Famous Filipino Leaders

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Philippines is an island country in Southeast Asia. The country is not just rich in biodiversity and flaunts a scenic landscape but has been the hub of the economic progress of the current era. A middle power, Philippines was under the control of America before declaring its independence in 1946. It has a democratic government in the form of a constitutional republic with a presidential system. The President of Philippines serves as the head of the state as well as the head of the government. He is also the commander in chief of the armed forces. Philippines has been home to several important leaders who have virtually created history through their revolutionary leadership roles. There are also many interesting facts associated with their profiles. Did you know that Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Cojuangco Aquino III, son of ex-President Cory C. Aquino, never aimed to become a president? A political reformer, destiny played its game by helping Aquino become the President due to his commitment to push anti-corruption reforms. Other important Filipino leaders include Jejomar Jojo Binay, Juan Ponce Enrile, Manuel Mar Roxas, Joseph Estrada and so on. Read this section to know more about famous Filipino leaders.
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 1 
Rodrigo Duterte
(President of Philippines)
Rodrigo Duterte
150
Birthdate: March 28, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Maasin, Philippines

The current president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte took office at age 71, making him the oldest president of the country. His war on drugs has had a major impact in the Philippines. Known for his straightforward attitude in public, Duterte has admitted to killing three men in 1988 in an attempt to save a girl from being raped.

 2 
Ferdinand Marcos
(Former President of the Philippines)
Ferdinand Marcos
206
Birthdate: September 11, 1917
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Sarrat, Ilocos Norte, Philippine Islands
Died: September 28, 1989

Ferdinand Marcos served as the tenth president of the Philippines. Marcos' rule was marked by brutality, extravagance, and corruption, making him the most controversial leader of his generation. Deemed a kleptocrat, Marcos' dictatorship caused an economic collapse during which the country suffered greatly. He was removed from power in 1986 after a series of protests called the People Power Revolution.

 3 
Jose Rizal
(Filipino Nationalist and Writer Who is Considered One of the Greatest Heroes of the Philippines)
Jose Rizal
27
Birthdate: June 19, 1861
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Calamba, Laguna
Died: December 30, 1896

Jose Rizal was a Filipino polymath and nationalist. An ophthalmologist by profession, Rizal turned towards writing and inspired the Philippine Revolution through his writings. The revolution eventually led to Philippine independence and Rizal became a national hero. His life has inspired several biographical films and TV series.

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 4 
Andres Bonifacio
(Filipino Revolutionary)
Andres Bonifacio
17
Birthdate: November 30, 1863
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tondo
Died: May 10, 1897
Andrés Bonifacio, or the “Father of the Philippine Revolution,” established the Katipunan, the Philippine independence movement against the Spanish colonial reign. He also worked with La Liga Filipina. He is considered the first president of the Philippines though he was never officially the president. He was eventually executed for treason. 
 5 
Manuel L. Quezon
(2nd President of the Philippines)
Manuel L. Quezon
18
Birthdate: August 19, 1878
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Baler, Philippines
Died: August 1, 1944

Filipino statesman Manuel L. Quezon, or MLQ, was the president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines from 1935 to 1944, thus becoming the first Filipino to lead a government of the whole of the Philippines. He formed a government-in-exile in the U.S. after the Japanese invasion during World War II.

 6 
Miriam Defensor Santiago
(The First Filipina to be an International Criminal Court Judge)
Miriam Defensor Santiago
40
Birthdate: June 15, 1945
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Iloilo City
Died: September 29, 2016

Known for her legal expertise and her resolve to fight corruption, Miriam Defensor Santiago also became the first Filipina and the first from an Asian developing country to serve as a judge of the International Criminal Court. The senator was also a Ramon Magsaysay Award recipient and died of lung cancer.

 7 
Ramon Magsaysay
(7th President of the Philippines)
Ramon Magsaysay
16
Birthdate: August 31, 1907
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Iba, Zambales, Philippines
Died: March 17, 1957

Born to an artisan father, Ramon Magsaysay was initially a schoolteacher. He served as the president of the Philippines and successfully subdued the Huk movement of the local communist guerrillas. The Ramon Magsaysay Award, named after him, celebrates excellence of Asians in various fields such as journalism and government service.

 8 
Apolinario Mabini
(Filipino Revolutionary and the 1st Prime Minister of the Philippines)
Apolinario Mabini
16
Birthdate: July 23, 1864
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Talaga, Tanauan, Philippines
Died: May 13, 1903

The 1st prime minister of the Philippines, Apolinario Mabini led the Philippine Revolution and helped in drafting the Malolos Constitution. Born into a family of illiterate peasants, he became a lawyer, before joining the forces of revolutionary Emilio Aguinaldo. He spent most of his later years in exile, targeted by the US.

 9 
Lapu-Lapu
(Chieftain of Mactan, Philippines)
Lapu-Lapu
6
Birthdate: 1491 AD
Birthplace: Mactan, Philippines
Died: 1542 AD
Lapu-Lapu, also known as Çilapulapu or Cilapulapu, was a datu of Mactan. He is remembered for his revolt against the Spanish colonizers of the Philippines and is regarded as the first Filipino hero. He defeated Ferdinand Magellan and his allies at the Battle of Mactan in 1521.
 10 
Manuel Roxas
(Former President of the Philippines)
Manuel Roxas
21
Birthdate: January 1, 1892
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Roxas City, Philippines
Died: April 15, 1948

Manuel Roxas was a Filipino politician who served as the president of the Philippines from 1946 to 1948. He also served as the first president of the Third Philippine Republic after the USA relinquished its supremacy over the Philippines. Regarded as an important politician in the history of the Philippines, Roxas is depicted on the 100 Peso banknote. 

 11 
Diosdado Macapagal
(Former President of the Philippines)
Diosdado Macapagal
12
Birthdate: September 28, 1910
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lubao, Pampanga, Philippine Islands
Died: April 21, 1997

Diosdado Macapagal was a Filipino politician who served as the president of the Philippines from 1961 to 1965. Prior to his presidency, Macapagal served as the sixth vice-president from 1957 to 1961. Diosdado Macapagal is credited with inspiring his daughter Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who later became the president of the Philippines.

 12 
Elpidio Quirino
(Former President of the Philippines)
Elpidio Quirino
14
Birthdate: November 16, 1890
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vigan City, Philippines
Died: February 29, 1956

Elpidio Quirino was a Filipino politician and lawyer. From 1948 to 1953, Quirino served as the president of the Philippines. He was serving as the vice-president when he succeeded the presidency after the sudden death of incumbent President Manuel Roxas. In 2016, a memorial was established in Tokyo, Japan, in his honor.

 13 
Manny Pacquiao
(One of the Greatest Professional Boxers of All Time)
Manny Pacquiao
49
Birthdate: December 17, 1978
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kibawe, Bukidnon, Philippines

Before assuming office as a senator of the Phillippines, Manny Pacquiao was already known as a globally renowned boxer. Known to his fans as PacMan, he is the only boxer to have won world championships from the 1990s to the 2020s. BoxRec named him the world’s seventh-active boxer in 2020.

 14 
Sergio Osmeña
(The 4th President of the Philippines)
Sergio Osmeña
8
Birthdate: September 9, 1878
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cebu City, Philippines
Died: October 19, 1961

The 4th president of the Philippines, Sergio Osmeña had also been the country’s 1st vice-president. Initially a military commander of the Philippine army, he had been part of World War II. He had begun his political career as the governor of Cebu. He also founded the Nationalist Party.

 15 
Gina Lopez
(Philippine Environmental Activist Who Fought against Destructive Mining)
Gina Lopez
3
Birthdate: December 27, 1953
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Manila, Philippines
Died: August 19, 2019

Philippine environmental activist and philanthropist Gina Lopez is remembered for her relentless fight against hazardous and destructive mining practices. She had led the ABS-CBN Foundation and had chaired the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission. She had also served as the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources of the Philippines.

 16 
Carlos P. Garcia
(Former President of the Philippines)
Carlos P. Garcia
8
Birthdate: November 4, 1896
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Talibon, Philippines
Died: June 14, 1971

Carlos P. Garcia was a Filipino teacher, lawyer, orator, poet, political economist, public official, and Commonwealth military leader. He is best remembered for his service as the President of the Philippines from 18 March 1957 to 30 December 1961. An important political leader, Carlos P. Garcia also served as the Secretary of Foreign Affairs from 1953 to 1957.

 17 
Corazon Aquino
(Former President of Phillipines)
Corazon Aquino
164
Birthdate: January 25, 1933
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paniqui, Tarlac
Died: August 1, 2009
Corazon Aquino, or Cory Aquino, was the first female president of the Philippines. She led the People Power Revolution after her husband Senator Benigno Aquino Jr.’s assassination and ended the 21-year dictatorial reign of President Ferdinand Marcos. In 1986, Corazon was named Time Magazine’s Woman of the Year.
 18 
Benigno Aquino III
(15th President of the Philippines)
Benigno Aquino III
169
Birthdate: February 8, 1960
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sampaloc, Manila, Philippines
Died: June 24, 2021
Benigno Aquino III, also known as PNoy, or Noynoy, was the president of the Philippines from 2010 to 2016. He has also chaired the Liberal Party. Son of Filipino politician Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., he was named to Time 100 in 2013. He has also faced legal charges for corruption.
 19 
Jesse Robredo
(Filipino Politician)
Jesse Robredo
17
Birthdate: May 27, 1958
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Naga
Died: August 18, 2012

Jesse Robredo was a Filipino politician best remembered for his service as the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government from 2010 until his death in 2012. He is also remembered for his service as the Mayor of Naga on two occasions. In 2000, Jesse Robredo became the first Filipino mayor to receive the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service.

 20 
Gabriela Silang
(Revolutionary)
Gabriela Silang
0
Birthdate: March 19, 1731
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Santa, Philippines
Died: September 20, 1763
 21 
Henry Sy
(Entrepreneur, Businessperson)
Henry Sy
5
Birthdate: December 25, 1924
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Xiamen, China
Died: January 19, 2019
 22 
Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.
(President of Philippines)
Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.
147
Birthdate: September 13, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Santa Mesa, Manila, Philippines

Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. is a Filipino politician and the current president of the Philippines. A prominent political figure, Marcos also served as a senator of the Philippines from 2010 to 2016. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. is also currently serving as the Secretary of Agriculture. 

 23 
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
(Former President of Philippines)
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
122
Birthdate: April 5, 1947
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: San Juan, Metro Manila

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is a Filipino politician and academic. From 2001 to 2010, Arroyo served as the president of the Philippines. Before serving as the president, Arroyo served as a senator and as the vice president of the Philippines. She later served as the Speaker of the House of Representatives from 2018 to 2019.

 24 
Emilio Aguinaldo
(President of the Philippines (1899-1901))
Emilio Aguinaldo
55
Birthdate: March 22, 1869
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kawit, Philippines
Died: February 6, 1964
Filipino revolutionary and military leader Emilio Aguinaldo was the first president of the Philippines, from 1899 to 1901. He was also the youngest president of his country and the first of any Asian republic. He was part of the Philippine Revolution, the Spanish–American War, and the Philippine–American War.
 25 
Benigno Aquino, Jr.
(Filipino Senator Who Was the Husband of President Corazon Aquino)
Benigno Aquino, Jr.
74
Birthdate: November 27, 1932
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Concepcion, Philippines
Died: August 21, 1983

Benigno Aquino, Jr., also known as Ninoy Aquino, was the son of Filipino politician Benigno Aquino Sr. and grew up to be a senator and the chief opposition leader during President Ferdinand E. Marcos’s rule. A supporter of democracy, he was assassinated at the Manila airport after returning from exile.

 26 
Risa Hontiveros
(Filipino Politician Who is Currently Serving as a Senator of the Philiippines)
Risa Hontiveros
44
Birthdate: February 24, 1966
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Manila

Risa Hontiveros is a Filipino politician, journalist, and community leader. After starting her career as a journalist, Hontiveros went on to establish herself as a prominent political leader and is currently serving as a Senator of the Philippines. Over the course of her career, Risa Hontiveros has received several honors, including a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

 27 
José P. Laurel
(The 3rd President of the Philippines)
José P. Laurel
12
Birthdate: March 9, 1891
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tanauan, Philippines
Died: November 6, 1959

The 3rd president of the Philippines, José P. Laurel had also led the country as its Commissioner of Justice and Minister of the Interior. His rule as a president, though, was largely nominal, as the Philippines was occupied by Japan back then. Charged with treason multiple times, he managed to escape trials.

 28 
Sara Duterte
(Lawyer)
Sara Duterte
92
Birthdate: May 31, 1978
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Davao City, Philippines
 29 
Imelda Marcos
(Filipino Politician)
Imelda Marcos
136
Birthdate: July 2, 1929
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Manila

Imelda Marcos is a retired Filipino politician with a controversial history. She became the First Lady of the Philippines in 1965 when her husband, Ferdinand Marcos, became President of the nation. Her family stole billions of dollars from the country’s citizens and lived lavishly. The Marcoses were unseated during the People Power Revolution in February 1986.

 30 
Grace Poe
(Filipina Politician)
Grace Poe
35
Birthdate: September 3, 1968
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Jaro, Iloilo City

Before being adopted by iconic Filipino actors Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces, Grace Poe was found as an infant in front of a cathedral in Iloilo city. She grew up to be a politician and senator of the Philippines. She has previously also chaired the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.

 31 
Charo Santos-Concio
21
Birthdate: October 27, 1955
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Calapan
 32 
Salvador Laurel
(The 8th Vice-President and the 5th Prime Minister of the Philippines)
Salvador Laurel
4
Birthdate: November 18, 1928
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Manila, Philippines
Died: January 27, 2004

The 8th vice-president of the Philippines, Salvador Laurel had also served as the country’s 5th prime minister. Initially part of the New Society Movement, he later joined the multi-party UNIDO alliance. A Yale alumnus, he also had a successful career as a lawyer, before he stepped into politics.

 33 
Fernando López
(The 3rd and 7th Vice-President of the Philippines)
Fernando López
4
Birthdate: April 13, 1904
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Iloilo City
Died: May 26, 1993

The 3rd and 7th vice-president of the Philippines, Fernando López had also chaired the Filipino media conglomerate ABS-CBN Corporation. Though educated in law, he didn’t practice and stepped into politics instead, as the mayor of Iloilo. He also co-founded universities and co-owned several big companies.

 34 
Juan Ponce Enrile
(Filipino Lawyer and Politician)
Juan Ponce Enrile
26
Birthdate: February 14, 1924
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Gonzaga, Philippines

Juan Ponce Enrile is a Filipino lawyer and politician. He is best known for his service as a Senator of the Philippines on three occasions between 1987 and 2016. He also served as the President of the Senate from 2008 to 2013. Enrile was also the Minister of National Defense from 1970 to 1971 and again from 1972 to 1986.

 35 
Francis Escudero
(Filipino Politician and Former Governor of Sorsogon)
Francis Escudero
22
Birthdate: October 10, 1969
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Manila

Francis Escudero is a Filipino politician and lawyer. He is best known for his service as the Governor of Sorsogon from 2019 to 2022. He is currently serving as a Senator of the Philippines. Francis Escudero has also worked as a lecturer at the University of the Philippines.

 36 
Francis Pangilinan
(Filipino Politician Who us Currently Serving as the Chairperson of the 'Liberal Party')
Francis Pangilinan
35
Birthdate: August 24, 1963
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Manila

Francis Pangilinan is a Filipino politician, lawyer, and farm owner. He is best known for his service as a Senator of the Philippines on two occasions between 2001 and 2022. Francis Pangilinan is currently serving as the Chairperson of the Liberal Party.

 37 
Joseph Estrada
(13th President of the Philippines)
Joseph Estrada
68
Birthdate: April 19, 1937
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Tondo, Philippines
 38 
Imee Marcos
(Politician)
Imee Marcos
87
Birthdate: November 12, 1955
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mandaluyong
 39 
Aurora Quezon
(Former First Lady of the Philippines)
Aurora Quezon
8
Birthdate: February 19, 1888
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Baler
Died: April 28, 1949

Aurora Quezon was a Filipino political figure best remembered for her role as the First Lady of the Philippines from 1935 to 1944. Quezon is also remembered for her humanitarian activities; from 1947 to 1949, she served as the chairperson of the Philippine Red Cross. In the 2018 biographical drama film Quezon's Game, Aurora Quezon was played by Rachel Alejandro.

 40 
Claro M. Recto
(Philippine Jurist and Politician Who Led the Nationalist Movement in the Philippines)
Claro M. Recto
8
Birthdate: February 8, 1890
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tiaong, Philippines
Died: October 2, 1960

Former Philippine senator and Senate Minority Leader Claro Mayo Recto is remembered as a nationalist. He was a major figure of the Filipino-first movement and was against American neo-colonialism. A jurist, he had also been the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

 41 
Richard Gomez
(Filipino Actor, Director, Television Presenter, Épée Fencer, and Politician)
Richard Gomez
22
Birthdate: April 7, 1966
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Manila, Philippines

Richard Gomez is a Filipino actor, director, television presenter, épée fencer, and politician. He is best known for his service as the Mayor of Ormoc from 2016 to 2022. He achieved popularity as a fencer in 2005, when he won a gold medal at the Southeast Asian Games. Gomez has also won many acting honors, including several Gawad Urian Awards.

 42 
Fidel V. Ramos
(President of the Philippines from 1992 to 1998)
Fidel V. Ramos
71
Birthdate: March 18, 1928
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Lingayen, Philippines
Died: July 31, 2022

Fidel V. Ramos was a Filipino politician and general. He is best remembered for his service as the President of the Philippines from 1992 to 1998. His presidency was marked by technological development, economic boom, and political stability in the Philippines. Fidel V. Ramos also served as the Secretary of National Defense from 22 January 1988 to 18 July 1991.

 43 
Macario Sakay
(Revolutionary)
Macario Sakay
2
Birthdate: March 1, 1878
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Manila, Philippines
Died: September 13, 1907
 44 
Tito Sotto
(Former Philippine Senate President)
Tito Sotto
37
Birthdate: August 24, 1948
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Manila

Former Filipino senate president Vicente Castelo Sotto III, also known as Tito Sotto or Tito Sen, was also a well-known musician and songwriter who had co-founded the band VST & Co. He had also co-hosted Eat Bulaga! And had represented the Philippine national bowling team in international tournaments.

 45 
Isabelo de los Reyes
(Co-Founder of the Philippine Independent Church 'Iglesia Filipina Independiente')
Isabelo de los Reyes
4
Birthdate: July 7, 1864
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vigan
Died: October 10, 1938

Isabelo de los Reyes, also known as Don Belong, was a prominent Filipino politician and activist who co-founded the independent Philippine church Iglesia Filipina Independiente. A labor leader and author, too, he served as the senator of the Philippines. He also wrote extensively on folklore, religion, and history.

 46 
Cristine Reyes
(Iconic Philippine Actor, Model, and Dancer)
Cristine Reyes
32
Birthdate: February 5, 1989
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Marikina

Filipino actor, model, and dancer Cristine Reyes is also known as the Ultimate Star in the Philippines. She soared to fame with the reality show StarStruck and later starred in hit films such as Seven Sundays and No Other Woman. She has also been part of series such as Mulawin.

 47 
Jejomar Binay
(Vice President of the Philippines from 2010 to 2016)
Jejomar Binay
33
Birthdate: November 11, 1942
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Manila, Philippines

Jejomar Binay is a Filipino politician and lawyer. He is known for his service as the Vice President of the Philippines from 2010 to 2016. He also served as the Mayor of Makati on three occasions between 1986 and 2010. A human rights lawyer, Binay helped establish the Movement for Brotherhood, Integrity and Nationalism, Inc. alongside other human rights lawyers.

 48 
Panfilo Lacson
(Former Philippine Police Chief and Senator)
Panfilo Lacson
27
Birthdate: June 1, 1948
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Imus

Panfilo Lacson had a successful stint as the Philippine National Police chief before he stepped into politics and became a senator. His life has inspired the 2000 film Ping Lacson: Super Cop. Announcing his retirement plans in 2022, he said he would launch an agri-aqua venture.

 49 
Jovito Salonga
(President of the Senate of the Philippines from 1987 to 1992)
Jovito Salonga
4
Birthdate: June 22, 1920
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Pasig
Died: March 10, 2016

Jovito Salonga was a Filipino lawyer and politician. He is best remembered for his service as the President of the Senate of the Philippines from 1987 to 1992. He also served as a Senator of the Philippines on two occasions between 1965 and 1992. In 2007, Jovito Salonga was honored with the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service.

 50 
Bong Revilla
(Actor, Film producer, Comedian, Film actor)
Bong Revilla
66
Birthdate: September 25, 1966
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Manila