The mythical creature sometimes referred to as the Ultramar plays a significant role in the Philippines’ heritage – as well as its culture. The half-lion, half-dolphin figure first appeared on the old City of Manila’s original coat-of-arms. Translated, Ultramar means ‘over the seas’, a nod to the Spanish crown’s influence and authority half a world away, despite being far across the seas.
Centuries later, that same figure and its meaning has evolved; in many ways much like how the Philippines has risen to change over time as an independent nation and as a people. The Ultramar has become ever-present in our lives – almost as if hiding in plain sight – it’s all around us so much and so often that we barely even notice it anymore. From city flags, corporate logos, government seals, and even the Legion of Honor medal – the Ultramar lives on.