List of Filipino inventions and discoveries

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This article discuses Filipino inventions and discoveries.

Main article: Filipino Innovations


  • 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. 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 an embroidered dress and is worn by women. The name is a contraction of the Tagalog words barò at saya, meaning "dress (blouse) and skirt".

Science and Medicine[edit]

  • Jose Rodriguez, a scientist and researcher, invented methods of controlling leprosy.[1][better source needed] 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.
  • 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

Transportation and Mobility[edit]

Jeepneys around Manila.


  • The Salamander is an amphibious tricycle that can run both land and on water.[3][4]

The Salamander has two power-plant choices, powered by 5-kilowatt electric motor that runs on electricity and 250 cc. internal combustion type gasoline engine.[5]


  • 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 jeeps in service as they are hard to maintain with problems concerning availability of spare parts.

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.[6][7]

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 was no refrigeration at the time.[8]

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]

  • 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.[9]
  • Justino Arboleda devised the coconet, a sturdy but biodegradable net made from coconut husk.[10]
  • Francisco Quisumbing is a Filipino chemist known for being the inventor of Quink ink[11][12] 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.[13] Quink stands for Quisumbing Ink. However, Parker states that the name is an amalgam of "quick and ink".[14]


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.
  • 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]

It also includes hand-to-hand combat, joint locks, grappling, and weapon disarming techniques. Although in general, emphasis is put on weapons for these arts, some systems put empty hands as the primary focus and some old school systems do not teach weapons at all.[16] For the purpose of convenience, this article will use the term Eskrima throughout.

Eskrima masters along with students in Cebu City, Philippines

For all intents and purposes, Eskrima, Arnis and Kali all refer to the same family of Filipino weapon-based martial arts and fighting systems.

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. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Ocampo, Ambeth. (February 24, 2009). "Looking Back: 'Adobo' in many forms". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved August 4, 2010. 
  7. ^ Rappaport, Rachel (2010). The Everything Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook. Adams Media. p. 255. ISBN 9781440508486. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ "Filipino invention to help Mongolians breathe free". 2012-11-12. Retrieved 2014-04-19. 
  10. ^ "Philippine Inventor Turns Coconut Waste Into Environment-Saver". 2006-02-01. Retrieved 2014-04-19. 
  11. ^ José-Yacamán, M.; Martín-Gil, J.; Ramos-Sánchez, M. C.; Martín-Gil, F. J. "Chemical Composition of a Fountain Pen Ink". Journal of Chemical Education. 83 (10): 1476. doi:10.1021/ed083p1476. 
  12. ^ Barrameda, Bong (1993). Pinoy Trivia. Anvil Publications. p. 70. ISBN 978-971-27-0425-3. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  13. ^ "Features > Filipino Inventors". Philippine Science and Technology Portal. Retrieved 2007-06-25. 
  14. ^ "Parker Quink ink, refills and leads - the perfect companion for your Parker". The Parker Pen Company. Retrieved 2007-06-25. 
  15. ^ Wiley, Mark V. (2000). Filipino Fighting Arts: Theory and Practice. Tuttle Publishing. pp. 1–15. ISBN 0-86568-180-5. 
  16. ^ Filipino Warrior Arts Research Society Macachor, Celestino S., Macachor met old practitioners who put emphasis or practiced only empty-hands forms when he was learning FMA and during research for his book with Dr. Ned Nepangue, "Cebu Eskrima: Beyond the Myth".

External links[edit]