First in the Philippines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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,

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

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

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.

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