List of Filipino inventions and discoveries

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Filipino inventions and discoveries


Ancient Filipinos that belong to Maharlika as depicted in the Boxer Codex.
  • The barong Tagalog (or simply barong), an embroidered formal garment of the Philippines. It is very lightweight and worn untucked (similar to a coat/dress shirt), over an undershirt. In Filipino culture it is a common wedding and formal attire, mostly for men but also for women. The term "barong Tagalog" literally means "a Tagalog dress" in the Tagalog language; however, the word "Tagalog" in the garment's name refers to the Tagalog region, not the region's language of the same name. The barong was popularized as formal wear by Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay, who wore it to most official and personal affairs, including his inauguration as president.
  • The Baro’t saya (also known as Filipiniana) is a dress of the Philippines and is worn by women. The name is a contraction of the Tagalog words baro at saya, meaning "dress (blouse) and skirt".

Science and Medicine[edit]

The Compound Elements of Erythromycin.
  • Dolores Ramirez is a Biochemical geneticist, Dolores Ramirez promoted the development of genetics in the Philippines as a teacher, author, and researcher. She researched the cytogenetics of Philippine food crops: rice, coconut, banana, sugarcane, ornamentals, legumes, durian, lanzones, santol and balimbing.[1]
  • Jose Rodriguez is a noted Filipino scientist and researcher who has invented methods of controlling Hansen’s Disease commonly known as leprosy.[2]

His leprosy control program was instituted in the Philippines and other Asian countries. Jose Rodriguez's medical papers on leprosy research are often referenced and have been published around the world.

  • Erythromycin is a macrolide antibiotic that has an antimicrobial spectrum similar to or slightly wider than that of penicillin, and is often prescribed for people who have an allergy to penicillins. For respiratory tract infections, it has better coverage of atypical organisms, including Mycoplasma and legionellosis. It was first marketed by Eli Lilly and Company, and it is today commonly known as EES (erythromycin ethylsuccinate, an ester prodrug that is commonly administered). It is also occasionally used as a prokinetic agent.
  • Abelardo B. Aguilar, a Filipino scientist, sent some soil samples to his employer Eli Lilly in 1949. Eli Lilly’s research team, led by J. M. McGuire, managed to isolate erythromycin from the metabolic products of a strain of Streptomyces erythreus (designation changed to "Saccharopolyspora erythraea") found in the samples.
  • Fe del Mundo pioneered a medical incubator design made from bamboo. She was the first Asian student in Harvard’s School of medicine. Countless young lives were saved.
  • Rolando de la Cruz won the gold medal for his “DeBCC” anti-cancer cream at the prestigious International Inventor’s Forum in November 2005. The “DeBCC” cream, developed from cashew nuts and other local herbs, was chosen over 1,500 entries as the “most significant invention” of the year. It is a treatment intended specifically for basal skin carcinoma (BSC), which is the most prevalent.
  • Josefino Comiso is a Filipino physicist working at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center studying global warming in the Arctic. Josefino Comiso was the first person to discover a recurring polynya in the Cosmonaut Sea, south of the Indian Ocean. A polynya is a semi-permanent area of open water in sea ice.[3]


  • Raymundo Acosta Favila is a Filipino mathematician. He has his Ph D. from the University of California, Berkley from 1939,[4] and had his career at the University of the Philippines in Manila.[5] Dr. Raymundo Favila was elected as Academician of the National Academy of Science and Technology in 1979. He was one of those who initiated mathematics in the Philippines. He contributed extensively to the progression of mathematics and the mathematics learning in the country. He has made fundamental studies such as on stratifiable congruences and geometric inequalities. Dr. Favila has also co-authored textbooks in algebra and trigonometry.


Ancient times[edit]

Various types of Filipino Spear heads (1920)
  • A sibat is a staff or spear used as a weapon or tool by natives of the Philippines. It also called bangkaw, sumbling or palupad in the islands of Visayas and Mindanao. Sibat are typically made from rattan, either with a sharpened tip or a head made from metal. These heads may either be single-edged, double-edged or barbed. Styles vary according to function and origin. For example, a sibat designed for fishing may not be the same as those used for hunting wild game.
Panabas is a curved-blade weapon.
  • The panabas is a large, forward-curved sword, used by certain ethnic groups in the southern Philippines. It can range in size from 2 to 4 feet and can be held with one or both hands, delivering a deep, meat cleaver-like cut.In its heyday, it was used as a combat weapon, as an execution tool, and as a display of power. Occasional use as an agricultural and butchering tool has also been noted. The sword's name is a shortening of the word "pang-tabas", which means "chopping tool". As such, its etymological origins are the root word tabas ("to chop off").

(Middle Ages)[edit]

In the many battles and rebellions waged by Filipinos during Pre-Colonial and the times foreign colonizations the Filipinos were able to craft weapons, most of which are bladed, to aid their movement. The weapons originally were agricultural tools – used for cutting weeds, and cracking and digging crops. However, as situation calls for it, the tools were transformed into weapons which served as their partners in the battlefield.

  • The Balisong (also known as a butterfly knife or fan knife) is a folding pocket knife with two handles counter-rotating around the tang such that, when closed, the blade is concealed within grooves in the handles. It is sometimes called a Batangas knife, after the Tagalog province of Batangas in the Philippines, where it is traditionally made. In the hands of a trained user, the knife blade can be brought to bear quickly using one hand. Manipulations, called "flipping" or "fanning", are performed for art or amusement. The knife is illegal in many countries such as the Netherlands, Australia, the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Germany.
Early 20th century Cebuano Police Officers armed with a pinuti (left) and a sundang (right)
  • A Bolo is a large cutting tool of Filipino origin similar to the machete, used particularly in the jungles of Indonesia, the Philippines, and in the sugar fields of Cuba. The primary use for the bolo is clearing vegetation, whether for agriculture or during trail blazing. The bolo is called an iták or sundáng in Tagalog while in Hiligaynon, the blade is referred to as either a binangon or a talibong.
  • The barong or barung, is a thick, leaf-shaped, single-edged blade sword. It is a weapon used by Islamic tribes in the Southern Philippines.
  • The gunong or punyal (also known as puñal de kris or kris knife) is a knife from Mindanao, the Philippines. It is essentially a diminutive form of the larger kalis or kris. The gunong serves both as a utility knife and as a thrusting weapon used for close quarter fighting - usually as a last defense. It is most often associated with the Maranao, among whom the gunong was traditionally carried by both sexes. The weapon is generally tucked into the back of a waist sash. The gunong is one of many bladed weapons portrayed in the "Weapons of Moroland" plaque that has become a common souvenir item and pop culture icon in the Philippines.
A kampílan hilt is sometimes wrapped with rattan to improve the grip. The two holes on the crossguard are where the metal "staples" (C- or U-shaped) go, as additional protection for the wielder's hand.
  • The Kampilan is a type of single-edged long sword, used in the Philippine islands of Mindanao, Visayas, and Luzon. The kampílan has a distinct profile, with the tapered blade being much broader and thinner at the point than at its base, sometimes with a protruding spikelet along the flat side of the tip and a bifurcated hilt which is believed to represent a mythical creature's open mouth. A notable wielder of the kampílan was LakanLapu-Lapu (the king of Mactan) and his warriors, who defeated the Spaniards and killed Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan at the Battle of Mactan on April 27, 1521. The mention of the kampílan in ancient Filipino epics originating from other non-Muslim areas such as the Hiligaynon Hinilawod and the Ilocano Biag ni Lam-Ang is possible evidence for the sword's widespread usage throughout the archipelago during the ancient times. Today, the kampílan is portrayed in Filipino art and ancient tradition.

Pre-Modern Era[edit]

A Moro Bronze Lantaka (Or in Tagalog : Bronseng Kanyon).
  • Lantaka (also known as Kanyon in Tagalog) (rentaka in Malay) is a type of bronze cannon mounted on merchant vessels travelling the waterways of Malay Archipelago. Its use was greatest in precolonial South East Asia especially in Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. The guns were used to defend against pirates demanding tribute for the local chief, or potentate.

Firearms (Modern times)[edit]

  • The Marine Scout Rifle or MSSR is a semi-automatic sniper rifle developed from the Colt M16A1 rifle by the Philippine Marine Corps Scout Snipers due to the lack of a dedicated sniper rifle which is used in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
  • The Floro Mk. 9 is a submachine gun designed by Floro International Corporation of the Philippines. The Floro Mk. 9 submachine gun is a private venture of Floro International of Tanay, Rizal Province in the Philippines. The weapon is being marketed to local security forces as a low-cost alternative to imported submachine guns and is currently in limited use.
  • The PVAR rifle also known as UDMC PVAR rifle is Filipino assault rifle, manufactured by United Defense Manufacturing Corporation, and is a variant of the Armalite AR-15 and M16 rifle.

The rifle uses the Pneumatic Valve and Rod system, which was created as a more reliable design than the traditional direct gas impingement system of the AR-15 family.

Transportation and Mobility[edit]

Jeepneys around Manila.

Ancient-Middle Ages Seafares[edit]

  • The balangay was the first wooden marine vessel ever excavated in Southeast Asia. Also known as the Butuan boat, this artifact is evidence of early Filipino craftsmanship and their seamanship skills during pre-colonial times. The Balanghai Festival is also a celebration in Butuan, Agusan del Norte to commemorate the coming of the early migrants that settled the Philippines, on board the Balangay boats. When the first Spaniards arrived in the 16th century, they found the Filipinos living in well-organized independent villages called barangays. The name barangay originated from balangay, the Austronesian word for "sailboat".
  • The Karakoa (or Karakowa) is a Large Marine Vessel similar to Balangay, this Vessel is only use as a Battleship, containg Soldiers Cargoes of weapons,brass cannons and ammunitions. This form of Battleships are being used during the pre-colonial period in the Philippines, for Pangangayaw (expeditions) and battles against neighboring islands.
  • The vinta (locally known as lepa-lepa or sakayan) is a traditional boat found in the Philippine island of Mindanao. These boats are made by Bajau and Moros living in the Sulu Archipelago, Zamboanga peninsula, and southern Mindanao. It has a sail with assorted vertical colors that represents the colorful culture and history of the Muslim community. These boats are used for inter-island transport of people and goods. Zamboanga City is known for these vessels.

Land transport[edit]

Calesa in Manila

A kalesa or calesa (sometimes called a caritela/karitela) is a horse drawn calash (carriage) used in the Philippines. The word, also spelled calesa, predates the Spanish conquest and descends ultimately from an Old Church Slavonic word meaning "wheels." This was one of the modes of transportation introduced in the Philippines in the 18th century by the Spaniards that only nobles and high-ranked officials could afford.[6] They are rarely used in the streets nowadays except in tourist spots and some rural areas. The calesa driver is commonly called as “Cochero” or “Kutsero”. When “Cochero” direct the horse to turn right he says “mano” and he says “silla” to direct the horse to turn left .[7]

Modern Period[edit]

  • The Jeepney, a modified military jeep, is the most common form of transportation in the country today. A Filipino invention, born from necessity, ingenuity, and thrift.
  • After Americans left the country, Filipinos succeeded to make an authentic “jeepney” from scratch. Since then, the popular Philippine vehicle has faced a lot of innovative transformations until the modern “E-Jeepney” was finally introduced in Metro Manila and Bacolod City. Unlike the standard jeepney we have been accustomed to, this modern means of transportation offers three advantages: it is nature-friendly because E-Jeepneys are noiseless and smokeless, it uses electricity so use of expensive diesel will gradually decrease, and jeepney drivers will take home more.
  • The Marine Multi-purpose Vehicle or MMPV uses independent suspensions and portal geared hubs similar to portal axles to make for a full 16 inches of ground clearance. The vehicle also has disc brakes on all 4 wheels, and 4-wheel double-wishbone suspension. The brake discs are not mounted at the wheels as on conventional automobiles, but are inboard, attached to the outside of each differential. The front and rear differentials are Torsen type, and the center differential is a regular, lockable type.Created by the Philippine Marine Corps to replace M151 MUTT jeeps in service as they are hard to maintain with problems concerning availability of spare parts.


Alt text
Defiant 300 under construction
  • The Defiant 300 is a prototype aircraft of the Philippines developed in cooperation with the PADC, Philippine Air Force and the Philippine Aerospace and Sciences Foundation (PASF).The Defiant 300 is a turboprop aircraft designed for light attack, counter insurgency (COIN), close air support, aerial reconnaissance missions in low threat environments, as well as providing pilot training. Designed to operate in high temperature and humidity conditions in extremely rugged terrain.The project was made possible through Capt. Panfillo Villaruel, the man who designed the aircraft, and the one who also contributed to the creation of the first indigenous Filipino-made helicopter, the PADC Hummingbird. The first prototype was completed in 1986 and had its maiden flight in 1987, which lasted a little more than an hour. The Defiant 300's fuselage was composite construction (wood and fiberglass) and was powered by a 300 hp Lycoming piston engine. Landing gear was taken from the Beech T-34 and provided by the PAF. The intent of the program was to provide the PAF with a trainer and light strike aircraft similar in performance to the Tucano. The Defiant 300 was to have been followed by a larger version equipped with a turboprop engine and designated the "Defiant 500". The project languished soon after the development of the prototype at a hangar in Philippine State College of Aeronautics.

Basically, it was an improvement of the German MBB Bo 105 helicopter. The German company that manufactured the Bo.105 threatened to impose sanctions on the Philippines Aerospace Development Company (PADC). PADC destroyed all plans and whatever hardware had been manufactured.

Food Techniques[edit]

Chicken adobo
  • Adobo (meaning "marinade," "sauce" or "seasoning") is the name of a popular dish and cooking process in Philippine cuisine that involves meat, seafood, or vegetables marinated in a sauce of vinegar and garlic, browned in oil, and simmered in the marinade. It has sometimes been considered as the unofficial national dish of the Philippines. Although it has a name taken from the Spanish, the cooking method is indigenous to the Philippines. When the Spanish conquered the Philippines in the late 16th century and early 17th century, they encountered an indigenous cooking process which involved stewing with vinegar, which they then referred to as adobo, the Spanish word for seasoning or marinade. Dishes prepared in this manner eventually came to be known by this name, with the original term for the dish now lost to history.[8][9]
A Sinigang prepare to cook.
  • Sinigang is a Filipino soup or stew characterized by its sour and savory flavor most often associated with tamarind (sampalok). It is one of the popular viands in Philippine cuisine.
  • In 1966, Dr. Rodolfo Aquino isolated nine specific breeds of rice for the International Rice Research Institute. His discoveries helped prevent famine in much of Asia, and were nearly solely responsible for Thailand and Vietnam becoming the world’s leading rice producers (A spot once solely occupied by the Philippines.).
A Slice of Kaesong Puti along with Pandesal.
  • Kesong puti (lit. "white cheese" in Tagalog) or Philippine fresh cheese is a soft, white cheese, similar to cottage cheese, made from unskimmed carabao's milk, salt and rennet.[1] It has a soft, close texture and slight salty taste. Some commercial versions are slightly sour due to the use of vinegar in place of rennet. This cheese originated from and is produced in the provinces of Bulacan, Cebu, Laguna and Samar. In the Philippines, it is a popular breakfast fare eaten with the freshly baked local bread called pan de sal.
  • Filipinos just use banana catsup as a condiment for many dishes. The popular variation of tomato catsup was another brainchild of Filipino food technologist, Maria Orosa y Ylagan (1893–1945). According to historical accounts, she created the first ever recipe for banana catsup and also experimented with foods native to the Philippines and formulated food products like calamansi nip, a desiccated and powdered form of calamansi that could be used to make calamansi juice, and a powdered preparation of soya-beans called Soyalac, a “magic food” preparation which helped save the lives of thousands of Filipinos, Americans, and other nationals who were held prisoner in different Japanese concentration.
  • Patis, a fermented fish byproduct, was the basis for the Vietnamese and Thai fish sauce industries. It was invented by Tantay Food and Sauces after they discovered that their dried fish were turning into liquid when stored with salt in earthen jars.

Modern technologies[edit]

View of a 1972-73 Mod II AT&T Picturephone.
The Three-rowed karaoke slots in the Philippines, The Successor of the first generation of it.
The Quink in the blister pack, Quink was invented by Francisco Quisumbing.
  • Diosdado Banatao developed the first single-chip graphical user interface accelerator that made computers work a lot faster. This invention has allowed computer users to use graphics for commands and not the usual typed commands in older computers. It has allowed data processing to be a little faster using very little space, with small chips instead of large boards.
  • Bayanihan OS is a Filipino-made Linux operating system.
  • Gregorio Y. Zara invented the first Video Phone in 1955.
  • Eco-G NanoTechnology developed the Eco-G3000, a low-cost and low-maintenance fuel-emission reduction device. It is designed to reduce vehicular gas consumption and toxic emission. [10]
  • Justino Arboleda devised the coconet, a sturdy but biodegradable net made from coconut husk.[11]
  • Roberto del Rosario is the president of the Trebel Music Corporation and the inventor of the Karaoke 1975. Roberto del Rosario has patented more than twenty inventions making him one of the most prolific Filipino inventor. Besides his famous Karaoke Sing Along System Roberto del Rosario has also invented: Trebel Voice Color Code (VCC) piano tuner's guide[12]
  • 'Francisco Quisumbing is a Filipino chemist known for being the inventor of Quink ink[13] used by The Parker Pen Company. He graduated from the University of Chicago under the American pensionado program. He went back to the Philippines after World War II but was unable to organize the Philippine Ink Corporation under the Japanese Reparations Program because of too much government intervention.[14] Quink stands for Quisumbing Ink. However, Parker states that the name is an amalgam of "quick and ink".[15]


The cover of the Games of the Generals.
  • The Piko is the Philippine variation of the game hopscotch. The players stand behind the edge of a box, and each should throw their cue ball. The first to play is determined depending on the players' agreement (e.g. nearest to the moon, wings or chest). Whoever succeeds in throwing the cue ball nearest to the place that they have agreed upon will play first. The next nearest is second, and so on.
  • The Holen (Marble) You should hold the ball called holen in your hand then throw it to hit the players ball out of the playing area. Holen is called marble in USA. It is played a more precise way by tucking the marble with your 3rd finger, the thumb under the marble, the fourth finger used as to stable the marble. You aim at grouped marbles inside a circle and flick the marble from your fingers and anything you hit out of the circle is yours. Who ever got the most marbles win the game. You can also win the game by eliminating your opponent by aiming and hitting his marble. You have to be sharp shooter to be a winner.
  • Challenge 21 is a Philippine board game created by Leonardo Mejia Yu. It was inspired by other board games such as Tic-Tac-Toe, Scrabble, and Bingo.[16]

Martial arts[edit]

Eskrima masters along with students in Cebu City, Philippines.
  • Modern Arnis is the system of Filipino martial arts founded by the late Remy Presas as a self-defense system. His goal was to create an injury-free training method as well as an effective self-defense system in order to preserve the older Arnis systems. The term Modern Arnis was used by Remy Presas' younger brother Ernesto Presas to describe his style of Filipino martial arts; since 1999 Ernesto Presas has called his system Kombatan. It is derived principally from the traditional Presas family style of the Bolo (machete) and the stick-dueling art of Balintawak Eskrima, with influences from other Filipino and Japanese martial arts. Arnis is the Philippines' national martial art and sport, after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed the Republic Act. No. 9850 in 2009. The Act mandates the Department of Education to include the sport as a Physical Education course. Arnis will be included among the priority sports in Palarong Pambansa (National Games) beginning 2010
  • Eskrima, Arnis and (in the West) Kali are umbrella terms for the traditional martial arts of the Philippines that emphasize weapon-based fighting with sticks, knives and other bladed weapons, and various improvised weapons. It also includes hand-to-hand combat and weapon disarming techniques.


Another Filipino inventor who has never been known to many is Eulogio Camacho Tibay. He invented a special screw which can withstand all kinds of motion and vibration, a corrugated plastic roofing assembly; a cigarette filter and an amphibian vehicle. Tibay, who has a wife and six children, was born in 1923. In 1974 he entered an inventor's contest and came second and that invention was the typewriter ribbon reinker for which he applied patent for. His most recent invention was the "energized artificial leg." "With this invention, a person without a leg can stand, walk, sit, or kneel with just a push of a lever. A draw strap connected to the waist and arms enables the person to walk. When the person walks, he or she swings the arms. Strings are attached to the hands, so when the arms swing back and forth, the motion creates tension, which moves the legs forward and so on." Tibay's more recent project is a perforated wall to run along the whole eastern coast of the Philippines called "Typhoon Breaker." [17]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Dolores Ramirez". 2014-03-05. Retrieved 2014-04-19. 
  2. ^ "Jose Rodriguez - Research On Leprosy Done By Jose Rodriguez". 2014-03-05. Retrieved 2014-04-19. 
  3. ^ "Josefino Comiso - Filipino Physicist". 2014-03-05. Retrieved 2014-04-19. 
  4. ^ "A Filipino in Mathematics" Natural and Applied Science Bulletin, University of the Philippines College of Liberal Arts, University of the Philippines College of Arts and Sciences, 1973
  5. ^ Oscar M. Alfonso, "University of the Philippines: The First 75 Years (1908-1983)" p.490
  6. ^ Kalesa, the 18th Centuries Rolls Royce. Philippines Travel Guide for the explorer in you.
  7. ^ Riding The Philippine 'Calesa' and Business
  8. ^ Ocampo, Ambeth. (February 24, 2009). "Looking Back: 'Adobo' in many forms". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved August 4, 2010. 
  9. ^ Rappaport, Rachel (2010). The Everything Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook. Adams Media. p. 255. ISBN 9781440508486. 
  10. ^ "Filipino invention to help Mongolians breathe free". 2012-11-12. Retrieved 2014-04-19. 
  11. ^ "Philippine Inventor Turns Coconut Waste Into Environment-Saver". 2006-02-01. Retrieved 2014-04-19. 
  12. ^ "Roberto del Rosario - Filipino Inventor". Retrieved 2014-04-19. 
  13. ^ Barrameda, Bong (1993). Pinoy Trivia. Anvil Publications. p. 70. ISBN 978-971-27-0425-3. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  14. ^ "Features > Filipino Inventors". Philippine Science and Technology Portal. Retrieved 2007-06-25. 
  15. ^ "Parker Quink ink, refills and leads - the perfect companion for your Parker". The Parker Pen Company. Retrieved 2007-06-25. 
  16. ^ "Best Filipino inventions for 2012". BusinessMirror. 2012-09-01. Retrieved 2014-04-19. 
  17. ^ Adapted from an article in the Daily Globe, December 12, 1989

External links[edit]