By Rolando Borrinaga
First Posted 14:30:00 03/27/2014

A letter from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) with a proposed new seal for the Municipality of Naval prompted the Committee on Tourism and Culture of its Sangguniang Bayan (SB) to conduct a committee hearing to deliberate the proposal on March 25, 2014. I was invited to the hearing to extend my academic expertise on the issue.

The Municipal Building of Naval, the capital town of Biliran Province.

The Seal of Good Housekeeping awarded to the Municipal Government of Naval.

The municipal seal of Naval on the facade of the municipal building.

Attendance at the committee hearing. From left: Hon. Miguel Casas, Jr.; me; Hon. Ofelia T. Espina, Chair of the Committee on Tourism and Culture of the Sangguniang Bayan of Naval; and a recording clerk.

Attendance at the committee hearing: Hon. Gabino S. Velasquez IV, Hon. Nick Arthur V. Parilla; Engr. Leonardo Madeja, Jr., Municipal Planning and Development Officer; Ms. Ana L. Meracap, SB Secretary; and Hon. Gregory T. Pastor.

The committee hearing in the SB Session Hall.

A photocopy of the NHCP’s proposed seal for Naval, for comments and/or approval.

My statement on the issue:

March 8, 2014

Municipal Vice-Mayor
Naval, Biliran Province

Dear Vice-Mayor Villordon:


Thanks for the e-mail with the attached copy of the proposed new municipal seal of Naval and related documents.

I have looked closely at the new seal design and my initial impression is that, as a whole, the central symbolic graphics are grossly anachronistic. Of course, rice and coconuts are the main agricultural crops of Naval, but corn has never been in the same league as the two others to merit a place in the new design.

While it seems romantic to think that Naval is still an agricultural town, as seemingly implied in the proposed design, the fact is that the critical mass of our local population are already engaged in other occupations and livelihoods, and no longer in agriculture.

The proposed design also ignores the fact that Naval has become more of a trade, religious, and educational center in our province and adjacent geography. The town has also become the hub of national and provincial governance in the province. These facets of our communal lives are not represented by any symbol in the new design.

Despite its obvious limitations, the existing municipal seal at least highlights some cultural and historical aspects and experiences of Naval, i.e., the crosses for religion, and a Spanish galleon for our geography’s significant ancient contribution to the fledgling Spanish colony.

As for the text around the margin, I suggest we use Binisaya or Cebuano language, thus, “Lungsod sa Naval / Lalawigan sa Biliran.” After all, our native language is not Tagalog.

I believe a new municipal seal for Naval should symbolically represent many or much of the items of our current lives that I mentioned above, so that our people could easily associate with it.

Best regards.

School of Health Sciences
University of the Philippines Manila
Tacloban City


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