Three stars and the sun : A tattoo in the Philippines

Three stars and the sun

The three stars and the sun.

Being an avid (OK, you can define ‘avid’ as a past-friendly adjective) quizzer, I’ve had a keen interest in the Philippines flag even before I came to Philippines. I mean, go ahead and ask any quizzer, a good reputable one, which country has the distinction of not having a separate wartime flag, but instead just inverts their flag during a period of war? And pat, or maybe plop, would come the answer – the Philippines.

Anyway, I’ve spent a year here already, so I had to get a memoir of my time here. So, why not make it the three stars and a sun? The logo is enormously popular here. You’ll find t-shirts, bikes, cars, jeepneys and even some innovative tattoos with the symbol. That is one thing that differentiates the three stars and the sun, from the Indian Chakra. During my entire growing up in India, never have I seen a t-shirt or a tattoo or a vehicle adorned with the chakra. I am not saying that the Filipinos are more patriotic than the Indians. What I am saying is that the Filipinos tend to relate to a particular segment or component of their flag as if it represented the entire national flag. But Indians like to adopt their flag mostly if it is in its entire form. While one speaks of acceptance and concurrency, the other reflects unity. Maybe it is totally my mistake to even try comparing.
But the credit for making this so famous, must also go to a certain gentleman who died at the young age of 36. FrancisM, or Francis Magalona, is one of my favourite Filipino rappers, with tracks like ‘girl, be mine‘ and ‘3 stars and a sun‘. And he went on to make the latter popular through dresses he designed.
And now, the symbol rests on my hand.



About Abhi Surendran

Abhi quit his corporate job, and decided to immerse himself in travels, photography, occasional periods of bankruptcy, and copious amounts of insanity. He is currently working on a book of his experiences, and a dream road trip through South Asia. Both in a haphazard fashion. He blogs at Iamnothome and you can also catch him at times on Facebook and twitter.

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