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How many colors does the philippine flag have?

The Philippine flag is one of the most recognizable national flags in the world with its vibrant colors and symbolic meanings. But how many different colors make up this iconic banner? In this in-depth article, we will examine the components that make up the Philippine flag and explore the significance behind each color.

Background on the Philippine Flag

The current design of the Philippine flag was adopted on February 12, 1998 as Republic Act No. 8491, also known as the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines. However, the basic elements of the flag date back much further in Philippine history.

The earliest form of the Philippine flag first appeared during the Philippine Revolution against Spanish rule in 1896. Revolutionary forces led by General Emilio Aguinaldo used a flag with a white triangle and three stars representing the main geographical divisions of the country – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Red and blue stripes were situated at the top and bottom.

When the Philippines became an American territory after the Spanish-American War, a new design was adopted in 1919 with elements paying homage to both the United States and the earlier revolutionary flag. This version had a white stars and stripes section on the left representing American rule, and a red, white and blue triangular section on the right representing the revolutionary flag.

The current look of the Philippine flag emerged after the country gained independence from the United States in 1946. The American-inspired stars and stripes were removed, leaving just the colors of the revolutionary flag along with an updated arrangement of the stars.

Symbolism of the Colors

The Philippine flag consists of two dominant colors – royal blue and scarlet red. In addition to these two main colors, the flag also contains some white accent elements which we will discuss later.

Royal Blue

The royal blue background of the flag represents noble heritage, vigilance and truth. It also signifies peace, justice, and solidarity.

Scarlet Red

The vibrant red color of the flag stands for patriotism, valor and the blood and sacrifice of national heroes who fought for liberty and independence.

Stars on the Philippine Flag

A key design element of Philippine flag are the three white five-pointed stars set in a triangular formation. These stars have the following meaning:

  • Luzon – The northernmost major island and location of the capital Manila
  • Visayas – The central island cluster containing Panay, Negros and Cebu
  • Mindanao – The southernmost major island

Together the three stars represent the three main geographical divisions of the Philippines. The triangular placement also signifies equality, hope and aspiration.

The Sun Design

At the center of the flag’s triangular stars formation is an eight-rayed golden sun. This symbol represents independence and sovereignty for the Philippines nation.

The sun’s eight rays stand for the country’s first eight revolutionary provinces that declared themselves free from Spanish rule in 1898 – Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Laguna, and Batangas. They also represent the diversity of the Philippines, originally made up of hundreds of different ethnic groups and languages across the islands.

Colors of Other Flag Elements

In addition to the main colors of royal blue, scarlet red and white stars, the Philippine flag contains a couple other colors in minor elements:


The vibrant metallic gold color is used for the eight-rayed sun at the flag’s center as well as for the edge embellishments and text around the perimeter. Gold represents the country’s wealth in natural resources.

Forest Green

Forest green can be found in the thin triangle framing the stars at the hoist side of the flag. This represents the lush forests and natural landscapes across the Philippine archipelago.

Exact Specifications

The Philippine government has set exact specifications for the colors and dimensions of the national flag. These standards were established to maintain consistency and symbolism across flags used by the public, government, and the military:

Color Pantone Matching System (PMS)* Code
Royal Blue PMS 286
Scarlet PMS 186
White Safe
Gold PMS 117
Forest Green PMS 343

*The Pantone Matching System is a standardized color reproduction system used in printing and design.

The official proportions of the Philippine flag are length:width of 1:2. The flag’s length is twice its width. Common sizes include 3 feet x 6 feet; 6 feet x 12 feet; and 12 feet x 24 feet.

Total Number of Colors

Based on the symbolic meanings and exact specifications outlined above, the total number of colors that make up the design of the Philippine national flag is:

5 Colors

The five distinct colors are:

  • Royal Blue
  • Scarlet Red
  • White
  • Gold
  • Forest Green

The first two colors, royal blue and scarlet red, make up the primary background sections of the flag. White is used for the three five-pointed stars. Gold appears in the central sun and perimeter embellishments. And forest green creates the thin framing triangle on the hoist side.

Each of these five colors has special symbolism relating to virtues, geography, and history of the Philippines. Their combined design creates a bold, vibrant and instantly recognizable representation for the country.

Displaying the Philippine Flag

The Philippine flag is proudly displayed by Filipinos in the country and around the world as a symbol of national unity. There are a few guidelines for properly exhibiting the flag:

  • The blue field should be displayed at the top during times of peace
  • The red field should be displayed at the top in periods of war
  • The flag’s front should face out and not be obscured when vertically displayed
  • The flag should not touch the ground or floor
  • The flag should be illuminated if displayed at night

The Philippine flag is hoisted in public areas and events throughout the country every day. It is respectfully raised during flag ceremonies often accompanied by the national anthem. Filipinos take pride in their flag and what it represents to their shared national identity.

Notable Features of Other Country Flags

As a point of comparison, here are some interesting facts about colors used on flags of other nations:

  • The flag of France has three colors – blue, white and red
  • The flag of the United Kingdom combines red, white and blue colors
  • The flag of the United States has red and white stripes and white stars on a blue field
  • The flag of Belgium has three equal vertical bands of black, yellow and red
  • The flag of Italy uses three colors – green, white and red

The symbolic meanings behind a country’s flag colors often relate to geography, past political movements, and cultural identity. Using multiple colors allows flags like the Philippines’ to incorporate richer significance.


The Philippine national flag contains a total of five colors – royal blue, scarlet red, white, gold and forest green. Each color carries historical, political, and regional meaning for the country. The flag’s design pays tribute to the Philippines’ national heritage as an archipelagic country once divided, then unified against colonial rule.

When properly displayed, the Philippine flag serves as an instantly recognizable emblem for the islands’ inhabitants. The thoughtful arrangement of its symbolic elements into a cohesive visual statement reflect the shared origins, experiences and aspirations of the Filipino people.