Philippines Biography

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A biography is a history of a person’s life. In it you may find:

  • Birth information.
  • Marriage information.
  • Death information.
  • Names of parents, children, or other family members.
  • Family traditions and stories.
  • Clues about an ancestor’s place of origin.
  • Places lived.
  • Church membership.
  • Military service.
  • Community activities.

Some information may be inaccurate, so use it carefully.

Many brief biographical sketches have been collected and published in compiled biographies, sometimes called biographical encyclopedias. These collections most often include biographies of early patriots and prominent or well-known citizens of a particular province or municipality. Others feature biographies of scientists, writers, artists, or people of other occupations. Collections of biographies at the Family History Library are generally listed in the FamilySearch Catalog, Place Search, under one of the following:






The following is a well-known biographical encyclopedia:

  • Retana y Gamboa, Wenceslao Emilio. Indice de personas nobles y otras de calidad que han estado en Filipinas desde 1521 hasta 1898 (Index of Noble Persons and Other People of Standing Who Have Been in the Philippines from 1521 to 1898). Madrid, Spain: Librería de Victoriano Suarez, 1921. (FHL book 959.9 D32r; film 962157 item 1 or film 1329150 item 8.) This is an index of noblemen and others of note who inhabited the Philippines from 1521 to 1898.

National and Regional Sources[edit | edit source]

Most major libraries have good collections and indexes of national and regional compiled biographies. They also have bibliographies such as:

  • Manuel, E. Arsenio. Dictionary of Philippine Biography. Quezon City, Philippines: Filipiniana Publications; Volume 1, 1955, Volume 2, 1970. This is a well-documented list with an author/subject index.
  • Doeppers, Daniel F. A Union Catalog of Philippine Biographical Reference Works. Madison, Wisconsin, USA: Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1983. Bibliographic Series, number 8. (FHL book 959.9 A3d.)
  • Zaide, Gregorio F. Great Filipinos in History: An Epic of Filipino Greatness in War and Peace. Manila, Philippines: Verde Book Store, 1970. (FHL book 959.9 D3z.)
  • Villarroel, Hector K., et al. Eminent Filipinos. Manila, Quezon City, Philippines: Philippine Textbook Publishers, 1965. (FHL book 959.9 D3e; film 795656 item 3.) This work lists biographies of eminent Filipinos.

Local Sources[edit | edit source]

Collections of biographies about residents of a municipality or province are usually most helpful for your family history research. The information in these biographies may not be available in any other source. The local library and historical society usually collects biographies and histories about its residents, such as:

  • Medina, Isagani R. The Province of Cavite, 1570–1898: An Annotated Bio-bibliography. Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines: The University of the Philippines, 1957. This work has 804 entries from 1570 to 1970.
  • Rivera Castillet, Edvigio de. Cagayan Province and Her People. Manila, Philippines: Not published. 1960. (FHL book 959.91 E3r; film 0795964 item 4.) This work has biographies of residents of Cagayan province.

See Philippines History for further information on local histories.