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First in the Philippines

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First Circumnavigator of the Globe
Although many historians considered him as the first circumnavigator of the globe, Ferdinand Magellan never completed his voyage around the planet. Magellan, a sea captain, commanded a fleet of five wooden Spanish ships with 241 men on board and embarked on what is now considered as "the greatest of all epics of human discovery". Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer who discovered America for Spain, traveled 8,000 miles aboard a Spanish ship across the Atlantic Ocean. But Magellan's men embarked on an expedition that brought them 42,000 miles around the planet.

The voyage began on September 20, 1519. Magellan and his three remaining ships reached the Philippines on March 17, 1521. On April 27, he was killed by the men of Lapulapu, chieftain of Mactan Island in the Philippines. Only one ship, the Trinidad, with 18 European crewmen led by Sebastian del Cano and four Malay crewmen (maybe Filipinos) completed the trip around the world and arrived in Seville, Spain in 1522.

First Landing
On March 16, 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in service of Spain landed at Samar.

First Mass
On March 31, 1521 (Easter Sunday) Spanish friar Pedro Valderama conducted the first Catholic mass in Limasawa, Leyte. Rajah Kolambu, who forged a blood compact of friendship with Magellan two days earlier, attended along with Rajah Siagu.

First Filipino Christians
On April 14, 1521, Rajah Humabon, Rajah Kolambu, and 400 other Filipino natives were baptized into Christianity during a ceremony administered by friar Pedro Valderamma.

First Filipino Priest
In 1590, Martin Lakandula was ordained as an Augustinian priest, becoming the first native Filipino to serve as a friar. In 1906, Jorge Barlin became the first Filipino bishop under the Roman Catholic Church. The first Filipino archbishop was Viviano Gorordo while the first Filipino cardinal was Rufino Cardinal Santos.

First Chair
It was said that Filipinos first used a chair in April 1521 when Ferdinand Magellan gave Rajah Humabon of Cebu a red velvet Spanish chair. According to Halupi, a book of essays on Philippine history, early Filipinos used to sit on the floor. 

First Spanish Monument
Also on April 14, 1521, Ferdinand Magellan planted a huge cross in Cebu. It was here where friar Valderama baptized Rajah Humabon, Rajah Kolambu and 400 other Filipinos into Christianity.

First Battle
On April 14, 1521, the first battle between Filipinos and the European conquerors took place in Mactan, Cebu. Filipino chieftain Lapu-lapu defeated Magellan and his men. After Magellan was killed, Sebastian del Cano led his men back to Spain, completing their voyage around the planet.

First Religious Order
The Franciscans were the first Catholic religious order to establish their presence in the Philippines. The Franciscans came here in 1577; Jesuits, 1581; Dominicans, 1587; Recollects, 1606; Paulists, 1862; Sisters of Charity, 1862; Capuchins, 1886; and Benedictines, 1895.

First Spanish-Filipino Marriage
In 1585, Spanish soldier Pablo Alvarez married Nicolasa de Alvarez, a native of Lubao, Pampanga.

First Muslims
Makdum, Rajah Baguinda and Abu Bakar propagated Islam in the Philippines in the 15th Century.

First Spanish Governor General
Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, who founded the first European settlement in Cebu City in 1565, is considered the first Spanish governor general in the Philippines. He founded the city of Manila and declared it the capital of the archipelago on June 3, 1571. The last Spanish governor general in the Philippines was Riego delos Rios in 1898.

First Archbishop
Domingo Salazar was the first archbishop of the Philippines, which was regarded as a single diocese in the 1580s.

First Filipina Directress
According to Pampango historian Zoilo Galang, Sor Candida Ocampo was the first and only Filipino who became a directress of an Spanish institution in the Philippines. In 1594, Ocampo, who was born in Camarines Sur, was appointed as the directress of Colegio de Santa Isabel.

First Cannon Maker
Even before the Spaniards came to the Philippines, Filipino natives had already learned the trick of making cannons, perhaps from Chinese traders. Historians claimed that Panday Pira who lived between 1483 and 1576 had devised the cannons which Muslim leader Rajah Sulayman used to protect Manila against the invading Spanish troops. Panday Pira was from Tarlac.

First Chinese Kingdom
After attacking Manila, Chinese conqueror Limahong established a kingdom near the mouth of Agno River in Pangasinan province on December 3, 1574. Agno was the seat of the old civilization. Historians have mentioned one Princess Urduja who ruled Pangasinan before the Spaniards came. In 1660, Filipino leader Malong attempted to establish another kingdom in Pangasinan.

First Revolt
The first attempt to rise against Spanish colonial rule was carried out by chieftains of Bulacan led by Esteban Taes in 1587. On October 26, 1588, Spanish authorities discovered a plot by Magat Salamat of Hagonoy who tried to enlist the support of his relatives in Borneo.

First Filipino in Exile
Felipe Salonga of Polo, Bulacan (now Valenzuela City) became the first Filipino who was put in exile by Spanish authorities for starting a revolt in Bulacan in 1587. He was exiled to Mexico.

First Mention of King of Tagalogs
New historical writings have mentioned the name of one Raha Matanda or Rajah Ache (Lakandula) who ruled over Tondo, a kingdom encompassing an area that now includes Bulacan, Metro Manila, Rizal and Quezon in the 16th Century. Rajah Matanda was the heir to his father's throne and was a grandson of Sultan Siripada I (Bolkeiah I) of Borneo. In 1643, Don Pedro Ladia of Borneo who claimed to be a descendant of Rajah Matanda started a revolt and called himself the king of the Tagalog. He was executed in Manila. Historians said that when the troops of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi attacked Manila in 1571, the men of Rajah Soliman - the king of Manila - rose up in resistance.

In 1847, Apolinario dela Cruz of Tayabas was considered king of the Tagalogs. Bernardo Carpio, a mythical giant character, was also regarded as a king of the Tagalogs. In the 1900s, the revolutionary government proclaimed Macario Sakay as the president of the Tagalog Republic.

First Chinese Revolt
On October 3, 1603, the Chinese rose in revolt in Manila and was driven away to San Pablo, Laguna where they made their last stand.

First Juan dela Cruz
A certain Pantaleon Perez led the Pangasinan revolt on November 3, 1762. Perez assumed the name Juan dela Cruz Palaris. It was mentioned that on November 11, 1849, most illiterate Filipinos during the administration of Spanish governor general Narciso Claveria y Zaldua were given the Christian surname dela Cruz. Our great ancestors, who could not read and write, drew a cross as their signature on documents and so were known for their dela Cruz surnames. In contrast, Filipino descendants of rajahs and noble men were given the option to keep their names. Among the clans, who were also exempted from forced labor and paying taxes under the Spanish rule, were the Lakandulas, Solimans, Gatmaitans, Gatbontons, Salongas, Layas, Lapiras, Macapagals, Salamats, Manuguits, Balinguits, Banals, Kalaws, among others.

First Filipino
The first man who used Filipino as a title of citizenship was Luis Rodriguez Varela, a Spaniard who was born in Manila. He preferred to be called El Conde Pilipino in 1795. (Source: Halupi)

First Map
The first Philippine map was drawn in 1734 by Nicolas dela Cruz and Francisco Suarez under the instruction of Jesuit historian Pedro Murillo Velarde. The original map was 27 inches wide and 42 inches long.

First Dutch Presence
On June 10, 1647, a Dutch fleet arrived in Manila Bay and later attacked Cavite province.

First British Presence
On October 4, 1762, British forces invaded Manila. They took possession of Intramuros until May 31, 1764.

First Filipino Printer
The Spaniards introduced the art of printing in the Philippines, almost half a century before the Americans learned how to use it. It is believed that the first book in the country was Doctrina Christiana en letra y lengua China, which was printed in 1593 by Juan de Vera, a Filipino-Chinese. In 1948, Fray Jose Gonzales of the Dominican Order discovered this book in the Vatican Library. Tomas Pinpin is regarded as the first Filipino printer. He was born in Abucay, Bataan but records about his birth were lost after the Dutch invaders destroyed the town of Abucay in 1646. Pinpin learned the art of printing from the Chinese artisans when he worked in the shop of Filipino-Chinese printer, Luis Beltran. 

Among his works were Arte y Reglas de la Lengua Tagala (1610) and the Librong Pag-aaralan nang mga Tagalog nang Uicang Castila (1610) printed in Bataan. From 1609 to 1639, Pinpin printed more than a dozen titles. Other literary pieces, which appeared during this period were the poems of Pedro Bukaneg (1590-1626), Fernando Bagongbanta (1605), and Pedro Ossorio (1625). The art of modern printing was discovered by German scholar Johannes Gutenberg (1394-1468). The Chinese, however, are credited for having developed their own system of printing, hundreds of years before Gutenberg was born.

First Newspaper
In 1637, Tomas Pinpin published Successos Felices (Fortunate Events), a 14-page newsletter in Spanish that is now widely regarded as the first Philippine newsletter. On December 1, 1846, La Esperanza, the first daily newspaper, was published in the country. Other early newspapers were La Estrella (1847), Diario de Manila (1848) and Boletin Oficial de Filipinas (1852). The first provincial newspaper was El Eco de Vigan (1884), which was issued in Ilocos.

First Magazine and Journal
Seminario Filipino, the first religious magazine in the country, was first issued in 1843. Meanwhile, El Faro Juridico became the first professional journal in the country when it saw print in 1882.

First Guide Book
According to Pampango historian Zoilo Galang, the first guidebook in the Philippines (Guia de Forasteros) was printed in 1834.

First Novel
According to literary expert Bievenido Lumbera, the first Filipino novel was Ninay, written by Pedro Paterno and published in 1880. Jose Rizal's Noli Me Tangere was published in 1887 while El Filibusterismo came out of the press in 1891. The first English novel written in English by a Filipino was Zoilo Galang's A Child of Sorrow.

First Woman Writer and Poet
According to Pampango historian Zoilo Galang, the first Filipino poetess was Leona Florentino of Ilocos while the first Filipino woman writer was Rosario de Leon of Pampanga. The first Filipino woman novelist, Galang added, was Magalena Jalandoni from Visayas while the first Filipino woman who wrote an English novel was Felicidad Ocampo.

First Non-Catholic Marriage
The first non-Catholic marriage in Manila under the Spanish control took place in the early 19th Century when American Henry Sturgis, who arrived in the country in 1827, married Josephina Borras of Manila. They were wed aboard a British warship at the Manila harbor. 

First Bakery
In 1631, the Spanish government established and operated the first bakery in Manila.

First Drugstore
Botica Boie is considered the first drugstore in the country, having been established by Dr. Lorenzo Negrao in 1830.

First Lighthouse
In 1846, the Farola was built at the mouth of Pasig River, becoming the first lighthouse in the country.

First Electric Lamp
The first electric lamp in the country is said to be the one designed by Ateneo students in 1878, 12 years before Thomas Houston Electric Co. installed Manila's first electric street lights.

First Botanical Garden
In 1858, Governor General Fernando Norzagaray ordered the establishment of the Botanical Garden. It can now be found beside the Manila City Hall.

First Waterworks
Manila had its first centralized water system in July 1882 following the completion of the Carriedo waterworks, whose reservoir was in Marikina. 

First Railroad
In 1892, a railway connecting Manila and Dagupan was completed. It was operated by the Manila Railroad Company.

First Telephone System
The first telegraph line was opened in 1873 while the country's first telephone system was established in Manila in 1890. Electric lines were first installed in 1895.

First Mining Firm
In the early 19th Century, Johann Andreas Zobel founded the first iron and copper mining firm in Bulacan and Baguio. The first Zobel in the country was Jacobo Zobel Hinsch, a German who went to Manila in 1849. One of the Zobels - Jacobo Zobel Zangroniz latter married Trinidad Ayala de Roxas, an heir of the rich Ayala and Roxas families.

First Calendar
The first calendar with a Philippine almanac was first released in 1897. The first issue of the calendar was titled "La Sonrisa".

First Filipino Chemist
Johann Andreas Zobel also founded the first chemical laboratory in the country. Meanwhile, Anacleto del Rosario is considered as the first Filipino chemist.

First Philanthropist
Dona Margarita Roxas de Ayala, a daughter of Domingo Roxas, is considered as the first philanthropist in the country. She assumed the control of the family's Casa Roxas in 1843 and was one of the founders of La Concordia College.

First Social Club
The first social club was established in Manila in 1898. It was the Filipino Independiente, a circle of educated and rich Filipino nationalists. It succeeded Jose Rizal's La Liga Filipina, which was more of a movement.

World's First Steel Church
The steel church of San Sebastian, now Basilica Minore, is considered as the world's first-ever all-steel basilica. Designed by Don Genaro Palacios in 1883, this small, jewel box church was prefabricated in Belgium. The steel plates, weighing about 50,000 tons were brought to the Philippines in six ships.  The walls were filled with mixed gravel, sand and cement to fortify the structure. Stained glass windows from France were later installed. The church, an earthquake-proof structure, was completed in 1891. There were arguments that French architect Gustavo Eiffel, who designed the Eiffel Tower of Paris and Statue of Liberty in New York, was also the one who designed the San Sebastian Church.

First Hotel 
It is believed that Hotel del Oriente in Binondo, Manila was the first hotel built in the Philippines. The hotel was a two-story building with 83 rooms fronting the Plaza de Carlos III. It was a first-class hotel constructed in the 1850s just beside the famous landmark, La Insular Cigarette and Cigar Factory. The national hero - Jose Rizal - reportedly stayed at Room 22 of that hotel, facing the Binondo Church. Hotel del Oriente was among the crown jewels of the old Binondo (or Minondoc as it was earlier known) which was named after binundok. It was part of the Provincia de Tondo (now Manila) and was declared one of its districts in 1859.

Both Hotel del Oriente and La Insular were burned down during the Japanese Occupation. The Metrobank building now occupies the former site of the two buildings. The oldest surviving hotel in the country is the Manila Hotel, which was built in 1912. The world's first hotel was the Tremont, which opened in Boston in 1829. It had a dining room for 200 people, 12 public rooms and 120 bedrooms.

First Republic
Early Philippine republics were Kakarong de Sili republic in Pandi, Bulacan; Tejeros Convention in Malabon; and Biak na Bato republic in San Miguel, Bulacan. Historians, however, wrote that the first real Philippine republic was established in Malolos, Bulacan on January 21, 1899. Two days later, the First Philippine Republic was inaugurated while General Emilio Aguinaldo was declared its first president.

First President of Katipunan
It was Deodato Arellano who became the first president of the Katipunan, a revolutionary movement against Spanish rule in the Philippines.

First Vice President
Mariano Trias is considered as the first Filipino vice-president who assumed the post in 1897.

First Army Chief
General Artemio Ricarte served as the first captain general of the Philippine Army which was established by the Tejeros Convention on March 22, 1897. Ricarte was replaced by General Antonio Luna on January 22, 1899.

First Calendar
The first calendar with a Philippine almanac was first released in 1897. The first issue of the calendar was titled "La Sonrisa".

First Protestant Mission
The first Presbyterian mission arrived in the country in April 1899. American couple Dr. and Mrs. James Rodgers led the mission. 

First Filipino Protestant Minister
Nicolas Zamora, a former Catholic priest, later became the first ordained protestant minister in the Philippines.

First Election
The first municipal election in the Philippines was held in Baliuag, Bulacan under the supervision of American military governor general Arthur MacArthur on May 6, 1899.

First Ice Cream Parlor
In December 1899, Clarke's Ice Cream Parlor became the first ice cream parlor in the Philippines when it opened its store at Plaza Moraga in Binondo, Manila. Metcalf Clarke owned it.

First Autonomous Region
Before the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and the Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) were formed in the 1980s, Panay Island used to have "Cantonal Republic of Negros". The Americans, however, abolished the republic and turned Negros into a regular province on April 30, 1901.

First American Civil Governor
The first American civil governor in the Philippines became the 27th president of the United States. William Howard Taft, who served in the Philippines from 1901 to 1903, was also the only man who became a US president (1909-1912) and then a Supreme Court chief justice (1921-1930). Known for his weight of over 300 pounds, Taft became a very notable person in the US and the Philippines. One of the largest road networks in Metro Manila, the Taft Avenue, was named after him. President McKinley sent him to head the Philippine Commission in 1900. His task was to form a civil government in a country disrupted by the Spanish-American War and the rebellion led by General Emilio Aguinaldo, whom local historians called the country's first president.

First Superintendent of Manila Schools
Dr. David Prescott Barrows, one of the passengers of American ship USAT Thomas, was appointed the first superintendent of schools for Manila and later the first director of the Bureau of Education. USAT Thomas was named after General George Henry Thomas, a hero of the Battle of Chickamauga during the American Civil War. American journalist Frederic Marquardt coined the term Thomasites to refer to American teachers who came to the Philippines aboard USAT Thomas in 1901. (Source: Panorama Magazine)

First Filipino Superintendent
Camilo Osias was the first Filipino division superintendent of schools. Osias later became a senator.

First American College
The Philippine Normal School (PNS) was the first college established in the country under the American government. PNS opened its campus to Filipino students in Manila on September 1, 1901. It became the Philippine Normal University on January 11, 1992.

First Concrete Building
According to Pampango historian Zoilo Galang, the Kneedler Building was the first concrete office building in the Philippines.

First Filipino Chief Justice
In 1901, Cayetano Arrelano became the first Filipino chief justice of the court.

First Registered Professionals
A friend of Jose Rizal, Dr. Trinidad H. Pardo de Tavera, holds the distinction of being the first doctor to sign in the Book I of Registered Professionals on January 25, 1902. Pardo de Tavera, a scientist, was a part of the first Civil Government in the 1900s. Among the members of the Pharmacy profession, it was Dr. Leon Ma. Guerrero who appeared as the first registrant on the second earliest compiled Book I. The date was May 22, 1903. Guerrero is known in history books as the first among many Filipinos to put the Philippines on the scientific map of the world. In Book I of Dentistry, it was Dr. Wallace G. Skidmore who first registered on September 21, 1903. The Board of Dentistry was the first board of professionals created in 1899. The idea of organizing the boards of professionals came from the Americans who occupied the Philippines in 1899. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer)

First Inventor
In 1853, the Spanish colonial government awarded a gold medal to Candido Lopez Diaz, a Filipino who invented a machine for Manila hemp or abaka.

First Filipino Chemist
Johann Andreas Zobel also founded the first chemical laboratory in the country. Meanwhile, Anacleto del Rosario is considered as the first Filipino chemist.

First Dentist
Bonifacio Arevalo is widely considered as the first Filipino dentist. In 1908, he was the founding president of Sociedad Dental de Filipinas, the first dental organization in the country. In 1912, Colegio Dental del Liceo de Manila became the first dental school. The first woman dentist was Catalina Arevalo.

First Economist
According to Pampango historian Zoilo Galang, the first Filipino economist was Gregorio Sanciangco.

First Pilot
Leoncio Malinas is considered as the first Filipino pilot. He first flew his plane on April 20, 1920.

First Accountants
Vicente Fabella is considered as the first Filipino certified public accountant (CPA) and Belen Enrile Gutierrez, the first woman CPA in the country.

First Cardiologist
The first Filipino cardiologist was Dr. Mariano Alimurung, who became an honorary member of the Mexican Society of Cardiology.

First West Point Graduate
Vicente Lim was the first Filipino who graduated from the prestigious West Point Academy, a military school in the United States.

First Female Professionals
Among Filipino women, it was Maria Francisco de Villacerna who became the first lawyer; Honoria Acosta-Sison, first physician; Catalina Arevalo, first dentist; Encarnacion Alzona, first historian; Celia Castillo, first sociologist; Filomena Francisco, first pharmacist; Belen Enrile Gutierrez, first CPA; Socorro Simuangco, first dermatologist; Carmen Concha, first film director and producer; Criselda J. Garcia-Bausa, first paleontologist; Felipe Landa Jocano, first anthropologist; and Ali Macawaris, first oceanographer.

A visitor of this website said that Elena Ruiz Causin of Cebu could be among the first female lawyers in the country.

First Railroad
The Manila-Dagupan Railroad was completed in 1901, becoming the country's first railway system.

First Automobile
In 1900, La Estrella del Norte shipped from France to the Philippines a "George Richard", the first ever automobile to have landed on the native soil. Its owner was one Dr. Miciano, a rich doctor. The first shipment of automobiles for sale in the country was in 1907, with Bachrach Motors, an affiliate of American firm Ford Motor Co. as the importer.

First Labor Union
Isabelo delos Reyes, a writer, established the Union Obrera Democratica, the first organized labor union in the country on February 2, 1902.

First Political Party
On November 6, 1902, Pedro Paterno, a writer, scholar and former prime minister of President Emilio Aguinaldo, founded the Liberal political party.

First Opera
In 1905, Magdapio, the first Filipino opera, was staged at Zorilla Theater. Pedro Paterno wrote the opera, which was set to the music of Bonus.

First Convention of Governors
For the first time on October 2, 1906, the governors of Philippine provinces met in a convention in Manila. Sergio Osmena presided the convention.

First General Elections
The country's first general elections were held on July 30, 1907 under the American government. The people elected the members of the First Philippine Assembly. 

First Speaker
The first speaker of the Philippine Assembly, whose members were elected in 1907, was Sergio Osmena.

First Actor in Politics
Before Lito Lapid became governor of Pampanga and Bong Revilla assumed the governorship of Cavite, Jose Padilla Sr., a movie actor in the 1930s, had served as the provincial governor of Bulacan. The first actor who invaded the senate was Rogelio dela Rosa.

First Diplomats
Benito Legarda and Pablo Ocampo were the first Filipino resident commissioners to the Unites States.

First Labor Day
The first Labor Day in the Philippines was celebrated on May 1, 1913 during the first National Labor Congress in Manila. 

First Film
The first Filipino-produced film, "La Vida de Rizal" was released in 1912. Jose Nepomuceno produced the first Filipino full-length film "Dalagang Bukid" in 1919.

First Actor in Politics
Before Lito Lapid became governor of Pampanga and Bong Revilla assumed the governorship of Cavite, Jose Padilla Sr., a movie actor in the 1930s, had served as the provincial governor of Bulacan. The first actor who invaded the senate was Rogelio dela Rosa.

First Movie Theater
Salon de Pertierra, the country's first movie theater, was built in Escolta, Manila in 1897. A short French film was first shown in the threater.

First Comic Stip
"Kenkoy" is considered as the first comic strip in the Philippines. Cartoonist Tony Velasquez first published the comic strip in 1929.

First TV Station
Alto Broadcasting System (ABS) Channel 3, the first television station in the country, went on the air in 1953.

First Woman Cabinet Officials
Sofira Reyes de Veyra served as "social secretary" under the Quezon and Roxas administrations. In 1941, former President Elpidio Quirino named Asuncion Arriola Perez as the secretary of the Bureau of Public Welfare.

First Woman Senator
Geronima Pecson was elected to senate in 1947, opening the doors for Filipino women who wanted to join national politics.

First Olympian
David Nepomuceno, a Filipino serving in the US Navy, was the first Filipino Olympian. A sprinter, Nepomuceno was the country's sole representative to the 1924 Olympics, which was held in Paris.

First Balagtasan
The first balagtasan, a local term for poetic debate in honor of Francisco Balagtas, took place in Manila on April 6, 1924. The first participants were Jose Corazon de Jesus and Florentino Collantes.

First International Opera Singer
Before Lea Salonga became famous in London, New York and Paris for her portrayal of Kim in the musical Miss Saigon, a Filipino woman had long gained international recognition in the world of theater. Jovita Fuentes became famous in Europe for her opera lead roles in Madama Butterfly, Turandot, La Boheme, Iris, Salome and Li Tae Pe in the 1930s. 

First Grand Opera
Noli Me Tangere, an adaptation of Jose Rizal's first novel became the first Filipino full-length or grand opera in 1957.

First Woman Barber
In June 1927 issue of Philippine Free Press, Martina Lunud from Olongapo City was featured as "Manila's Lady Barber" who could also be the first professional woman barber. She had to find her niche in the male-dominated profession and worked for La Marina barbershop and People's barbershop in Sta. Cruz, Manila later. "This is not a girl's work, I think, but I have done my best to a certain extent, and my customers like my work," the Free Press quoted Lunud as saying. (Source: Ambeth Ocampo, Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Asia's First Airline 
The Philippine Airlines (PAL), which was established in 1941, takes pride in being Asia's oldest commercial airline. However, huge financial losses forced its owner Lucio Tan to close the airline in September 2000. It resumed operations a few months later. The first commercial flight in the country was recorded on March 15, 1941 when a twin-engine Beech Model 18 owned by PAL carried five passengers from Manila to Baguio City in 45 minutes.

First Senate President
The country's first senate president was Manuel Quezon (1917-1935) under the US government. The senate has produced a number of presidents and political luminaries such as Manuel Roxas, Sergio Osmena, Claro M. Recto, Jose Laurel, Camilo Osias, Eulogio Rodriguez, Juan Sumulong, Quintin Paredes, Lorenzo Tanada, Jose Diokno, Benigno Aquino, Ferdinand Marcos, Arturo Tolentino, Gil Puyat, Jovito Salonga, Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

First Female Justice
Cecilia Munoz Palma became the first woman to top the bar exam with a score of 92.6 percent in 1935. Palma also became the first female prosecutor in 1947, the first woman judge at the Court of First Instance in the 1950s, first female justice of the Supreme Court in 1973 and first female president of a constitutional commission in 1986.

First House Speaker Under Republic
Eugenio Perez of San Carlos, Pangasinan became the first speaker of the House of Representatives under the Republic in 1946. Among the laws passed during his tenure were the Magna Carta for Labor, the Minimum Wage Law, the Rural Bank Law and the Central Bank charter.

First Woman Cabinet Officials
Sofira Reyes de Veyra served as "social secretary" under the Quezon and Roxas administrations. In 1941, former President Elpidio Quirino named Asuncion Arriola Perez as the secretary of the Bureau of Public Welfare.

First Woman Senator
Geronima Pecson was elected to senate in 1947, opening the doors for Filipino women who wanted to join national politics.

First Woman Battalion Commander
Lt. Col. Ramona Palabrica-Go became the first woman battalion commander in the history of the male-dominated Philippine Army in January 2003. She was appointed as commander of the elite Aviation Battalion under the Light Armor Brigade based at Fort Magsaysay in Laur, Nueva Ecija province. She was 45 years old and had three children at the time of appointment.

First National Celebration of June 12
The first national celebration of June 12 as Independence Day took place in 1962 under the Macapagal administration. Former President Diosdado Macapagal signed the law moving the celebration of the holiday from July 4 to June 12 on May 12, 1962. Quezon Representative Manuel Enverga was the one who proposed the law.

First US President To Visit Manila
US President Dwight Eisenhower became the first incumbent American president to have visited the Philippines when he arrived in Manila on June 14, 1960.

First National Artist
Fernando Amorsolo, a painter, was the first national artist declared by the Philippine government. The award was conferred on Amorsolo in April 1972, several days after his death.

First American Multinational Firm
Computer chips manufacturer Intel Philippines Mfg. Inc. claimed that it was the first American multinational company that established a branch in the Philippines in 1974. Today, the Philippine branch of Intel is one of the top exporters of semiconductor components in the country and contributes significantly to the cash flow of its mother company in the US, which is said to be the world's largest corporation in terms of gross income.

First Aeta Lawyer
At 26, Wayda Cosme became the first Aeta to become a lawyer when she passed the bar exam in 2001. Cosme, a law graduate from Harvadian Colleges in San Fernando City, Pampanga, works for the Clark Development Corp. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer)

First Woman President
In February 1986, Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, widow of the late Senator Benigno Aquino, became the country's first woman president and the country's 11th president. In January 2001, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a daughter of the late President Diosdado Macapagal, became the 14th president of the Philippines and the second woman to assume the government's highest post.

First President in Prison
Deposed President Joseph Estrada, who lost the presidency to a military-backed people's revolt, was arrested on charges of plunder and corruption in April 2001. His arrest fomented the now infamous May 1 mob revolt that was suppressed by government forces. As this was being written, the trial of Estrada was still ongoing at the Sandiganbayan or the anti-graft court.

First Muslim Justice Secretary
In January 2003, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointed Simeon Datumanong, a Muslim, as the secretary of the Department of Justice, replacing Hernando Perez, who resigned on corruption charges.

First Award of Ancestral Domain
In what the Arroyo government described as a historic event and the first in the world, it awarded on July 20, 2002 a certificate of ancestral domain title (CADT) for the town of Bakun in Benguet province where some 17,000 Kankanaey and Bago people live. The title covers some 29,444 hectares of ancestral land.

Main sources of information include Zoilo Galang's Encyclopedia of the Philippines and Julio Silverio's Diksyunaryo ng mga Unang Pinoy.

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