List of Filipino inventions and discoveries

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Filipino inventions and discoveries


  • The barong Tagalog (or simply baro, but commonly incorrectly called 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 usually worn by men during weddings, banquets, and other such formal events. Women wearing the barong Tagalog is uncommon, but not unheard of. The term "barong Tagalog" literally means "a Tagalog dress" in the Tagalog language. The baro 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]

  • Jose Rodriguez, a scientist and researcher, invented methods of controlling leprosy.[1] Rodríguez's leprosy control program was instituted in the Philippines and other Asian countries. His medical papers on leprosy research are often referenced and have been published around the world.
  • Fe del Mundo pioneered a medical incubator design made from bamboo. She was also the first Asian student in Harvard’s School of medicine.
  • 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).
  • 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.[2]


Swords and bladed weapons[edit]

Panabas is a curved-blade weapon.
  • The panabas is a large, forward-curved sword, used by certain ethnic groups in the southern Philippines. Its length varied from two to four feet, and was either wielded with one hand or with both. 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").
  • 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, 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.
  • The barong or barung, is a short sword with a leaf-shaped blade, widely used in the island of Mindanao.
  • The gunong or punyál (also known as puñal de kris or kris knife) is a knife from Mindanao. 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 ethnic Maranao, among whom the gunong was traditionally carried by both sexes. The weapon is generally tucked into the back of a waist sash.
A kampilan 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 islands of Mindanao, Visayas, and Luzon. The kampilan 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 kampilan was Lapu-Lapu (the king of Mactan) and his warriors, who defeated the Spaniards and killed Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan at the Battle of Mactan in 1521. The mention of the kampilan 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 pre-Hispanic times


  • 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, from Tanay, Rizal province. 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. It's also known as the Butuan boat, as nine specimens of these boats, dating back to pre-Hispanic times (the earliest being in 320 CE), were discovered in 1976, Butuan, Mindanao. It is believed that the Austronesians migrated to the Philippine archipelago, riding the balangay. When the first Spaniards arrived in the 16th century, they found the Filipinos living in well-organized independent villages called "baranggáy". The name barangay originated from balangay, the Austronesian word for "sailboat".
  • The vinta (locally known as lepa-lepa or sakayan) is a traditional boat, made by ethnic Bajau and Tausūg, living in Mindanao, the Sulu archipelago, North Kalimantan (Indonesia), and Sabah (Malaysia). These boats, sporting a single, colorful sail, are used for inter-island transport of people and goods. Zamboanga City is known for these vessels.

Land transport[edit]

  • The Jeepney, a modified military jeep, is the most common form of transportation in the country today. After independence from the United States was declared in 1946, there was a surplus of American military jeeps in the country. Filipinos then modified these vehicles to serve as makeshift buses. Since then, this ubiquitous vehicle has faced a lot of innovative transformations until the modern “E-Jeepney” was finally introduced in Metro Manila and Bacolod.
  • 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.


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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 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.

Food Techniques[edit]

Main article: Philippine cuisine
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. Although it has a name taken from the Spanish, the cooking method is indigenous to the Philippines.Dishes prepared in this manner eventually came to be known by this name, with the original term for the dish now lost to history.[3][4]

before the Spaniards came, early Filipinos cooked their food minimally by roasting, steaming or boiling. To keep it fresh longer, food was often cooked by immersion in vinegar and salt. Thus, early Filipinos could have been cooking its meat in vinegar, which is the basic process in making adobo. The process of adobo was an ancient method dating back to the Classical Period of preserving the pork and chicken meats. since there is no refrigeration at the time. [5]

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 dishes 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.
  • The recipe for banana catsup was created by Maria Orosa y Ylagan. Banana catsup is used as a substitute for tomato catsup, widely popularized by Max's, one of the biggest fried chicken restaurant chains in the Philippines. Orosa 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 camps.

Modern technologies[edit]

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.
  • 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. [6]
  • Justino Arboleda devised the coconet, a sturdy but biodegradable net made from coconut husk.[7]
  • Roberto del Rosario is the inventor of the Karaoke 1975. Roberto del Rosario has patented more than twenty inventions making him one of the most prolific Filipino inventor. He also invented: Trebel Voice Color Code (VCC) piano tuner's guide[8]
  • 'Francisco Quisumbing is a Filipino chemist known for being the inventor of Quink ink[9] 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.[10] Quink stands for Quisumbing Ink. However, Parker states that the name is an amalgam of "quick and ink".[11]
  • Jayme Navarro devised a process on how to convert plastic into gasoline, diesel and kerosene through pyrolysis for Poly-Green Technology and Resources, a Philippine-based company. The company admitted that the process of converting plastic to fuel is not new but through Navarro they devised their own system which is registered with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines.[12]


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.
  • Challenge 21, a board game created by Leonardo Mejía Yu. It was inspired by other board games such as Tic-Tac-Toe, Scrabble, and Bingo.[13]
  • Game of the Generals, a military-themed board game invented by Sofronio H. Pasola, jr. The goal of this game is to capture the opponent's flag, or maneuver one's own flag at the end of the board while evading the opponent's soldiers and spies.

Martial arts[edit]

Eskrima masters along with students in Cebu City, Philippines.
  • Modern Arnis is the system of Filipino martial arts founded by the Remy Presas. 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, 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.
  • 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.

Other Inventors[edit]

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." [14]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Jose Rodriguez - Research On Leprosy Done By Jose Rodriguez". 2014-03-05. Retrieved 2014-04-19. 
  2. ^ "Josefino Comiso - Filipino Physicist". 2014-03-05. Retrieved 2014-04-19. 
  3. ^ Ocampo, Ambeth. (February 24, 2009). "Looking Back: 'Adobo' in many forms". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved August 4, 2010. 
  4. ^ Rappaport, Rachel (2010). The Everything Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook. Adams Media. p. 255. ISBN 9781440508486. 
  5. ^ Cynthia De Castro; Rene Villaroman (2008-07-14). "ADOBO: A History of the Country’s National Dish". The Asian Journal Blog. Retrieved 2014-05-12. 
  6. ^ "Filipino invention to help Mongolians breathe free". 2012-11-12. Retrieved 2014-04-19. 
  7. ^ "Philippine Inventor Turns Coconut Waste Into Environment-Saver". 2006-02-01. Retrieved 2014-04-19. 
  8. ^ "Roberto del Rosario - Filipino Inventor". Retrieved 2014-04-19. 
  9. ^ Barrameda, Bong (1993). Pinoy Trivia. Anvil Publications. p. 70. ISBN 978-971-27-0425-3. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  10. ^ "Features > Filipino Inventors". Philippine Science and Technology Portal. Retrieved 2007-06-25. 
  11. ^ "Parker Quink ink, refills and leads - the perfect companion for your Parker". The Parker Pen Company. Retrieved 2007-06-25. 
  12. ^ "Filipino Inventor Turns Plastic Trash Into Liquid Gold". 2012-07-18. Retrieved 2014-05-12. 
  13. ^ "Best Filipino inventions for 2012". BusinessMirror. 2012-09-01. Retrieved 2014-04-19. 
  14. ^ Adapted from an article in the Daily Globe, December 12, 1989

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