Gray Matter


National Symbols of the United States and the Philippines

national symbolsAs an American, a citizen of the United States, I should be familiar with the national symbols of my country. As a permanent resident of the Philippines, regardless of when I’m actually there, I should be familiar with their national symbols as well.

I’m not going to mention every national symbol of both countries. There are only a few that interest me.

National Anthem

The national anthem for the United States is “The Star Spangled Banner”. The John Lennon song, “Imagine”, which the political left wants to be the new national anthem, does not convey the ideals that sparked the original.

The national anthem of the Philippines is “Lupang Hinirang”. I’ve heard it sung many times, but not nearly as many times as the American national anthem. After all, I spent 20 years in the military and heard it on more days than not, even if I wasn’t standing and saluting the American flag.

National Bird

The national bird of the United States is the bald eagle, recognizable as such by most Americans. Coincidentally, the national bird of the Philippines is the Philippine eagle. Many Filipinos probably won’t recognize it as such since the designation wasn’t proclaimed until 1995.

I honestly thought the kalapati (dove or pigeon) was the national bird of the Philippines until I looked it up.

National Flower or Floral Emblem

The national floral emblem of the United States is the rose. The national flower for the Philippines is the sampaguita, which is easy for me to remember because the Filipino (Tagalog) word for octopus is pugita. Word association helps me to remember things.

National Tree

The national tree of the United States is the oak. The national tree of the Philippines is the narra. After my house was built in Olongapo, my wife (Josie) bought a lot of furniture for it. Someone, I don’t remember who, told me the kitchen table and chairs were made of narra. The table and chairs are still sitting in our dining room area after more than 13 years.

Narra is an endangered species. The only way those tables and chairs could be made of it is if they were from trees blown over during one of the many storms each year. I highly doubt what I was told. It’s more likely to be made of mahogany or some other hard wood.

Unofficial National Symbols

While I can’t find any reference to unofficial symbols for the United States, I can find plenty for the Philippines. The national animal for the United States is the North American bison (buffalo) but there isn’t a national animal for the Philippines. Unofficially, it’s the kalabaw.

The Philippines has a lot of unofficial national symbols in a pending state, waiting to be proclaimed official. Some should be automatic, but who am I to judge? I agree with some others. Bangus should be the national fish and adobo should be the national dish. You see what I did there?

National symbols help to establish an identity that effectively represents a country. Both the United States and the Philippines seem to be doing a good job of selecting the appropriate symbols. It’s too bad it takes so long to create laws or make changes to existing laws concerning them.

Photo Attribution: PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Author: RT Cunningham
Date: September 1, 2020 (UTC)
Categories: Culture

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