Not sure about other people, but whenever I see a flagpole with a flag at half-mast, my first thought is always, “Who died?”
I have always associated flags flown at half-mast with death, even though it can signify various other things such as calamities, grave national adversity, and international solemnity.
However, one thing is certain: you cannot fly the Philippine flag, whether it is at half-mast or not, without adhering to proper etiquette, just as people cannot wear the UP sablay without following traditions and rules.
There are specific guidelines for the usage of the Philippine flag, and it goes beyond simply placing the blue part on top during times of peace.
When displayed vertically, the triangle should be positioned at the top, with the blue part on the left as seen by the viewer. Placing the red stripe on the left would indicate that we are at war. If the flag is hung without any indication of which side is left, the blue part should point to the north or east.
The flag must be raised briskly at sunrise and lowered ceremoniously at sunset. Although it can be displayed after sunset, it should be properly illuminated throughout the night.
No matter the circumstances, the flag must never touch the ground or become wet. It cannot be used for any other purpose, such as a tablecloth, drapery, or covering. The law strictly prohibits any commercial use of the flag, and it is also illegal to deface it. Additionally, there is a proper protocol for disposing of a worn-out flag.
While the Philippine flag can be displayed on any day, there are specific occasions when it is mandatory to do so. These include April 9 (Araw ng Kagitingan), May 1 (Labor Day), the period from May 28 (National Flag Day) to June 12 (Independence Day), the last Sunday of August (National Heroes Day), November 30 (Bonifacio Day), and December 30 (Rizal Day).
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Speaking of National Flag Day, it has now become an annual tradition for the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) to illuminate the facade of its main building to commemorate this occasion.
As in previous years, shades of blue, red, and yellow envelop the main building from May 28 to June 13 (except on Mondays), from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The light show symbolically represents the Philippine flag and showcases the country’s vibrant culture and rich history.
This year, the CCP Production Design and Technical Services Division has created an astonishing facade light show featuring vibrant visuals in blue, yellow, and red—the colors of the Philippine flag. To achieve a sense of depth, a multi-layered wavy pattern of gobos is projected.
Shoutout to Camille Balistoy and her team, under the supervision of Eric Cruz, for their outstanding work on the light show. Every year, they consistently come up with remarkable designs that celebrate our rich history. As Ariel Yonzon, the head of the Production and Exhibition Department, aptly puts it, the pressure is on.
As the country’s leading art institution mandated to promote and preserve Philippine arts, culture, and history, the CCP remains dedicated to enriching the Filipino story and identity. The promotion of Filipino artistic excellence, cultural values, and aesthetics is a commitment made possible by the freedom bestowed upon us 125 years ago.
The light show will run until Philippine Independence Day. This year marks the 125th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence. A grand celebration will take place at the Quirino Grandstand, with the theme “Kalayaan, Kinabukasan, Kasaysayan” (Freedom, Future, History).
On May 28, 1898, the Philippine revolutionary army proudly unfurled the National Flag for the first time, following their victory over the Spanish forces in the Battle of Alapan in Imus, Cavite. Fifteen days later, the same flag was hoisted in Kawit, Cavite, as the Philippine forces, led by Emilio Aguinaldo, declared Philippine Independence.
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I hope we have a deep appreciation for the sacrifices made by our heroes who valiantly fought and gave their lives for the freedom we enjoy today. It is my hope that we never take this freedom for granted, and that we remain vigilant to ensure that it is never curtailed by anyone or anything.
Happy National Flag Day!