The Coat of Arms of the Philippines (Filipino: Sagisag ng Pilipinas) or sometimes in (Spanish: Escudo de Filipinas) features the eight-rayed sun of the Philippines with each ray representing the eight provinces (Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Manila, Laguna, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga and Tarlac) which were placed under martial law by Governor-General Ramón Blanco during the Philippine Revolution, and the three five-pointed stars representing the three primary geographic regions of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

On the blue field on the dexter side is the North American bald eagle of the United States, and on the red field on the sinister side is the lion rampant of the coat of arms of the Kingdom of León, both representing the country's colonial past. The current arms, which shares many features of the national flag, was designed by Filipino artist and heraldist Captain Galo B. Ocampo.


The blazon of the coat of arms from Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines (Republic Act 8491)[1] is as follows:

Its original blazoning according to Commonwealth Act No. 731 is:


A depiction of a version of the historical coat of arms of the City of Manila, created by royal decree.

The Philippines' codified heraldry when King Philip II of Spain authorized the first coat of arms to the City of Manila through a royal decree issued on 20 March 1596 is, in part, as follows:

"... By these presents I assign, as the special coat-of-arms of the said city of Manila in the Filipinas Islands, a shield which shall have in the center of its upper part a golden castle on a red field, closed by a blue door and windows, and which shall be surmounted by a crown; and in the lower half on a blue field a half lion and half dolphin of silver, armed and langued gules–that is to say, with red nails and tongue. The said lion shall hold in his paw a sword with guard and hilt. ... "

— English translation from Blair and Robertson's "The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898"

The design of the arms of Manila had changed throughout the years, the castle had adopted various different forms, a crowned sea lion was present later, and in the late 20th century, a crown was placed above the castle itself.

Along with this, the lesser arms of the Spanish monarch was used. The design patterned after the national standard of Spain consisted of three fleur-de-lis surrounded by a quartered flag of Castille and Aragon, represented by two golden castles located on the red field and two red lions on a white field. Minor details of the arms had changed over the years but the basic design elements remained.

During the 1896 Philippine Revolution, the Filipino leaders had no permanent political symbol, but, two different emblems were easily adopted. Both consisted of an equilateral triangle, but differed on what symbols were placed inside the triangle. Many documents of the Katipunan bore a letter K which stood for Kalayaan (Liberty), while some had the rising mythological sun in the center. General Emilio Aguinaldo, officially the first President of the Philippines, adopted the mythological sun and the three stars in each angle of the equilateral triangle as his emblem.

During the American Occupation, a law was enacted prescribing a new coat of arms for the islands. The Spanish-era arms of the City of Manila were used until 1905, when the Philippine Commission adopted the "new arms and great seal of the Philippine Islands" designed by Gaillard Hunt of the US State Department. It consisted of thirteen alternating red-and-white stripes representing the Thirteen Colonies; a chief blue above, the honor color, and over them in an oval the arms of Manila with the castle of Spain and the sea lion prominently displayed. It also bore as its crest an American eagle, the symbol of United States. Beneath the shield was the scroll with the words Philippine Islands. It remained unaltered until the inauguration of Commonwealth of the Philippines in 1935.

During the Commonwealth, extensive reform was made to the government in preparation for Philippine independence. One of major changes was changing the symbol for Filipinos. "The Arms and Great Seal of the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines" was approved in 1935, the number of stripes reduced from thirteen to two and three five-pointed stars added. The sea lion was made gold instead of silver and the eagle was slightly enlarged and placed closer to the arm. The word Commonwealth of the Philippines replaced Philippine Islands in the scroll below; it also incorporated the modified coat of arms of the City of Manila.

On 15 December 1938, President Manuel L. Quezon created the Special Committee of Arms of the Philippines. After almost two years of study, the committee recommended certain modifications to the coat of arms of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. They recommended that the eight-ray Philippine sun must be the point of honor. It was revised in 1940. It featured two stripes, blue on the sinister (right) side and red on the dexter (left) side of the shield; a white field above, studded with three five-pointed stars equidistant from each other; over them, the eight-rayed sun with each ray flanked on the both sides by minor rays inside an oval. On the crest is the American eagle, its talon grasping an olive branch with eight leaves and eight fruits, and the left talon grasping three spears. Beneath the shield was the scroll with the inscription Philippines.

After providing the various branches of the government with their own symbols, President Quezon created the Philippine Heraldic Committee in 1940. The committee was assigned the studying and recommending the designs and symbolism for official seals of Philippines' political subdivision, cities, and government institutions. The heraldic work of the committee was suspended during the Pacific War.

During the Second Philippine Republic, a more nationalistic policy were adopted and the seal was revised. Foreign components of the Filipino heraldic symbol which previously represented its colonial links to Spain and United States were removed. Instead, salient features of the flag and seal of the short-lived Philippine Republic were incorporated, consisting of the eight-ray mythological sun and three stars located beneath the equilateral triangle. Written within three sets of two marginal lines of the three sides of the triangle were Kalayaan, Kapayapaan, Katarungan (Liberty, Peace, Justice). Around the seal was a double marginal circle within which was written Republika ng Pilipinas (Republic of the Philippines).

After World War II, President Sergio Osmeña reactivated the Philippine Heraldic Committee. The current design pursuant to Commonwealth Act No. 731 was approved by the Congress of the Philippines on 3 July 1946. It was designed by Captain Galo B. Ocampo, Secretary of the Philippine Heraldry Committee.

During the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos, Isang Bansa, Isang Diwa (One Nation, One Spirit) became the national motto of the Philippines. It was immediately incorporated into the national seal, replacing the words Republic of the Philippines, which were originally inscribed in a scroll beneath the arms. The decree for this purpose was approved by the Office of the President on 9 June 1978.[2] However, during the administration of President Corazon Aquino, the decree was revoked.[3]

The words Isang Bansa, Isang Diwa were replaced with a Filipino translation of the original words, Republika ng Pilipinas, pursuant to Republic Act No. 8491.[4]

Great Seal

Great Seal of the Republic of the Philippines.

Republic Act No. 8491 specifies a Great Seal for the Republic of the Philippines:


Spanish East Indies

During the Spanish Colonial Period, the lesser arms of the Spanish Sovereign were used. The seal of Manila was also issued under royal decree by Philip II (for whom the islands were named) in 1596. Note that the Pillars of Hercules or the Golden Fleece were not always displayed and the arms themselves were sometimes solely used.

Coat of Arms of the Spanish East Indies (1565–1898)
Lesser Royal Coat of Arms of Spain (c.1504-1580).svg Lesser Royal Coat of Arms of Spanish Monarch (1580-c.1668).svg Lesser Royal Coat of Arms of Spain (c.1668-1700).svg Lesser Royal Coat of Arms of Spain (1700-1868 and 1834-1930) Pillars of Hercules Variant.svg Coat of Arms of Spain (1868-1870 and 1873-1874).svg Coat of Arms of Spain (1871-1873) Pillars of Hercules Variant.svg
1565–1580 1580–1668 1668–1700 1700–1868; 1874–1898 1868–1870; 1873–1874 1871–1873
Arms under the House of Habsburg. The Habsburg arms, with half-arches added to the crown. Same arms, with crown's arches bent. Arms under the House of Bourbon. Arms of the Provisional Government and the First Spanish Republic; royal crown replaced with mural crown and inescutcheon with Bourbon Arms removed. Inescutcheon shows arms of the House of Savoy during the brief reign of Amadeo I.

First Philippine Republic

After the expulsion of the Spanish colonial government by the Philippine Revolutionary Army and the Malolos Constitution was ratified, the revolutionary government had formally established.

Image Description Year/Period Legal Basis
Coat of arms of the First Philippine Republic.svg Emblem of the First Philippine Republic, a revolutionary government by Emilio Aguinaldo, shows the three stars and a sun in a red triangular field. Had been used until his capture by the American forces in 1901 in the Philippine–American War.[6] 1898-1901 Malolos Constitution [1]

American Colony and Japanese occupation

After the signing of the 1898 Treaty of Paris that ended the Spanish–American War, Spain ceded control of the Philippines and several other possessions to the United States of America. The following arms were used in the period after the cession, during the Commonwealth, and throughout the Second World War.

Image Description Year/Period Legal Basis
Insular and Commonwealth arms (1898–1946)
Coat of arms of the Philippines (1905-1936).svg Coat of arms of the Philippine Islands designed by Gaillard Hunt. Used by the Insular Government, which reported to the U.S. Bureau of Insular Affairs. The banderole bore the words "Philippine Islands". 1905–1935 Act No. 1365
Coat of arms of the Commonwealth of the Philippines.svg First version of the Commonwealth arms, used by the Commonwealth of the Philippines. First used under President Manuel L. Quezon, it was also used by the Philippine government-in-exile when the country was occupied by Japan during the Second World War. This version had the sea-lion change tincture from Argent to Or, while the banderole was revised to read "Commonwealth of the Philippines". 1935–1940, 1941–1946 Act No. 4258,
Commonwealth Act No. 614
Coat of arms of the Philippines (1940-1941).svg Short-lived second version of the Commonwealth arms, approved on 19 August 1940 under Commonwealth Act No. 602. Its use was not widespread and the previous arms were restored on 23 February 1941 by Commonwealth Act No. 614. 1940–1941 Commonwealth Act No. 602
Japanese period (1942–1945)
Coat of arms of the Philippines (1943-1945).svg Emblem of the Second Philippine Republic. 1943 Act No. 5
Coat of arms of the Philippines (1941-1943).svg Coat of arms of the Second Philippine Republic. Introduced by the Japanese puppet state's government. The inscription on the banderole was "Pilipinas" (Philippines). 1943–1945 Act No. 17

Sovereign arms

The following were used upon the Islands' achievement of full sovereignty in 1946. The Arms as designed by Capt. Galo B. Ocampo have retained their basic design since, with only minor alterations made due to political and cultural considerations.

Image Description Year/Period Legal Basis
Sovereignty (1946–present)
Coat of arms of the Philippines (1946-1978).svg Arms of the then-newly independent Republic of the Philippines, used throughout the Third Republic and the early Fourth Republic. Essentially restored on 10 September 1986 by Memorandum Order No. 34 following the 1986 People Power Revolution. The scroll bore the country's official name in English. The Administrative Code of 1987 provided that the inscription on the scroll could also be rendered in the national language.[7] Presently, the name of the country is shown in Filipino. 1946–1978, 1986–present Commonwealth Act No. 731,
Memorandum Order No. 34, s. 1986
Coat of arms of the Philippines (1978-1985).svg In 1978, President Ferdinand Marcos changed the inscription to the national motto at the time, Isang Bansa, Isang Diwa (One Country, One Spirit). 1978–1986 Presidential Decree No. 1413, s. 1978
Coat of arms of the Philippines (per 1998 Law).svg The arms as per the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines (Republic Act 8491), the scroll's inscription bears the country's official name in Filipino, Republika ng Pilipinas (Republic of the Philippines) and the lion and eagle charges were removed. These arms, however, remain unused since the referendum legally required to ratify them has not yet been called. 1998 (introduced) Republic Act 8491
Coat of arms of the Philippines.svg The standardized version of the Arms currently in use. The banderole bears the country's official name in Filipino, Republika ng Pilipinas (Republic of the Philippines). 1998–present

In sport

A stylized form of the arms was formerly used on the jersey of the Philippine men's national basketball team, and appears with the word "Pilipinas" emblazoned above it. In addition, many coats of arms of national and private institutions, as well as Philippine towns and cities, are inspired by the national coat of arms.

See also


  1. ^ "Republic Act No. 8491". Official Gazette. February 12, 1998. Retrieved October 12, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Presidential Decree No. 1413, s. 1978". Official Gazette. June 9, 1978. Retrieved October 31, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Memorandum Order No. 34, s. 1986". Official Gazette. September 10, 1986. Retrieved October 31, 2015. 
  4. ^ Footnotes to Philippine History
  5. ^ "Chan Robles Virtual Law Library - Republic Act No. 8491". Retrieved 2010-11-10. 
  6. ^ Guevara 2005, p. 104.
  7. ^ http://www.gov.ph/1987/07/25/executive-order-no-292-book-ichapter-4-national-symbols-and-official-languages/.  Missing or empty title= (help)

External links