Lahat ng bansa ay may kanya-kanyang mga simbolong nagbibigay-buhay sa mga pangunahing aspekto ng kultura nito. Inilalarawan din ng mga ito ang ilang katangian ng mga mamamayan ng bansang ito. Sa Canada, sikát ang maple leaf; sa Japan, cherry blossoms; sa Australia, koala at kangaroo; sa Netherlands, tulips at windmills.
At siyempre, ang Pilipinas ay meron ding mga pambansang simbolo—mga hayop, halaman, o bagay na—bagama’t hindi na karaniwang nakikita araw-araw sa mga pangunahing lugar sa bansa—itinuturing pa ring mahalagang bahagi ng kulturang Filipino, dahil sa mga katangiang kanilang sinisimbulo.
Here are some Philippine national symbols each of which represents a particular aspect or quality of the Filipino society and its people.
Hard Work. The carabao (Filipino: kalabáw) is a domesticated subspecies of the water buffalo commonly found in the Philippines. It is traditionally the animal of choice for pulling the plow and the cart used to haul farm produce to the market. Because the Philippines used to be known for its vast agricultural lands, carabaos were commonly seen animals. However, since circa ’80s, the country started to become better known for the industrialized and business-oriented sectors of its key cities; and this has made farms and carabaos scarce, especially in the urbanized regions. Besides, many farmers now prefer the efficiency of tractors and other agricultural machines over the might of such beasts of burden. But despite this modernization, the carabao remains to be the Philippines’ national mammal, symbolizing ‘hard work’ – a quality for which many Filipinos especially those working abroad are generally known.
Aspiration, Freedom. The Philippine eagle (agila) has since replaced the sparrow (maya) as the national bird of the Philippines. The main purpose of this is to increase people’s awareness on the existence and plight of this species of eagle, whose population is dwindling because of hunting and destruction of its natural habitat. The beauty of this bird’s cephalic feathers, as well as its swiftness and gracefulness when in flight, makes it a perfect symbol of the Filipino people’s ambitious aspirations and passion for freedom.
Sense of Community. Constructed chiefly out of nipa palms and bamboos, the nipa hut (bahay kubo) is the national house of the Philippines. Way before the Hispanic times to the years following the Second World War, the majority of people in the Philippines lived in nipa huts; chiefly because the materials used in building them were abundant and inexpensive. Also they served as cozy and relaxing homes, ideal for a tropical country like the Philippines. In those olden days, when a family was constructing a nipa hut, neighbors came to help and then partake in the small feast that followed afterwards. This community activity came to be known as ‘bayanihan,’ a term that refers to “a spirit of communal unity or effort to achieve a particular objective.” The nipa hut may no longer be a house of choice today, but it remains to be an important part of Philippine culture. It became a symbol of Filipinos’ sense of community and the Philippines’ being a group-oriented society. Nevertheless nipa huts are still popular nowadays, not anymore as permanent abodes but instead as rooms for transient guests at swimming resorts.
Adaptability. The mango (mangga) is a tropical fruit native to Southern and Southeastern Asia. It holds a significant place in the cultures of the countries in these parts of Asia, where it has been cultivated for millennia. Despite the commercialization of other interesting fruits in the Philippines, the mango remains to be the national fruit. It can be eaten ripe or raw. It comes in more than 35 species and varieties. It may be cooked, preserved, sweetened, candied, jammed, or used as an ingredient in various food products. Because of these, the mango has come to symbolize Filipinos’ adaptability and readiness for diversity—able to adapt to any culture and to cope with any situation.
Sa Madaling Salita
Bagama’t hindi na karaniwang nakikita sa lansangan ang mga pambansang simbolo ng Pilipinas, tuloy pa rin ang pagkilala sa mga ito; sapagkat patuloy pa rin ang kanilang pagbibigay-buhay sa mga positibong katangian ng mga Filipino.
Pero teka, ano na nga ba ang pambansang ulam ng Pilipinas? Noong 2002, nasa Pilipinas pa ako, nagtatrabaho bilang patnugot (o editor) ng mga libro at magasing pang-eskwela, meron akong kaibigang propesór ng Arts & Humanities sa University of the Philippines.Siya ay nagsagawa ng isang malawakang sarbey: “Ano ang iboboto mo bilang pambansang ulam ng Pilipinas?” Ang nanalo ay adobo.