Side Project: #JuanPhilippines

JuanPhilippines header

LAST APRIL, I visited a random Web page that tackles flag design and how to deal with it. BresslerGroup made a side project titled “United We Stand” in response to the discordant designs of state flags (including Washington D.C.) of the United States.

A month later, I watched a YouTube video from TED where Roman Mars, the guy who produced the design podcast 99% Invisible, interacted for 18 minutes on the flag designs.

Then, another month went by, I decided to join Reddit and vexillology (the study of flags) became my first interest while in the midst of the professional board review. Within the discussion, one user admits the shame of the lack of identity.

That being said, all three online visits gave me an inspiration to do this side project.

Don’t get me wrong with our national flag (Three Stars and the Sun), it is simple to recognize even in the international arena. The flags of provinces and cities that make up our country just bother me.

Presently, we have 81 provinces of the Republic and 17 local government units of Metro Manila. Davao Occidental, the newest province, has yet to adopt their provincial flag and seal.

What makes a good flag?

The North American Vexillological Association (NAVA) drafted the five-point criteria and here is my reaction towards each point.

  1. Keep it simple. It must be simple that a child can draw it from memory. How can a child easily recall whether in a province or in a city their flag with excessively detailed designs?
  2. Use meaningful symbolism. What’s the meaning of the background colors behind the seals of the provincial and city flags? I think it’s some politician’s favorite color.
  3. Use 2-3 basic colors. All provincial and city flags violated this rule. It’s not surprising that it’s rare to see our sub-national flags in private homes and it costs more to produce than our national flag.
  4. No lettering or seals. Currently, 76 provincial flags have seals. Cagayan, despite removing its name, does not exempt from the count.
  5. Be distinctive or be related. At present, four provincial flags (Bohol, Bukidnon, Camarines Norte and Southern Leyte) designed their different flags in order to stay out from the “seals-on-bedsheet” syndrome.

In my side project, I decided to comply with the aforementioned criteria.

Symbolism and specifications

Some flags required a complete changeover in order to use my symbolism, choosing ones that makes not just for one’s province and city pride but also for something that made us definitely Filipino.

The main symbols will be extracted from the national civil ensign: the sun, the stars, the triangle and the parallelogram (quadrilateral).

Since I want symbolism in every province and city, other symbolisms are pulled from their distinct geography, etymology, history and their respective mottoes and nicknames. As the design evolved, the symbolism behind each element behind each flag is perfected.


The colors of the Philippine flag (red, white, blue and gold) will be used for echoing a united country with the exception of ARMM where green will be incorporated. The color limit on the foregoing criteria will be followed.


Legally, the Philippine flag’s dimension is 1 unit wide by 2 units long. Since we are a nation composed of provinces and cities, I decided to shrink the ratio to 1 by 1.5.

The Turf’s redesign