17. Philippine peso (national currency);
  18. sipa31 (national sport); and,

Unfortunately, all these were also not included in the said 1998 law, RA 8491, and still need to be formally declared as national symbols. So, to-date, these do not have any official status.

Remember, a Philippine national symbol can only be considered official if it is declared through a new law or a proclamation, after consultation with the public. And now we all know!

All symbols cited are according to the Wikipedia page, “National symbols of the Philippines.”32

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1Jose Rizal (1861-1896) is widely considered as the national hero of the Philippines. He was a Filipino patriot and a distinguished reform advocate during the end of the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines. He was also a polymath, i.e., a person with a wide-ranging knowledge/learning – he was an ophthalmologist, painter, educator, sculptor, playwright, poet, linguist, and novelist. He was executed by the Spanish colonial government for the crime of rebellion, allegedly inspired in part by his writings, according to the Wikipedia page “Jose Rizal”.33

2Emilio Aguinaldo (1869-1964) was the first and youngest president of the Republic of the Philippines. He was a Filipino revolutionary, politician, and military leader. He led the Philippine forces first against Spain in the latter part of the Philippine Revolution (1896-1898), and then in the Spanish-American War (1898), and finally against the United States during the Philippine-American War (1899-1901), according to Wikipedia page “Emilio Aguinaldo”.34

3Melchora Aquino (1812-1919), commonly known as “Tandang Sora”, was a Filipino revolutionary during the Spanish regime. Her store became a refuge for the sick and wounded revolutionaries. She fed them and gave them motherly advice and prayers so she was given the titles “Mother of Balintawak”, “Woman of Revolution”, and “Mother of the Philippine Revolution”, according to Wikipedia page “Melchora Aquino”.35

4Andres Bonifacio (1863-1897) was a Filipino revolutionary leader and the President of the Tagalog Republic, the revolutionary government involved in the Philippine revolution against Spain, from 1896-1897. He is considered a de facto national hero of the Philippines, according to Wikipedia page “Andres Bonifacio”.36 He is often called “The Father of the Philippine Revolution”. He co-founded the Katipunan and later became its “Supremo” (Supreme Leader).

5Marcelo H. del Pilar (1850-1896) was a Filipino journalist, lawyer, writer, and freemason. He was a leader of the Reform Movement in Spain, together with Jose Rizal and Graciano Lopez Jaena. He is commonly known for his pen name – Plaridel. He was a leading propagandist for reforms in the Philippines as well as editor and co-publisher of La Solidaridad, a newspaper published in Barcelona, Spain, for 6 years.Said newspaper revealed the social, cultural, and economic conditions of colonial Philippines, and featured the speeches of the Spanish liberals about the country. Information is from Wikipedia page “Marcelo H. del Pilar”.37

6Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat (1581-1671) was the 7th Sultan of Maguindanao (1619-1871) who, during his reign, successfully fought off Spanish invasions. He was declared a national hero during the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos. Information is from Wikipedia page “Muhammad Kudarat”.38

7Juan Luna (1857-1899) was a Filipino painter, sculptor, and a political activist of the Philippine Revolution during the late 19th century. He is known for his famous painting – the Spoliarium – which won the first gold medal (out of three) in Exposicion Nacional de BellasArtes in 1884 in Madrid. In 1896, he was captured and imprisoned in Fort Santiago on suspicion of being a Katipunero39. Information is from Wikipedia page “Juan Luna”.40

8Apolinario Mabini (1864-1903) was a Filipino revolutionary leader, educator, lawyer, and statesman who served first as a legal and constitutional adviser to the Revolutionary Government, and then as the first Prime Minister of the Philippines, upon the establishment of the First Philippine Republic. He is known as the “Brain of the Revolution” despite having lost the use of both his legs to polio in 1896, according to Wikipedia page “Apolinario Mabini”.41

9Gabriela Silang (1731-1763) was a Filipino revolutionary leader known as the first female leader of a Filipino movement for independence from Spain. She took over Diego Silang’s (her husband’s) revolutionary movement after his assassination in 1763, leading the Ilokano rebel movement for four months before she was captured and executed by the colonial government of the Spanish East Indies. Information is from Wikipedia page “Gabriela Silang”.42

10Benigno Simeon “Ninoy”Aquino, Jr. (1932-1983) was a senator of the Philippines and, together with Gerry Roxas and Jovito Salonga, formed the leadership of the opposition against President Ferdinand Marcos. He was arrested in 1972, incarcerated for seven years, allowed to seek medical treatment in the USA for his heart attack, stayed in self-exile in the USA, and returned to the Philippines in 1983, but was assassinated at the Manila International Airport. Information is from Wikipedia page “Benigno Aquino Jr.”.43

11Maria Corazon“Cory” Cojuangco Aquino (1933-2009) was the wife of Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. She eventually became the 11th President of the Philippines after the 1986 People Power Revolution. She was the first woman to assume this office. Information according to Wikipedia page “Corazon Aquino”.44 CongresswomanVinzons-Chato stated that she deserves to be a modern national hero (as Asia’s Joan of Arc and modern Gabriela Silang9) because she restored Philippine democracy that led to the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986. In addition, she was recognized as a democracy icon by the international community (e.g., honored as Time Woman of the Year, 1986; recipient of the J. William Fullbright Prize for International Understanding, 1996; recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding, 1998; and, a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, 1986).12

12www.news.abs-cbn.com

13Adobo is a Filipino dish, Spanish-inspired, where meat (usually pork and/or chicken) is stewed with vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves and peppercorns.

14Anahaw or round-leaf fountain palm (Saribusrotundifolius) isa palm tree found in Southeast Asia. It is also called Luyong in Filipino. The leaves are used for thatching and food wrapping. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Anahaw”.45

15Bangus or milkfish is the sole living species in the family Chanidae which grows to be no more than 1 meter in length. It has an elongated and almost compressed body, with a generally symmetrical and streamlined appearance, one dorsal fin, falcate pectoral fins, and a sizable forked caudal fin. Its body color is olive green, with silvery flanks and dark bordered fins. Its mouth is small and toothless. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Bangus”.46

16Baro’t saya is the (unofficial) national dress of the Philippines. Traditionally made of piña (a fiber made from the leaves of the pineapple plant), it is the feminine equivalent of the barong27. This conservative attire is composed of a blouse called “baro”, with butterfly sleeves, and the skirt is called “saya”, generally fashioned out of opaque plaid or striped cotton and sinamay varieties. An “alampay” is a square kerchief usually made of the same fabric as the saya, worn over the “baro” to cover the breasts which also doubles as a veil, later called the “panuelo”. An overskirt made of a darker and thicker material called a “tapis” is wrapped around the lower half of the woman’s body and tied at the waist or below the breasts. It is the pre-colonial clothing of the Tagalogs and Visayans made of silk in matching colors, exclusively worn by women from the upper class; those belonging to the lower caste wore a “baro” made from pounded white bark fiber. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Baro’t saya”.47

17Bakya, or wooden clogs, was the common footwear in the Philippines before the rubber slippers. It was made from local light wood like santol and laniti. It is cut to the desired foot size before being shaven until smooth. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Bakya”.48

18Bahay kubo or nipa hut, is a native house of the indigenous people of the Philippines before the Spaniards arrived. Originally made of bamboo, it is considered an icon of Philippine culture. Anahaw14 thatching material is often used for its roof. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Nipa hut”.49

19Jeepney is the most popular means of public transportation in the Philippines. It was originally made from the US military jeeps left over from World War II.

20Bayan Ko is a popular patriotic song and kundiman (Filipino love song) of the Philippines, originally penned in Spanish by the Revolutionary general Jose Alejandrino as opposition to the on-going American Occupation (1898-1946), and translated into Tagalog by the poet, Jose Corazon de Jesus. It is also used as a protest song by different political groups at various points in Philippine history. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Bayan Ko”.50

21Cariñosa is a Philippine dance of colonial era origin from the Maria Clara suite of Filipino folk dances, where the fan or handkerchief plays an instrumental role as it places the couples dancing in a romantic scenario. It originated in the Panay Island in the Visayan region and was introduced by the Spaniards during their colonization of the Philippines. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Cariñosa”.51

22www.manilatimes.net

23Balangay or Butuan boat is the oldest watercraft found in the Philippines which is a plank boat adjoined by a carved-out plank edged through pins and dowels. It was the first wooden watercraft excavated in Southeast Asia and is evidence of early Filipino craftsmanship and their seamanship skills during pre-colonial times.Information is from the Wikipedia page “Balangay”.52

24www.news.mb.com.ph and www.congress.gov.ph

25Lechon is a pork dish, popularly served during fiestas and special occasions in the Philippines. It is the Spanish term for “roasted suckling pig”, according to the Wikipedia page “Lechon”.53

26Sinigang is a Tagalog sour-savory soup/stew made of meat/fish, vegetables (like tomatoes, water spinach, yardlong beans, eggplant, finger-long peppers, okra, radish, taro) and a sour ingredient (e.g., fresh tamarind or powdered tamarind mix, guava, kamias, calamansi, santol or unripe mango) in the Philippines, according to the Wikipedia page “Sinigang”.54

27Barong is the short term forBarong Tagalog, the traditional, lightweight, long-sleeved, embroidered, formal shirt for Filipino males. It is worn untucked over an undershirt. It is considered the (unofficial) national dress of the Philippines. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Barong”.55

28Tinikling is a traditional Filipino folk dance where 2 people (the “clackers” or ”clickers”) sit or kneel on the ground holding a parallel pair of bamboo poles which they then tap, and slide together on the ground (or on 2 raised pieces of wood). The poles are tapped twice on the ground on the first 2 beats then brought together on the 3rd beat, with the tempo progressing faster and faster. Two or more barefoot dancers then step over and in between the poles to the rhythm of the 1-2-3 beat. In some instances, more pairs of clackers and bamboo poles are utilized, and the dancers then weave through the rapidly moving bamboo poles. The dancers need to be skillful and agile enough to follow the rhythm to ensure that their ankles/feet do not get caught between the poles when these are snapped closed on the 3rd beat. The dancers start with their hands at their hips or clasped behind their backs, then they hold hands when the tempo becomes faster, and end by letting go of each other’s hands and stepping out of the moving bamboo poles. Traditionally, the tinikling is performed to rondalla music, an ensemble of stringed instruments (e.g., bandurrias, guitars, laúdes, octavinasor ukuleles), with the female participants wearing a dress called balintawak or patadyong, and their male counterparts wearing thebarong27. NOTE: Tinikling means “to perform like a ‘tikling’, a local bird” that walks gracefully and speedily between grass stems and runs over tree branches. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Tinikling”.56

29Juan de la Cruz is the national personification of the Philippines, often used to represent the “Filipino everyman”, coined by Robert McCulloch-Dick, the editor-publisher of The Philippine Free Press in the 1900s. He is usually depicted wearing the native hat, barong27, long pants and tsinelas (Filipino for slippers). Information is from the Wikipedia page “Juan de la Cruz”.57

30Malacañang Palace is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the Philippines, located in the city of Manila.

31Sipa is a traditional Filipino game where players kick or toss a washer covered with colorful threads using a foot. A player starts to toss the washer and counts the number of times s/he does it successfully without the washer touching the ground. The player who has the most kicks wins the game. Sipa literally means “kick”. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Sipa”.58

32“National symbols of the Philippines,”accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_symbols_of_the_Phlippines.

33“Jose Rizal,”accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jose_Rizal.

34“Emilio Aguinaldo,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emilio_Aguinaldo.

35“Melchora Aquino,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melchora_Aquino.

36“Andres Bonifacio,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andres_Bonifacio.

37“Marcelo H. del Pilar,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcelo_H._del_Pilar.

38“Muhammad Kudarat,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Kudarat.

39Katipunero refers to a Filipino who was a member of the Philippine secret revolutionary society, called the Katipunan. This secret society was founded by anti-Spanish colonialism Filipinos in Manila in 1892, and its primary aim was to gain independence from Spain through a revolution. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Katipunan”.59

40“Juan Luna,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_Luna.

41“Apolinario Mabini,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apolinario_Mabini.

42 “Gabriela Silang,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriela_Silang.

43“Benigno Aquino Jr.,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benigno_Aquino_Jr.

44“Corazon Aquino” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corazon_Aquino.

45“Anahaw,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anahaw.

46“Bangus,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangus.

47“Baro’t saya,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baro’t_saya.

48“Bakya,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakya.

49“Nipa hut,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nipa_hut.

50“Bayan Ko,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayan_Ko.

51“Cariñosa,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cariñosa.

52“Balangay,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balangay.

53“Lechon,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lechon.

54“Sinigang,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinigang.

55“Barong,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barong.

56“Tinikling,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinikling.

57“Juan de la Cruz,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_de_la_Cruz.

58“Sipa,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_de_la_Cruz.

59“Katipunan,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katipunan.

Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT IS THE NATIONAL MOTTO OF THE PHILIPPINES?

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!

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post.  Thank you!

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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, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isang_Bansa,_Isang_Diwa.

3“Maka-Diyos, Maka-Tao, Makakalikasan at Makabansa”, accessed February 4, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maka-Diyos,_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:

ENGLISH VERSION

FILIPINO VERSION

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

 5www.wikivividly.com