Perlas ng Silangan – Pearl of the East – is the name of the Philippines, an archipelago that lies between the South China Sea (which the government in Manila has since renamed the West Philippine Sea) in the west and the Pacific Ocean in the east and forms a link between Southeast and East Asia. With a land area of 300,000 km², the country is smaller than the Federal Republic of Germany (357,030 km²).
As a visible part of two continental plates sliding on top of each other, the Philippine and the Eurasian, the island kingdom is part of the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, a chain of mountain ranges that is responsible for volcanism and earthquakes. There have been repeated volcanic eruptions in recent years – including Mount Mayon, located approx. 500 km southeast of the metropolis of Manila. Mount Apo (at 2,954 m the highest mountain in the country) on Mindanao and Mount Pulog (2,928 m) and Mount Pinatubo (1,475 m) on Luzon form the highest peaks in the country. Wikipedia lists the active volcanoes.
The Philippines are divided into three geographic areas – the largest and economically most important island of Luzon in the north (including the capital Manila), the central Visaya archipelago, and Mindanao and the Sulu Islands in the south. Luzon is the largest island with 105,000 km², followed by Mindanao with 95,000 km².
According to areacodesexplorer, the Philippines is the 24th most populous country in the world with 346 people per km². According to the 2017 census, the annual population growth is 1.57 percent.
Republic Act No. 8491, Republic Law No. 8491, stated that there are a total of four state symbols of the republic – the national anthem, the national flag, the motto and the state coat of arms.
The national motto
reads: Maka-Diyos, Maka-Tao, Makakalikasan, Makabansa
(For God, the people, the nature, and the land)
In the tourism industry, the carabao (water buffalo), barong tagalog (the long-sleeved shirt made of pineapple fiber worn by men on festive occasions), the mango, sampaguita (jasmine-like flower), the monkey-eating Philippine eagle and bangus (milk fish) are nationalized Praised symbols. But these are only country specifics – comparable to Lederhosen in Bavaria or windmills in the Netherlands.
The national flag of the Philippines was created on June 12, 1898, when Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed independence from Spain and the first republic in Asia. At Aguinaldo’s behest, it was Marcela Agoncillo, her daughter Lorenza and Delfina Herbosa who sewed the first flag. This became the national flag and consists of two blue-red stripes and a white triangle on the left edge. In the center of this triangle there is an eight-pointed sun and a five-pointed golden star at each of the three ends. If the country is at war, the flag is turned or flipped so that the red instead of the blue stripe is on top.
The sun means freedom, the eight rays stand for the eight provinces in which the population was the first to rise against the Spaniards. The three stars symbolize the three main islands Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
The website of the flag lexicon provides information about the origin and meaning of national symbols – for example flags and coats of arms.
The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
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
(Unofficial English translation)
I am a Filipino
I pledge my allegiance
To the flag of the Philippines
And to the country it represents
With honor, justice and freedom
Put in motion by one nation
For God, humanity
National coat of arms
The national coat of arms is one of the four national symbols of the republic.
It consists of an eight-pointed sun and three five-pointed stars. The eight-pointed sun stands for the eight provinces in which the population was the first to rise against the Spaniards. The three five-pointed stars symbolize the main geographic regions of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. And in the blue field on the left there is an eagle and in the red field on the right a lion, both of which are reminiscent of the colonial past.
Perlas ng silanganan
Alab ng puso,
Sa dibdib mo’y buhay.
Duyan ka ng magiting,
‘Di ka pasisiil.
Sa dagat at bundok,
Sa simoy at sa langit mong bughaw,
May dilag ang tula,
At awit sa paglayang minamahal.
Ang kislap ng watawat mo’y
Tagumpay na nagniningning,
Ang bituin at araw niya,
Kailan pa ma’y ‘di magdidilim,
Lupa ng araw, ng luwalhati’t pagsinta,
Buhay ay langit sa piling mo;
Aming ligaya na pag may mang-aapi,
Ang mamatay nang dahil sa ‘yo.
Land of the Morning,
Child of the sun returning,
With fervor burning
Thee do our souls adore.
Land dear and holy,
cradle of noble heroes
Ne’er shall invaders,
Trample thy sacred shore.
Ever within the skies
And through the clouds
And o’er thy hills and seas,
Do we behold the radiance,
Feel the throb of glorious liberty.
Thy banner, dear to all our hearts
Its sun and stars alight,
O never shall its shining field
Be dimmed by tyrant’s might!
Beautiful land of love,
O land of light,
In thine embrace ’tis rapture to lie
But it is glory ever,
When thou art wronged,
For us, thy sons, to suffer and die.