Top Ten Great Filipino Fathers Of Philippines


Jose Rizal

A Filipino polymath, nationalist and the most prominent advocate for reforms in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era. He is the country’s national hero and the “Father of Philippine Nationalism”. His 1896 military trial and execution made him a martyr of the Philippine Revolution.

Rizal was a prolific poet, essayist, diarist, correspondent, and novelist whose most famous works were his two novels, Noli me Tangere and El filibusterismo. These are social commentaries on the Philippines that formed the nucleus of literature that inspired dissent among peaceful reformists and spurred the militancy of armed revolutionaries from the Spanish colonial authorities.

As a political figure, he was the founder of La Liga Filipina, a civic organization that subsequently gave birth to the Katipunan led by Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Aguinaldo. He was a proponent of institutional reforms by peaceful means rather than by violent revolution. The general consensus among Rizal scholars, however, is that his death was the catalyst that precipitated the Philippine Revolution.


Manuel L. Quezon

Known as the “Father of the Philippine Republic” and the “Father of the Philippine National Language”, was the first Filipino president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines under U.S. rule in the early 20th century. He is also called the “Father of Philippine Independence” for his efforts in pushing for the independence of the Philippines from American rule.

Quezón has the distinction of being the first Senate President elected to the presidency, the first president elected through a national election, and the first incumbent to secure re-election (for a partial second term, later extended, due to amendments to the 1935 Constitution).


Fidel Ramos

A Filipino soldier and politician. He was one of the leaders of the 1986 EDSA revolution that drove President Ferdinand Marcos from power. He served as the President of the Philippines from 1992 to 1998. Known as the “Father of Philippine Democracy”, he promoted the power of people empowerment and a culture of excellence which led to global competitiveness. In accordance with the will of the Filipino people, he pursued, focused and converged programs to fight poverty. His comprehensive Social Reform Agenda (SRA) focused on poverty, health, education and skills training, housing, environmental protection, children and the youth, the elderly and the handicapped, jobs and livelihood, agrarian reform and access to equal opportunity.

He was also able to achieve a peace agreement with military rebels (RAM, ALTAS, YOU, MNLF) which won for him, together with Nur Misuari and the Philippines the coveted 1997 UNESCO Peace Prize which was considered first for Asians.

He was also known as the “Father of Philippine Army Special Forces”. He served as the Secretary of National Defense from 1988 to 1991. He also served as the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) from 1986 to 1988, with the rank of General (4 Stars). After retirement from government service, Ramos founded the Ramos Peace and Development Foundation. It is a non-partisan and non-profit organization which is dedicated to the promotion of peace and development in the Philippines and in the larger Asia-Pacific region.

Together with Bob Hawke, former Prime Minister of Australia, and Morihiro Hosokawa, former Prime Minister of Japan, Ramos founded the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA). It is a premier forum for leaders in government business and academia in Asia and other continents to promote regional economic integration to achieve development goals.


Isabelo de los Reyes

A prominent Filipino writer, politician and labor activist. He was known as the “Father of Philippine Labor Union Movement”, “Father of the Philippine Socialism”, “Father of Ilocano Journalism.” He founded the first vernacular newspaper in the Philippines, Ellocano, with himself as the editor and publisher. He also made instensive researches on Philippine history and culture and wrote historical works like Las Islas Visayas en la Epoca de la Conquista(first edition in 187, second edition in 1889); La Expedicion de Li-Mahong contra Filipinas en 1574 (1888); Triuntos del Rosario 0 Los Holandeses en Filipinas (1888); Prehistoria de Filipinas (1889); EI Folklore Filipino (1889); and Historia de Ilocos (1890, 2 vols.).

He was arrested and jailed in the New Bilibid Prison as his writings aroused the hostility of the friars and officials. He openly criticized the evils of the Spanish rule and denounced the huge haciendas of the religious orders. He demanded agrarian reform for the benefit of the landless Filipino tenants. He was branded as tilibusterismo or traitor by the Spanish authorities. While in prison, his sick wife died. He wasn’t even allowed to attend his wife’s funeral and see his orphaned children.

After spending time with fellow prisoners who were Katipuneros, he wrote Sensacional Memoria sobre la Revolucion Filipina which became one of the valuable works on the history of the revolution. He published the said book in 1899 and it caused the downfall of Spain in Asia as it exposed the evils of the Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines.

He was saved from the firing squad and was deported to Madrid by General Fernando Primo de Rivera. In Madrid, he founded and edited two nationalist periodicals the EI Defensor de Filipinas and Filipinas Ante Europa. He also wrote and published two books namely Independencia y Revolucion and La Religion de Katipunan.

Upon his return to the Philippines, he brought many books with him which inspired him to introduce socialism into his own country. On 2 February 1902, he founded the first labor union in the Philippines called the Union Obrera Democratica Filipina or the Philippine Democratic Labor Union. He also founded and edited the first labor newspaper in the country, La Redencion del Obrero or The Redemption of the Laborer, which was said to have championed the rights of labor.

On 3 August 1902, he launched the Philippine Independent Church and proclaimed Father Gregorio Aglipay as the Supreme Bishop. He wrote many sermons and religious tracts. He was the author of most of the Aglipayan literature which included Biblia Filipina (Philippine Bible), Oficio Divino (Mass-Book), Catequesis (Catechism), Plegarias (Prayers), Genesis Cientifico y Moderno (Scientific and Modern Genesis), and Calendario Aglipayano (Aglipayan Calendar). He also translated into Iloko the Gospels of St. John, St. Luke, St. Mark, and St. Matthew; the New Testament; and the Acts of the Apostles.


Francisco Balagtas

The preeminent poet of the Tagalog language and author of the literary masterpiece Florante at Laura. He wrote countless poems, awits, komedyas and corridos. His literary achievements secured his place at the top of the pantheon of Tagalog poets. Other great Tagalog writers like Julian Cruz Balmaceda and Hermenegildo Cruz called him “Hari ng Makatang Tagalog.”

Baltazar is otherwise known as Francisco Balagtas, his original name. He had taken the name Balagtas from a Manila family whom he had served as a houseboy. Balagtas was known to be the “Father of Tagalog Dialect” and “Father of the Tagalog Poem”.


Jovito Salonga

A Filipino statesman and lawyer who is known for opposing the Marcos regime. He is also called the “Father of Philippine Liberalism” and the “Nation’s Fiscalizer”.

Salonga is one of the most outstanding Senators. His significant legislations inspired public interest,the State Scholarship Law, the Disclosure of Interest Act, the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and the Act Defining and Penalizing the Crime of Plunder.

He is one of the most brilliant lawyers in the country, taught at leading universities in Manila and authored several tax texts which are used here and abroad. As he was against corruption and dictatorship, he was one of Martial Law’s most outspoken opponents and defended political prisoners who challenged the Marcos regime. When the Aquino government took over after the EDSA Revolution of 1986, he served as the chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Governance (PCGG) and was tasked to investigate and recover the ill-gotten wealth of the members of the past regime.


Claro M. Recto

A Filipino politician, jurist, poet, academician, and one of the foremost statesmen of his generation. He was a noted institution in politics and a staunch nationalist. He was also a literary man and author of political works and legal treaties. He was also known as a worthy protagonist in many remarkable and famous debates and even questioned the Attorney General of the United States on ownership of military bases in the Philippines.

Recto was known as the “Father of the Philippine Constitution”. After the assembly to draft the Philippine Constitution was convened, he was selected president and personally presented the Commonwealth Constitution to President Roosevelt for his approval and signature. He also served the country as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Commissioner of Education, Health and Public Welfare, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Cultural Envoy with the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary on a cultural mission to Europe and Latin America.


Blas Ople

A journalist, politician and is credited to being the “Father of the Labor Code” of the Philippines and the“Father of Overseas Employment”. He held several high-ranking positions in the executive and legislative branches of the Philippine government including Secretary of Labor during the Ferdinand Marcos presidency, Senate President from 1999 to 2000, and Secretary of Foreign Affairs from 2002 until his death.


Andres Bonifacio

A Filipino revolutionary leader and patriot, known as the “Father of the Philippine Revolution.” He was one of the founders and organizers of the Kataas-taasang Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan or Katipunan, although he was not its first supremo or leader. He eventually assumed the leadership of the society owing to his dedication and resolve to the cause of Philippines independence. Bonifacio has earned his place in Philippine history as a Filipino hero with an uncompromising stance in leading his countrymen to the path of freedom.


Joseph Estrada

A Filipino actor, director and politician. He served as a Senator, Vice President and President of the Philippine Government.

In his early twenties, he became a movie actor and established himself as a living legend in local filmdom. He has played the lead role in more than 80 films in which he often played heroes of the downtrodden classes, which gained him the admiration of a lot of the nation’s many unschooled and impoverished citizens. He was also known as the “Father of the Masses”.

He served as the Mayor of San Juan City for 17 years and focused largely on education and health reform. He also served as a Senator for five years and acted as chairman of the Committee on Rural Development and Committee on Cultural Communities, as well as the vice chair of the Committee on Health and Committee on Natural Resources and Ecology. As a Vice President, he led the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission and became responsible for a number of high-profile criminal arrests.

He was elected as President in 1998. During his administration, he improved the country’s tax collection system and worked toward demilitarizing the Philippine government. After three years of service, he was arrested on charges of plunder and was imprisoned in Tanay, Rizal for six years. He was released on an unconditional pardon in October 2007. Upon his release from prison, he spent his time on local humanitarian causes like disaster-relief missions and programs aimed to help the poor.