The Commoner’s Fraternity |  History
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Hymn and Creed | Coat of Arms Symbolism


Coat of Arms Evolution

Since time immemorial, man has conveyed his ideas and presence through the use of images. Even when he started to learn how to convert guttural sounds into meaningful verbal and written forms, the utilization of imagery is still one of his most effective means of communication. Such graphical representation of thought is universal. It cuts through borders. It is easily understood. It depicts a thousand words.

Tau Kappa Phi 2014 Bar Operation

Design for the tarpaulin created by brod Paolo Brillantes for the 2014 Bar Examinations

In modern times, imageries still abound everywhere. Only the way they are presented has changed – from the pre-historic charcoal cave paintings to computer-assisted designs. Some take the form of logos to identify enterprises or as a policy requirement. Organizations, most often than not, use logos to establish their own identities. Logos also tell the ideals and characteristics of the organizations they represent. As such, these logos are considered as their coat of arms.

Tau Kappa Phi Law Fraternity is no exception to the above. Its original coat of arms (Fig. 1) was created by brod Cesar Alzona, one of the fraternity’s founders. It was drawn in black ink with no color on a white background. It has been used for decades in all the fraternity’s affairs, transactions and its official publication, The Common Voice.    

Tau Kappa Phi Fraternity Logo

Fig. 1

However, in the year 1980, the coat of arms changed in style. On that year, the cover page of the The Common Voice and Souvenir Program for the 48th Founding Anniversary bore a different style as shown in Fig. 2.

Tau Kappa Phi

Fig. 2

The same was used in a Certificate of Membership in 1983 (Fig. 3).


Fig. 4

A photo (Fig. 4) taken during the 1988 Bar Operations shows brothers wearing Tau Kappa Phi shirts with a coat of arms that is slightly different from the original one and from that on the cover page of the 1980 The Common Voice.


Tau Kappa Phi Fraternity

Fig. 4

Then years later,  the original coat of arms was used in the 1997 The Common Voice (Fig. 5). It is found on page number 40 thereof and none can be seen on the front cover.

Tau Kappa Phi Fraternity

Fig. 5

During the incumbency of Grand Chancellor Joel Villanueva (1995-1996), a frat shirt (Fig. 6) bears a different appearance of the coat of arms.

Tau Kappa Phi

Fig. 6

Within the same period and thereafter, another design on a frat shirt appeared (Fig. 7).

Tau Kappa Phi

Fig. 7

Subsequently, in connection with the 50th Founding Anniversary of Tau Kappa Phi, Grand Chancellor Magno Belmi (1997-1998) spearheaded a re-design of the frat seal and came out with the one in Fig. 8.

Tau Kappa Phi Logo

Fig. 8

However, the coat of arms used on the front cover of the 2005 The Common Voice (Fig. 9) bears a similarity with the one used on the frat shirt in Fig. 6.


Fig. 9

During the 58th Founding Anniversary (Fig. 10) in 2006 held at the Galaxias Ballroom, Diamond Hotel, Manila, the design during GC Magno Belmi’s term was used.

Tau Kappa Phi Frat

Fig. 10

At the time of the Bar Operations in 2008, the tarpaulin (Fig. 11) carried a coat of arms similar to that on the 2005 The Common Voice. But some coat of arms design did not escape the eyes of some meticulous brothers. They took note of the number of the leaves; there must only be eighteen (18) therein representing the pioneers of the fold.


Fig. 11

Perhaps the design that sparked so much fuss and controversy was the one created by Brother Atty. Novo-Mar Ramos in 2009 (Fig. 12) when he was already living in London with his family. He first consulted fellow alumni whether it would be okay to re-design “again” the coat of arms. He was advised that he may do so for as long as it will not deviate from the ideals embedded on the original frat seal.

Tau Kappa Phi FEU Law Logo

Fig. 12


The proponent presented drafts of the proposed new logo through Tau Kappa Phi’s Yahoo! Group. A brod said that an alumnus told him that the axe is a halberd axe. The broods were divided into two schools of thought – the modernists and the traditionalists. On the modernists’ side, it was argued that change is an inevitable part of life and that the new design is created to keep abreast of the present trend of three-dimensional (3D) graphics. On the other hand, the traditionalists or “old-school boys” want to preserve the original design and any deviation from it might make its meaning not in consonance  with what the founding fathers intended.

There was a motion that “any changes to be made on the logo will be subject to the approval of the entire membership.” The phrase “entire membership” was clarified to mean that everyone must be notified on any modification done on the coat of arms. There was also a discussion about the meaning of “to enhance” and “to alter.” In the end, the issue was ended with the following statement from a brother:

“Alumni[sic] have, as a matter courtesy and practice, yielded to the decisions of resident members of TKP. I respectfully suggest that this matter of “enhancement” or “alteration” of the logo or symbol be left for resident members to decide. Resident members may, at their discretion, “consult” with available alumni brods interested, willing and able to express their views on the subject matter and consider the views expressed in this forum.”

The 2009 proposed coat of arms was then showed to the public via Facebook, which has become a popular online social networking site. Members of the fold started to “Share” the same and even made it as their profile picture (Fig. 13) and as a “Picbadge” (Fig. 14).



Fig. 13



Fig. 14


The same design has been used in the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 Double Edition of The Common Voice (Fig. 15) and in various activities and souvenir items (Fig. 16 to Fig. 24).



Fig. 15


Fig. 16


Fig. 17


Fig. 18


Fig. 19


Fig. 20


Fig. 21


Fig. 22


The Tau Kappa Phi Law Fraternity’s Coat of Arms may have undergone different “enhancements” and/or “alterations” throughout the years, the forefathers’ ideals and principles still live in the minds and hearts of every brother anywhere in the world from generation to generation.

The Commoner’s Fraternity |  History
Articles of Incorporation  | By-Laws
Hymn and Creed | Coat of Arms Symbolism