Timeline of the Philippine Presidents That You Should Know

The timeline of the Philippine presidents – a fascinating journey through the country’s political history. The Philippine archipelago, a vibrant gem in Southeast Asia, has been shaped and molded through the years by the actions and decisions of its leaders.

Each president, from Emilio Aguinaldo’s revolutionary leadership to Rodrigo Duterte’s strongman stance, has left an indelible mark on the country’s fabric.

This diverse set of leaders, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, controversies, and achievements, paints a colorful tapestry that is the timeline of the Philippine presidents.

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This timeline does not only reflect the changing political climate but also the evolving aspirations of the Filipino people themselves. It is a timeline defined by the people’s resilience, their pursuit of social justice, economic progress, and the preservation of national sovereignty.

Each president, despite the controversies that may have marked their terms, has undeniably contributed to the country’s development and has shaped the Philippines that we know today.

Moreover, as we delve into this timeline, let us remember that the essence of democracy is diversity — diversity in thought, ideology, and choice of leaders. It is this diversity that has led to vibrant debates, policy changes, and ultimately, progress.

But as we move forward, we hope for a future where the divisions among Filipinos regarding their choice of president do not hinder the unity of the nation.

Here is the list of the Philippine Presidents according to their timeline:

1. Emilio Aguinaldo (Philippine President Timeline 1899-1901)

Emilio Aguinaldo (Philippine President Timeline 1899-1901)
By Harris & Ewing Photo Studio

Emilio Aguinaldo, a man of courage and a born leader, played a pivotal role in the Philippines’ struggle for freedom. His life was one of resistance, rebellion, and ultimately, leadership. Here’s a glimpse into the exciting and tumultuous life of this revolutionary figure.

Our story begins on March 22, 1869, in Cavite El Viejo (now Kawit), Philippines. The world welcomed a new soul, Emilio. Little did they know, he would grow up to change the course of his nation’s history.

As a young man, Emilio was deeply influenced by the injustices Filipinos faced under Spanish colonial rule. He was a bright spark in a time of darkness, and his passion for his people’s freedom was ignited.

In 1895, at the tender age of 26, he joined the Katipunan, a secret society fighting for the Philippines’ independence from Spain. His bravery and leadership skills shone through, and he quickly climbed the ranks to become the president of the society’s Cavite chapter.

The year 1896 marked the beginning of the Philippine Revolution, a momentous event in Aguinaldo’s life. He led his forces into battle, scoring crucial victories against the Spanish. The most notable was the Battle of Imus in September 1896, where he showcased his exceptional leadership skills.

A year later, in 1897, Aguinaldo was elected as the president of the revolutionary government at the Tejeros Convention. However, the tide of the revolution began to turn, and the Spanish forces began to regain control. In December of the same year, Aguinaldo agreed to the Pact of Biak-na-Bato.

He, along with other revolutionary leaders, went into voluntary exile in Hong Kong, receiving a sum of money from the Spanish government.

Spanish-American War

But Aguinaldo’s spirit couldn’t be tamed. The fire of rebellion continued to burn in him. When the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898, he saw it as an opportunity.

With the aid of the United States, Aguinaldo returned to the Philippines and declared the country’s independence on June 12, 1898, in his ancestral home in Kawit. He was elected as the first president of the First Philippine Republic.

However, the joy of independence was short-lived. The Treaty of Paris, signed in December 1898, handed over control of the Philippines from Spain to the United States. This led to the Philippine-American War in 1899, with Aguinaldo leading the resistance against American forces.

Despite his best efforts, Aguinaldo was captured by the American forces on March 23, 1901, in Palanan, Isabela. From that moment, he decided to pledge his allegiance to the United States, calling for peace and an end to the conflict.

In his later years, Aguinaldo became a diplomat and served as the Director of Public Works and Communications. He also dedicated himself to veteran’s affairs, advocating for their rights and welfare until his death on February 6, 1964, at the age of 94.

2. Manuel L. Quezon (Philippine President Timeline 1935-1944)

Manuel L. Quezon, born on August 19, 1878, in Baler, Philippines, was a man destined for greatness. His early life was not easy, growing up in a small town, but it was these humble beginnings that would shape his character and fuel his passion for service.

In 1899, Quezon, like a young phoenix ready to rise, began his political career. He was only 21 years old when he became a leader of the local revolutionary forces fighting for freedom against American rule. This was Quezon’s first taste of politics, but it certainly wouldn’t be his last.

Following the tumultuous period of the Philippine-American war, Quezon took a bold step in 1905 by passing the bar exam without any formal law education. This achievement marked Quezon’s ability to rise above challenges and break through barriers.

In 1907, Quezon’s political journey took a big leap forward when he was elected as a representative of Tayabas province to the Philippine Assembly. This was the platform from which he would make his mark in Philippine politics.

Quezon’s charisma and leadership skills didn’t go unnoticed. In 1916, he was appointed as the Senate President. For 19 years, Quezon held the reins, steering the Philippine Senate through turbulent times. His indomitable will and determination quickly earned him a reputation as a man of action and principle.

The year 1935 was a landmark year in Quezon’s life. He was elected as the first President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, a semi-autonomous entity established with the goal of preparing the country for full independence.

Quezon’s presidency was marked by significant reforms aimed at improving the lives of his people. He championed social justice, women’s suffrage, and language inclusion, making Filipino an official language alongside English.

World War II

However, his leadership was tested when World War II broke out. Despite the challenges, Quezon led with courage and resilience, even going into exile in the U.S. to establish a government-in-exile when the Japanese occupied the Philippines.

Sadly, Quezon’s health deteriorated while he was in the U.S. He never saw his beloved Philippines liberated from the Japanese as he passed away on August 1, 1944, in Saranac Lake, New York. Yet, his legacy lived on, and his vision of a free and prosperous Philippines was realized.

Manuel L. Quezon’s life was a testament to his indomitable spirit, his unwavering dedication to his country, and his relentless pursuit of a dream. He was not just a president, but a beacon of hope and resilience for the Filipino people.

His life’s journey continues to inspire and remind us that with courage, determination, and a love for one’s country, great things can be achieved.

3. Jose P. Laurel (Philippine President Timeline 1943-1945)

José Paciano Laurel y García was born into a world of promise on March 9, 1891, in the rustic town of Tanauan, Batangas, Philippines. He was the ninth of eleven children, in a large family, but he was never lost in the crowd. From a young age, José showed a keen interest in learning and a determination to succeed.

1915 was a turning point in young José’s life. He packed his bags, said goodbye to his family, and set sail to Tokyo, Japan. His mission? To study law as a Japanese government scholar.

He excelled in his studies and returned to the Philippines in 1919 with a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines. He was raring to go and soon set his sights on the Philippine Bar, which he topped in 1920.

In 1922, José took his first steps into the political arena. He was elected as a representative of Batangas in the Philippine House of Representatives. But he didn’t stop there. He steadily climbed the political ladder, serving as Secretary of the Interior in 1923, Senator in 1925, and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in 1936.

The highlight of His Career

The year 1943 saw José thrown into the limelight when he became the President of the Republic of the Philippines during the Japanese occupation. It was a challenging time for the country, and José faced these challenges head-on. He aimed to mitigate the effects of the war on the Filipino people, and while his presidency was fraught with controversy, his commitment to his country was unwavering.

After World War II, José was arrested by the American forces and charged with treason. However, he was never convicted. He returned to politics and was elected to the Senate in 1951, serving until 1957. He then retired from public life, focusing on his legal and educational pursuits.

In the twilight of his life, José focused on education. He founded the Lyceum of the Philippines in 1952, where he served as its first president. He dedicated his time to nurturing young minds, guiding them towards being the future leaders of the country.

José P. Laurel passed away on November 6, 1959, but his legacy lives on. His life was a testament to his love for the Philippines and his unwavering dedication to serving his country. Today, he is remembered not just as a president, but as a scholar, a statesman, and a patriot.

4. Sergio Osmeña (Philippine President Timeline 1944-1946)

Sergio Osmeña, the Fourth President of the Philippines, was a man of profound determination and accomplished stature, whose legacy continues to echo through the corridors of Filipino history.

A vital figure in the timeline of the Philippine presidents, his story is fascinating and inspiring. Let’s turn back the pages of time and delve into his life’s journey.

Born in the quaint city of Cebu on September 9, 1878, Osmeña’s life began in humble surroundings. He spent his early years in the Visayas region, shaping his perspectives and forming his ambitions.

After proving his academic prowess at the University of Santo Tomas, he ventured into politics, marking the beginning of a remarkable journey.

In 1904, Osmeña was elected as the provincial governor of Cebu, starting his political career with a bang. This was the first landmark event in his political timeline.

In 1907, Osmeña’s political journey took a decisive turn when he was elected as a delegate to the Philippine Assembly. Here, he forged an influential partnership with Manuel L. Quezon, another pivotal figure in the timeline of the Philippine presidents.

Osmeña’s leadership qualities shone brighter in 1916 when he became the Speaker of the House, a position he held with dignity and perseverance for almost 20 years. This tenure established him as a central figure in Philippine politics and laid the groundwork for his future presidency.

In 1935, Osmeña was elected as the Vice President under Quezon’s presidency in the Commonwealth Government. This was a crucial step in his political evolution, bringing him closer to the pinnacle of his career.

World War II

World War II brought unprecedented challenges, but also an unexpected opportunity for Osmeña. In 1944, upon the death of President Quezon, Osmeña was sworn in as the President of the Commonwealth Government-in-exile in Washington D.C. His leadership during these tumultuous times marked a significant chapter in the timeline of the Philippine presidents.

As the war ended in 1945, Osmeña returned to the devastated Philippines, leading the country through a difficult phase of reconstruction and rehabilitation. However, his presidency was short-lived. In the 1946 elections, despite his considerable contributions, he lost to Manuel Roxas.

Although his presidential term ended, Osmeña’s influence on Philippine politics did not. He continued to be a revered figure, respected for his commitment to public service and his unwavering dedication to the Filipino people. He passed away on October 19, 1961, leaving behind a legacy that continues to inspire the nation.

Sergio Osmeña’s story is a compelling part of the timeline of the Philippine presidents, a testament to his undaunted spirit and enduring dedication. His journey from a provincial governor to the President of the Philippines serves as an enduring beacon for all those who aspire to serve their nation.

5. Manuel Roxas (Philippine President Timeline 1946-1948)

Born on New Year’s Day in 1892, in the heartland of Capiz, Manuel Roxas stepped into a world that was changing rapidly. His youth was marked by the Philippine Revolution and the subsequent American colonization, shaping his perspective on nationalism and governance.

In 1913, Roxas embarked on his professional journey as a public servant when he passed the bar exam, proving his knack for law. He then decided to use his legal expertise to serve his country.

Roxas’ political career took off in 1917 when he was elected as a member of the Capiz Municipal Council. Just three years later, at the tender age of 28, his charisma and leadership skills led him to be elected as the Governor of Capiz.

In 1922, he moved onto the national stage, winning a seat in the Philippine House of Representatives. His star continued to rise, and in 1932, he was appointed as the Secretary of Finance. This was a challenging time, as the Great Depression was causing economic upheaval around the world. Despite these difficulties, Roxas worked tirelessly to safeguard the Philippine economy.

When the Philippines gained commonwealth status in 1935, Roxas became a key player in crafting the 1935 Constitution. He was also elected as the Speaker of the House, a position he held until 1941, showing his prominence in Philippine politics.

World War II

However, the winds of war were blowing. When World War II broke out, Roxas was unable to evade the conflict. In 1942, after the fall of Bataan, he was captured by the Japanese forces. He was later released and controversially served in a puppet government under the Japanese regime.

After the war, Roxas worked to help the Philippines heal and rebuild. In 1946, he co-founded the Nacionalista Party, signaling a shift in Philippine politics. That same year, he ran for president and won, becoming the first President of the independent Republic of the Philippines.

President Roxas was determined to uplift the war-torn nation. His administration worked on economic recovery, agrarian reforms, and infrastructure projects. However, his presidency was cut short. On April 15, 1948, he suffered a heart attack during a speech and passed away.

Manuel Roxas’ life was a whirlwind of challenges, successes, and controversies. Yet, his story remains a pivotal part of the Philippines’ journey to independence and nation-building. His legacy continues to impact the country and its people, reminding us of the importance of leadership amidst adversity.

6. Elpidio Quirino (Philippine President Timeline 1948-1953)

Elpidio Quirino was born on November 16, 1890, in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, a quaint coastal town nestled in the northern part of the Philippines. His life wasn’t always easy, especially as a young boy. He grew up in poverty, but his family always valued education, and he was fortunate enough to receive a good one.

In 1915, a significant milestone marked Quirino’s life as he completed his law degree from the University of the Philippines. This achievement was the stepping stone he needed to venture into public service.

In 1919, Quirino took his first stride into politics, securing a position as a secretary to Senate President Manuel L. Quezon. This was his first taste of the political landscape, and it was here where he honed his skills and deepened his understanding of governance.

Quirino’s political career saw a significant upward trajectory in 1925 when he was elected as a member of the Philippine House of Representatives. He served the people of Ilocos Sur for eight years, showcasing his leadership skills and dedication to public service.

In 1934, he played a pivotal role in drafting the 1935 constitution as a member of the Constitutional Convention. This was a remarkable moment in Quirino’s career, as he helped shape the future of the Philippines.

Political Journey

Further elevating his political journey, Quirino was appointed as Secretary of Finance and Secretary of the Interior in 1934 and 1938 respectively. He managed the country’s finances during the precariously unstable period of World War II.

In 1946, Quirino stepped into the shoes of Vice President of the Philippines, serving under President Manuel Roxas. However, destiny had bigger plans for him. After the sudden death of President Roxas in 1948, Quirino assumed the presidency. He led with courage and determination, navigating the nation through the difficult task of post-war reconstruction.

His Presidency

In 1949, Quirino won the presidential election, continuing his leadership for another four years. His presidency was marked by a strong focus on social improvement and economic recovery. However, his term was not without controversy, as he faced accusations of corruption and nepotism.

Despite the challenges and controversies, Quirino remained dedicated to his vision of a prosperous and united Philippines. His administration saw the establishment of the Rural Bank Law, intensifying the industrialization of the Philippines, and the negotiation of the Quirino-Foster Agreement, which bolstered the Philippines-US relations.

Quirino’s journey as president ended in 1953, but his dedication to the nation didn’t stop there. He continued to be a strong voice in Philippine politics until his death on February 29, 1956.

7. Ramon Magsaysay (Philippine President Timeline 1953-1957)

Ramon Magsaysay was born on August 31, 1907, in the humble province of Zambales, Philippines. He wasn’t born with a silver spoon, but his beginnings shaped him into a man of the people – a moniker he wore proudly throughout his life.

As a young man, he worked various jobs to support his education. From being a mechanic to a chauffeur, Magsaysay knew the value of hard work. This would later translate into his dedication as a public servant.

In 1933, he married Luz Banzon, and they had three children. It was during this time that Magsaysay started dipping his toes into the world of politics.

In 1946, a significant year in the timeline of the Philippine presidents, Magsaysay was elected to the Philippine House of Representatives. He served as a congressman for four years, dedicating his time to improving the lives of the Filipino people. His work didn’t go unnoticed, and in 1950, he was appointed as the Secretary of National Defense.

His tenure as a Secretary was marked by his efforts against the Hukbalahap Rebellion, a communist insurgency in the Philippines. Magsaysay’s approach was not just military-based; he also focused on socio-economic reforms and land reforms. This dual approach made him popular among the masses.

His Presidency

In 1953, a pivotal moment arrived in the timeline of the Philippine presidents. Magsaysay was elected as the 7th President of the Philippines. His presidential campaign was built on the promise of “Government with a Heart,” and Magsaysay lived up to that promise during his tenure.

As President, he worked tirelessly to curb corruption and improve the lives of the common people. His administration introduced several reforms in the agricultural sector, improved infrastructure, and implemented policies to uplift poverty.

Magsaysay’s presidency was marked by his empathy and his dedication to the Filipino people, earning him the title of “Champion of the Masses.”

Sadly, Magsaysay’s presidency was cut short. On March 17, 1957, he died in a plane crash while still in office. His death marked a tragic moment in the timeline of the Philippine presidents. Yet, Magsaysay’s legacy lives on.

He remains one of the most loved presidents in Philippine history, a testament to his dedication, hard work, and love for the Filipino people.

His life and work continue to inspire future leaders, serving as a critical reference point in the timeline of the Philippine presidents. Magsaysay’s story is a reminder that leadership is about service, empathy, and the relentless pursuit of a better life for all.

8. Carlos P. Garcia (Philippine President Timeline 1957-1961)

Carlos P. Garcia is an iconic figure in Philippine history. Born on November 4, 1896, in the peaceful town of Talibon, Bohol, Garcia’s life was a vibrant tapestry of leadership, patriotism, and poetry. Let’s embark on a journey through the timeline of this Philippine President.

Our journey begins in 1896, the year of Garcia’s birth. Raised in a family that valued education, he gained a strong foundation in his early years. He was a standout student, showing an aptitude for language and literature. This passion led him to pen numerous poems, earning him the nickname “Prince of Visayan Poets.

Garcia embarked on his legal career in 1923 after earning his law degree from the Philippine Law School. He served as a private practitioner for several years before heeding the call of politics in 1933. It was then that he was elected as a representative of the third District of Bohol, marking the start of his political career.

Road to the Presidency

From 1933 to 1953, Garcia’s political career flourished. He served as governor of his home province of Bohol before becoming a senator. This period in the timeline of the Philippine presidents was pivotal; it was when Garcia’s political acumen and dedication truly shone. He was known for his integrity, diligence, and commitment to the Filipino people.

In 1953, Garcia was elected as Vice President under the administration of President Ramon Magsaysay. During this period, he also served as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, representing the Philippines in various international conferences. His foreign policy was marked by its focus on “Filipino First,” prioritizing national interests in all diplomatic negotiations.

The fateful day of March 17, 1957, marked a dramatic turn in the timeline of the Philippine presidents. President Magsaysay’s tragic death in a plane crash catapulted Garcia into the presidency. He served the rest of Magsaysay’s term and was subsequently elected as President later that year.

During his presidency, Garcia championed the “Filipino First” policy, placing the interests of his compatriots above all. He also promoted austerity measures, and cultural arts, and fostered good foreign relations. His term ended in 1961, but his legacy lived on in the hearts of many Filipinos.

After his presidency, Garcia continued to serve the country as a statesman. He was elected as a delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention but sadly passed away before he could fully participate. On June 14, 1971, Garcia died, marking the end of an era in the timeline of the Philippine presidents.

Carlos P. Garcia’s life is a testament to his unwavering love for his country. As we journey through the timeline of the Philippine presidents, his contributions remind us of the power of dedication, patriotism, and a well-penned poem.

9. Diosdado Macapagal (Philippine President Timeline 1961-1965)

Diosdado Macapagal was born into a humble farming family on September 28, 1910, in Lubao, Pampanga. His early life was nothing short of a struggle. But the harsh realities of life didn’t deter him; instead, they became the stepping stones to his extraordinary journey.

In 1936, Macapagal’s life took a dramatic turn when he won a scholarship to attend the University of Santo Tomas and study law. His brilliance shone through, and in 1938 he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree. His education didn’t stop there. He went on to earn a Master of Laws degree from the University of Santo Tomas in 1941 and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Santo Tomas in 1957.

Macapagal’s entry into politics was as dramatic as his rise from poverty. In 1949, he was elected to the House of Representatives, representing Pampanga. His charisma, combined with his genuine concern for the people, made him a popular figure. This popularity led him to the Vice Presidency in 1957, where he served under President Carlos P. Garcia.

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His Presidency

In 1961, Macapagal decided to run for the presidency, campaigning on a platform of socio-economic reforms and anti-corruption. His message resonated with the masses, and he was elected President, serving from 1961 to 1965.

His term was marked by an unwavering commitment to economic development and social justice. One of his most significant reforms was moving the celebration of Philippine Independence Day from July 4 to June 12, a move that reflected the country’s true liberation from Spanish rule.

Despite his dedication to reform, Macapagal’s presidency was not without challenges. Economic issues and allegations of corruption within his administration resulted in his defeat in the 1965 presidential election.

But this didn’t mark the end of Macapagal’s influence. He continued to be active in politics and public service, serving as a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1970 and later as an ambassador.

In 1997, Macapagal passed away, leaving behind a legacy of resilience, reform, and dedication to the Filipino people. His daughter, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, followed in his footsteps, serving as the 14th President of the Philippines.

10. Ferdinand Marcos (Philippine President Timeline 1965-1986)

Ferdinand Marcos was born on September 11, 1917, in the small town of Sarrat, Ilocos Norte. He sprang from humble beginnings, his parents were both teachers, and they instilled in him a love for learning.

Marcos was not just an ordinary student – he shone brightly, displaying a sharp intellect that would later shape his political career.

In 1939, Marcos earned his law degree from the prestigious University of the Philippines. This achievement, however, was marred by a dark incident. He was accused and later convicted of the murder of Julio Nalundasan, a political rival of his father. But he didn’t let this setback dim his spirit.

While in jail, he studied and passed the bar exams with flying colors. Later, in 1940, he appealed his case to the Supreme Court and won, marking the beginning of a career filled with victories and controversies.

World War II

World War II broke out, and Marcos claimed to have led a group of guerillas called Ang Mga Maharlika against the Japanese invaders. It was a claim that later came under heavy scrutiny, but at the time, it helped to cement his reputation as a war hero.

After the war, in 1949, Marcos entered the political arena. He won a seat in the House of Representatives and later served as a senator. His political career began to take off like a launched rocket, and in 1965, he reached the pinnacle – he was elected as the President of the Philippines.

Martial Law

Marcos’ presidency was a time of great change. In his first term, he implemented ambitious infrastructure projects, hoping to modernize the country.

However, his rule took a dark turn in 1972 when he declared martial law, citing rising civil unrest and threats of communism. The Philippines was thrown into a period of uncertainty and fear.

Martial law allowed Marcos to stay in power beyond his two-term limit. During this time, he suppressed political rivals, censored the media, and was accused of human rights abuses. It was a bleak period, and yet, Marcos maintained a strong grip on power.

In 1981, Marcos lifted martial law but remained in power. He won a controversial election in 1981 and attempted to maintain his rule in the 1986 snap election. However, allegations of electoral fraud sparked the People Power Revolution.

Amid mass protests and military defections, Marcos and his family fled to Hawaii in February 1986, ending his 21-year rule.

Marcos lived in exile in Hawaii until his death on September 28, 1989. His rule, filled with achievements and controversies, left a lasting impact on the Philippines. Today, his life remains an important chapter in the nation’s history, a story of ambition, power, and the complex nature of leadership.

11. Corazon Aquino (Philippine President Timeline 1986-1992)

Corazon Aquino, fondly known as “Cory,” was a pivotal figure in Philippine history. Her rise to power marked a significant shift in the nation’s political landscape.

Her journey, filled with courage and determination, is an inspirational tale that reflects the resilient spirit of the Filipino people. As part of the broader timeline of the Philippine presidents, her presidency stands as a symbol of hope and change.

Born on January 25, 1933, into a wealthy and politically influential family, Corazon Cojuangco was raised in a privileged environment. However, her life took a unique turn when she married Benigno Aquino Jr., a charismatic and promising politician. As her husband became a prominent figure in the political scene, Cory found herself thrust into the limelight.

The year 1972 marked a major shift in Cory’s life. Her husband, widely known as “Ninoy,” was imprisoned by the then-dictator Ferdinand Marcos during the imposition of Martial Law.

Despite the challenges, Cory showed unwavering support for her husband, becoming an essential figure in the opposition against Marcos’s dictatorship.

The Path to Presidency

Ninoy’s assassination in 1983 sparked a national outcry, catapulting Cory into the forefront of the political stage. She became the unified face of the opposition, leading the charge against the Marcos regime. In the 1986 Snap Presidential Elections, Cory ran against Marcos in a contest that would forever change the course of the nation’s history.

In February 1986, some of the Filipino people stood up against election fraud and corruption in the famous “People Power Revolution.” This peaceful upheaval led to the end of Marcos’s reign and the rise of Corazon Aquino as the first female president of the Philippines.

This momentous event is a crucial turning point in the timeline of the Philippine presidents, marking an era of democratic restoration.

Cory’s presidency, which lasted from 1986 to 1992, was a tumultuous yet transformative period. She faced multiple coup attempts, economic challenges, and a restive military. Despite the obstacles, she managed to reinstate democratic institutions, introduced a new constitution, and launched land reform programs.

Cory Aquino’s legacy continued to influence Philippine politics long after her term. She became a symbol of democracy and people’s power, and her influence continues to resonate in the hearts of Filipinos even after her death on August 1, 2009.

12. Fidel V. Ramos (Philippine President Timeline 1992-1998)

Born on March 18, 1928, in Lingayen, Pangasinan, Fidel Valdez Ramos, fondly known as FVR, was destined to be a part of the timeline of the Philippine presidents. His journey to the halls of Malacañang Palace was both dynamic and captivating.

Early Years and Military Career

Fidel Ramos began his life in a family with a strong political background. His father, Narciso Ramos, was a lawyer, journalist, and five-term legislator of the House of Representatives. As the eldest among five siblings, FVR took on the responsibility of setting an example for his younger siblings.

After finishing primary and secondary education in Lingayen, he entered the Philippine Military Academy, graduating in 1950. He then continued his military education in the United States, graduating from the US Military Academy at West Point in 1951. This was the beginning of his illustrious military career.

Ramos saw action in the Korean War, serving in the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea (PEFTOK) from 1952 to 1953. He also participated in the Vietnam War from 1965 to 1968. Ramos’ military career was marked by a steady rise in rank, culminating in his appointment as the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in 1986.

Political Life and Presidency

Fidel Ramos’ political career began when he was appointed as the Secretary of National Defense by President Corazon Aquino in 1986. He was instrumental in quelling several coup attempts against Aquino.

In the timeline of the Philippine presidents, Ramos’ term started on June 30, 1992. His presidency was marked by a focus on economic reforms and modernization. One of his noteworthy achievements was the passage of the Foreign Investments Act of 1991, which liberalized the entry of foreign investments into the country.

Ramos also pushed for the successful enactment of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001, which aimed to restructure and privatize the electric power industry. He also made significant strides in improving the country’s infrastructure, earning him the nickname “Builder President.”

During his term, the Philippines hosted the APEC Leaders’ Summit in 1996, showcasing the country’s potential as a player in the global economy.

Ramos’ administration was not without controversies and challenges. He faced criticism for alleged violation of the constitution’s term limits when he pushed for a constitutional change (“Cha-cha”) to extend his term, but the movement did not succeed.

After completing his term in 1998, Ramos remained active in various roles, including as a statesman, peace negotiator, and environmental advocate. He has been a vocal advocate for good governance, sustainable development, and for fostering stronger regional cooperation in Asia.

13. Joseph Estrada (Philippine President Timeline 1998-2001)

Joseph Estrada, known as “Erap” to many, was born Joseph Marcelo Ejercito on April 19, 1937, in Tondo, a district soaked in history, in the heart of Manila. He grew up in a world where hard work and ambition were the keys to survival.

Estrada’s life took a glamorous turn in the 1950s when he launched his acting career. His on-screen presence combined with his charisma quickly made him a favorite. He starred in over 100 films, often portraying roles that championed the everyday Filipino – roles that resonated deeply with the masses.

Political Journey

But Estrada’s journey wasn’t limited to the silver screen. His true calling lay in public service. In the mid-1960s, Estrada made his first foray into politics, serving as the Mayor of the Municipality of San Juan – a position he held for almost two decades (1969–1986). His tenure was marked by significant improvements in public services, which endeared him to his constituents.

In 1987, Estrada took a huge leap forward in his political career when he was elected as a senator. During his term, he focused on legislation that protected the welfare of the common citizen. His popularity surged, and his political horizon expanded.

Estrada’s political journey reached new heights in 1992 when he was elected Vice President. Simultaneously, he held the position of Secretary of the Interior and Local Government. His dedication and service didn’t go unnoticed.

His Presidency

In 1998, Estrada reached the pinnacle of his political career when he was elected the 13th President of the Philippines. His presidency was guided by the philosophy of “Erap para sa mahirap“. His administration prioritized social welfare, poverty alleviation, and fighting crime.

However, his presidency was not without controversy. In 2001, Estrada faced impeachment charges over allegations of corruption. Faced with a popular uprising known as the “Second EDSA Revolution,” Estrada was ousted from office.

Despite the setback, Estrada remained a significant figure in Philippine politics. After being pardoned by his successor, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, he made a political comeback as Mayor of Manila from 2013 to 2019. This stint reinforced his commitment to public service.

14. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (2001-2010)

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a name that reverberates through the pages of Philippine history, made significant contributions to her nation while serving as the 14th President. Her life and political career demonstrate the strength of this remarkable woman. Let’s plunge into her captivating timeline and journey through the narrative of Philippine presidents.

Gloria Macapagal was born on April 5, 1947, to Diosdado Macapagal, who would later become the ninth President of the Philippines, and his wife, Evangelina Macaraeg Macapagal.

She spent her early years in the bustling city of San Juan, absorbing the political atmosphere that surrounded her. After completing her primary education with flying colors, she flew to the United States to further her studies.

Education and Early Career

In the U.S., she attended Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, where she was classmates with future U.S. President Bill Clinton. After that, she returned home, earning a degree in commerce from Assumption College and a master’s degree in economics from Ateneo de Manila University.

She then spent several years as a professor at the University of the Philippines and worked as an assistant secretary in the Department of Trade and Industry.

In the timeline of the Philippine presidents, 1987 marked a turning point in Arroyo’s life when President Corazon Aquino appointed her Undersecretary of Trade and Industry.

Later, in 1992, she won a seat in the Senate, where she served for several years. During her time in the Senate, she became known for her advocacy for economic reforms and anti-corruption measures.

Her Presidency

In 2001, she assumed the presidency after Joseph Estrada was ousted in a nonviolent popular revolt, known as the second EDSA Revolution. Her presidency was marked with challenges, including multiple coup attempts and allegations of corruption. Despite these hurdles, Arroyo pushed for fiscal reforms, improved infrastructure, and focused on job creation.

In 2004, she won a hotly contested presidential election and served as President until 2010. Her second term saw continued economic growth, but her administration was marred by allegations of election fraud and corruption.

After stepping down from the presidency in 2010, Arroyo faced several charges, including electoral sabotage and plunder, leading to her arrest and detention. However, in 2016, the Supreme Court cleared her of these charges due to insufficient evidence.

She then made a political comeback by winning a congressional seat representing the 2nd District of Pampanga. From 2018 until her retirement in 2019, she served as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s presidency was a roller coaster ride of successes and controversies, but her impact on the presidency and the timeline of Philippine presidents is undeniable. Her story is a testament to the strength and resilience of a woman who held the highest office in a turbulent time in Philippine history.

15. Benigno Aquino III (2010-2016)

Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Cojuangco Aquino III, fondly known as PNoy, was the 15th President of the Philippines. His ascent to the presidency marked a significant moment in the country’s history, offering a new era of hope and transformation after years of political turmoil.

Timeline of the Philippine Presidents: The Aquino Era

Born on February 8, 1960, into the politically prominent Aquino family, Noynoy was destined to play an essential role in the country’s leadership.

His parents, Corazon Aquino and Benigno Aquino Jr., were both significant figures during the Marcos dictatorship, with Cory later becoming the country’s first female president following a peaceful revolution.

Noynoy’s political career began in 1998 when he was elected as a Representative of the 2nd District of Tarlac. He served for three terms until 2007, during which he showed a strong commitment to good governance and public service.

In 2007, he successfully ran for a Senate seat, promising to push for reforms in the government. During his tenure as a Senator, he became known for his relentless pursuit of transparency and accountability.

However, the turning point in Noynoy’s political journey came in August 2009, when his mother, former President Corazon Aquino, passed away.

The massive outpouring of support from the public and the growing clamor for him to run for President led him to make a decision that would change the course of Philippine history.

His Presidency

Guided by the call for change, Aquino ran for the presidency in 2010 under the banner of the Liberal Party. He won the election with a significant margin, riding on the wave of support from a citizenry eager for anti-corruption initiatives and good governance—principles that Noynoy had consistently shown throughout his political career.

As President, Aquino focused his administration on implementing reforms aimed at reducing corruption, improving the economy, and promoting social justice. His term, which lasted from June 2010 until June 2016, was marked by policies that led to a robust economy and improved global standing for the Philippines.

One of his most significant achievements was the establishment of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program, which provided financial assistance to the poorest families to improve their children’s health, nutrition, and education.

This program has since benefitted millions of Filipinos, reducing poverty rates and improving the quality of life for many.

Noynoy Aquino’s presidency was not without challenges, but his unwavering commitment to the “Daang Matuwid” (Straight Path) governance philosophy served as a beacon of hope for many Filipinos.

After his term, Aquino returned to private life, but his impact on the nation remained evident. His death on June 24, 2021, marked the end of an era but his legacy as a champion of democracy and a fighter against corruption continues to inspire the generations that follow.

16. Rodrigo Duterte (2016-2022)

Rodrigo Duterte, also known by his nickname “Digong“, is a man of many hats. Born on March 28, 1945, in Maasin, Southern Leyte, Philippines, Duterte has lived a life as a lawyer, a public servant, a mayor, and ultimately, as the President of the Philippines. His journey has been marked by controversy, resilience, and profound dedication to his country.

Duterte’s story starts in 1945, in a world emerging from the ashes of World War II. Raised in a politically active family, his father was a lawyer and later became the governor of Davao.

As a child, Duterte was known to be intelligent yet mischievous, which led him to be expelled twice before completing his education at the Lyceum of the Philippines University in Manila in 1968.

After earning his law degree from San Beda College of Law in 1972, Duterte embarked on his legal career, serving as a prosecutor for Davao City for nearly a decade. This period shaped his views on crime and justice, which would later become a significant part of his political platform.

The year 1988 marked a turning point for Duterte. He decided to run for mayor of Davao City, a position he would hold for over 22 years in total. His tenure was marked by a drastic reduction in crime rates, but also allegations of human rights abuses. Duterte’s zero-tolerance approach to crime, including his alleged involvement with the so-called “Davao Death Squads,” made him a figure of both fear and admiration.

His Presidency

In 2016, Duterte made the leap from local to national politics, running for the presidency of the Philippines. He ran on a platform of radical change, promising a relentless war on drugs and corruption.

His unfiltered, straightforward style, coupled with his tough-on-crime stance, resonated with many Filipinos. On June 30, 2016, Duterte officially assumed office as the 16th President of the Philippines.

As President, Duterte’s war on drugs sparked international controversy and criticism due to allegations of human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings. Despite this, he remained popular domestically for much of his presidency, with many Filipinos approving of his direct approach to tackling the country’s problems.

In 2019, Duterte made a move to transform the country’s political system, advocating for a shift from a unitary to a federal form of government. He argued that this would help distribute wealth and power more equitably among the Philippines’ regions.

17. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (2022- Present)

This will be updated once he’s done with his presidency.


The timeline of the Philippine presidents serves as a testament to the fact that no single individual or group can truly claim to have shaped the destiny of the Philippines alone. It is a collective journey, where each leader, in their own unique way, has played a vital role.

Their contributions, regardless of the controversies surrounding them, deserve our respect and understanding, for they too were products of their times, grappling with the challenges that came their way.

Moving forward, it is our hope that the division among Filipinos regarding their presidential preferences will cease to exist. Instead, we aspire for unity, for a shared vision that transcends political affiliations and personal biases.

We hope that the timeline of the Philippine presidents will not be a cause for division, but a source of inspiration, a reminder of our shared history and our collective pursuit for a better Philippines.

Remember, the timeline of the Philippine presidents doesn’t just tell the story of the leaders themselves, but also the story of the Filipino people – our struggles, our victories, and our journey towards a more prosperous future. Together, we write this timeline. Together, we shape our nation’s destiny.

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