List of Filipino inventions and discoveries

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This article discusses Filipino inventions and discoveries the details the indigenous arts and techniques, cultural inventions, scientific discoveries and contributions of the people of Philippine Islands — both ancient and modern state of Philippines.

Since ancient times, Filipinos has accumulated knowledge and developed technology stemmed from necessities; from naval navigation knowledge, traditional shipbuilding technology, textile techniques, food processing to Architecture.indigenous arts and techniques, cultural inventions, scientific discoveries and contributions of the people of Philippine Archipelago — both ancient and modern state of Philippines.


A barong Tagalog placed against the light, showing the translucency of the fabric.
  • 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". 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".[1][2]

  • Yuta is a cloth mentioned in the Daoyi Zhilüe describes the clothing and coiffure of the people of Ma-i, saying In their customs they esteem the quality of chastity and uprightness. Both men and women do up their hair in a mallet-like tress. They wear a blue cotton shirt [3][4]

Literature and Arts[edit]

  • The Hudhud consists of narrative chants performed mainly by elder Ifugao women usually during the rice sowing season, at harvest time and at funeral wakes and rituals.[8]
Hinilawod c. 1983, by Art Geroche, as displayed at the lobby of the Cultural Center of West Visayas State University, La Paz, Iloilo City, Philippines.
  • Hinilawod is an epic poem orally transmitted from early inhabitants of a place called Sulod in central Panay, Philippines. The term "Hinilawod" generally translates to "Tales From The Mouth of The Halawod River". The epic must have been commonly known to the Visayans of Panay before the conquest, since its main protagonists, like Labaw Donggon, were noted in the accounts of the Islanders' beliefs and recorded by early Spanish colonizers.[13] One of these Westerners' accounts says that the adventures of this ancient hero of Panay were recalled during weddings and in songs.[14]
  • Ibong Adarna is a 15th-century Filipino epic poem about an eponymous magical bird. The title's longer form during the Spanish Era was Korido at Buhay na Pinagdaanan ng Tatlóng Principeng Magkakapatid na anak nang Haring Fernando at nang Reyna Valeriana sa Kahariang Berbania (Filipino for "Corrido and Life Lived by the Three Princes, children of King Fernando and Queen Valeriana in the Kingdom of Berbania")[16]

Science and medicine[edit]

the compound elements of Erythromycin.
  • Jose Rodriguez, a scientist and researcher, invented methods of controlling leprosy.[18][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.[19]
  • Erythromycin formulated/ Discovered by Dr. Abelardo Aguilar A doctor from Iloilo, Aguilar worked for the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company as a researcher.[20] Then in 1949, he submitted samples of his work to the company’s research team who in 1952 declared the discovery of a new kind of antibiotic.According to the team, the new drug was capable of treating several kinds of infections minus the common side-effects of antibiotics. What’s more, the drug was available to those who were allergic to penicillin.[21] in 1949.


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.
  • 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 kalis is a type of double-edged Filipino sword, often with a "wavy" section, similar to a keris. Just like the keris, the Kalis's double-edged blade can be used for both cutting and thrusting; except that the Kalis is much larger than most Kerises, making it a sword rather than a dagger. The wavy portion of the kalis is said to be meant to facilitate easier slashing in battle - since a straight edge tends to get stuck in the opponent's bones, the wavy portion allows the kalis' bearer to more easily pull the weapon out of his opponent's body.[22]

Firearms/ Projectile weapons[edit]

Two lantakas.
  • The Lantaka (also known as Kanyon in Tagalog) were a type of bronze swivel gun 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. although most lantaka weighed under two hundred pounds, and many only a few pounds, the largest ones exceeded a thousand pounds with some weighing over a ton. Many of these guns were mounted on swivels and were known as swivel guns. The smaller ones could be mounted almost anywhere including in the rigging. Medium-sized cannon were frequently used in reinforced sockets on the vessel's rails and were sometimes referred to as rail guns. The heaviest swivel guns were mounted on modified gun carriages to make them more portable.[23] High quality metal casting, artillery, and other metal works had been traditions throughout the ancient Philippines. The metal smith, or panday piray of Pampanga was skilled at making weapons, and many individuals with the surnames Viray and Piray are said to be descendants of people who were once members of the guild of smiths who followed the tradition of the panday pira.[24] Ancient peoples used small arquebuses, or portable cannons made up of bronze. Larger cannons, on the other hand, were made of iron and resembling culverins provided heavier firepower. The iron cannon at Rajah Sulaiman III's house was about 17 feet long and was made from clay and wax moulds.[24]

Construction and civil engineering[edit]

View of the town of Banaue from the rice terraces.
The model of a Torogan.
  • The Igorots built forts made of stone walls that averaged several meters in width and about two to three times the width in height around 2000 BC.[36]
  • The Idjang is triangular hil-to citadel of the Ivatan people of the northern islands of Batanes, these idjangs are built fortifications to protect themselves during times of war. They built their so-called idjangs on hills and elevated areas.[37] These fortifications were likened to European castles because of their purpose. Usually, the only entrance to the castles would be via a rope ladder that would only be lowered for the villagers and could be kept away when invaders arrived. [37]
  • Torogan was a symbol of high social status. Such a residence was once a home to a Lakan , Rajah's sultan or Datu in the Philippine archipelago a Torogan is elevated above the ground by its columns cut from trees of huge girth. Its walls are covered with plywood sticks and the roof thatched with dried coconut leaves. There is no interior partition, so it appears as a huge hall. Apart from the basic elements of this structure, it is intricately engraved with the flowing geometries of the Maranaw design system called okir. A Torogan will never be complete without the legendary bird, Sarimanok being displayed inside. Furniture is also common among Maranaws. one of the example was the Kawayan Torogan, built by Sultan sa Kawayan Makaantal in Bubung Malanding, Marantao, Lanao del Sur, the last remaining habitable Torogan, was declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines in 2008.[38]
  • The Vazbuilt Modular Housing System, an invention of Edgardo Vazquez, is a concept of a prefabricated or ready-to-build housing system. an easy to build and less time to construct Walls, floors, columns, window panels, and tied beams, with additional implementation which can potentially solved the country housing backlog.[39]

Music and instrument's[edit]

A lute or Kutiyapi from Mindanao bearing Ukkil motifs.
A five-key bamboo version regularly used in performances by Kontra-Gapi, a modern ethnic music ensemble from the Philippines.
  • OPM include musical performance arts in the Philippines or by Filipinos composed in various genres and styles. The compositions are often a mixture of different Asian, Spanish, Latin American, American, and indigenous influences.[40] [41]
  • The Kudyapi , is a Philippine two-stringed, fretted boat-lute. It is the only stringed instrument among the people of Visayas and Mindanao, and one of several among other groups such as the Maranao and Manobo. It is four to six feet long with nine frets made of hardened beeswax. The instrument is carved out of solid soft wood such as that from the jackfruit tree. The kudyapi has been found among groups such as the Visayans who's prevalence just like the kubing and other musical instruments are and/or were found in other parts of the Philippines. William Henry Scott [42] [43] [44][45][46] [47]
  • Palendag, also called Pulalu (Manobo[48] and Mansaka), Palandag (Bagobo),[49] Pulala (Bukidnon) and Lumundeg (Banuwaen) is a type of Philippine bamboo flute, the largest one used by the Maguindanaon, a smaller type of this instrument is called the Hulakteb (Bukidnon).[50] A lip-valley flute, it is considered the toughest of the three bamboo flutes (the others being the tumpong and the suling) to use because of the way one must shape one's lips against its tip to make a sound.[51] The construction of the mouthpiece is such that the lower end is cut diagonally to accommodate the lower lip and the second diagonal cut is make for the blowing edge. Among the Bukidnon, a similar instrument with the same construction except that it is three-fourths the length of the palendag, is called the hulakteb.[50]
  • gambang, properly called a gambang kayu ('wooden gambang') is a xylophone-like instrument used among peoples of Indonesia and the southern Philippines in gamelan and kulintang, with wooden bars as opposed to the metallic ones of the more typical metallophones in a gamelan. A largely obsolete instrument, the gambang gangsa, is a similar instrument made with metal bars. [52][53]
  • gandingan is a Philippine set of four large, hanging gongs used by the Maguindanao as part of their kulintang ensemble. When integrated into the ensemble, it functions as a secondary melodic instrument after the main melodic instrument, the kulintang. When played solo, the gandingan allows fellow Maguindanao to communicate with each other, allowing them to send messages or warnings via long distances. This ability to imitate tones of the Maguindanao language using this instrument has given the gandingan connotation: the “talking gongs.”[54]

Transportation and mobility[edit]

Jeepneys around Manila.


  • The Salamander is an amphibious tricycle that can run both on land and on water.[55][56]

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.[56]

Marine vessels[edit]

The balangay replica docked at CCP Harbor Manila after its South East Asian expedition.
  • The balangay was the first wooden marine vessel ever excavated in Southeast Asia. It is 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 Karakoa was an ancient warship in the Philippines by the Visayan and Kapampangan people built out of plank fastened with stakes, fitted with accoutrements necessary for searading (mangayaw), slaves and occasional bride.[57] Pedro Chirino, a Spanish friar and a historian, said on his book Relacion de las Islas Filipinas that Karakoa was three times faster than a Spanish Galleon, in the book detailed how friar Francisco Alcina a keen shipwright admired the efficiency of the vessels crafted by the native Visayans , There were 2,000 Kapampangan belligerents in the Battle of Bangkusay who boarded on 40 Karakoas.[58]
  • 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 four wheels, and four-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]

Chicken adobo
A cup of Taho.
  • 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.[59][60]

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.[61]

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


Package of Palitaw.
  • Palitaw (from litaw, the Tagalog word for "float" or "rise") is a small, flat, sweet rice cake eaten in the Philippines. They are made from washed, soaked, and ground malagkit (sticky rice). After excess water is let out from the grinding process, scoops of the batter are rolled and flattened to a circular shape and cooked by dropping into boiling water; floating to the surface is an indication that they're done. Before serving, they are dipped in grated coconut, and presented with a separate mix of sugar and toasted sesame seeds.[65]
  • Bibingka is a type of rice cake from the Philippines usually eaten during the Christmas season. It is traditionally cooked in clay pots lined with banana leaves. Bibingka is also used as a general term for desserts made with flour and baked in the same manner. The term can be loosely translated to "[rice] cake". [68]

Modern technologies[edit]

  • Dubbed as the Multi-cooler fan, this multi-tasking fan is the brainchild of Mr. Rodolfo Biescas. Although not uniquely Filipino, this simple invention is the perfect summer cooler for the budget-conscious. It’s a fan and cooler rolled into one–meaning you can use it to store ice and cool the air while saving on electric costs.[71]
  • Rescue 72 Ideally, it takes up to 3 days or 72 hours before someone can be rescued from a disaster. But without any life-saving tools on hand, survival rate is significantly reduced. Such was the inspiration behind Rescue 72–a life vest and survival kit in one. Its inventor, Danvic Briones, drew inspiration from the sad fate of several Typhoon Ondoy victims. Rescue 72 is equipped with compartments where you can put water-proof bags containing first aid kits, water, light snacks, and other items essential for survival.[71]
  • In 2007, Jayme Navarro of Bacolod discovered a surprising way to convert plastic bags into fuel. It starts by melting the plastics and then taking out the polymers to mix with a catalyst. Pyrolysis will occur soon after to produce hydrocarbon gases. After a several processes of purification, the final output will then be compressed and stored. On average, 5,000 kilos of plastic bags can produce 400 liters of diesel. The good news soon reached DOE and DOST which both attested that the resulting fuel is lower in sulfur and environment-friendly. The invention was finally patented in November 2008.[71]
  • Diosdado Banatao developed the first single-chip graphical user interface accelerator that made computers work much 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. credited with having developed the first 10-Mbit Ethernet CMOS with silicon coupler data-link control and transreceiver chip, the first system logic chip set for IBM's PC-XT and the PC-AT, and the local bus concept and the first Windows Graphics accelerator chip for personal computers.[72] A three-time start-up veteran, he co-founded Mostron, Chips and Technologies, and S3 Graphics.[73]

Sitting together on analog circuits and DSP circuits (digital signal processing) on the same silicon and make them work together demonstrated the invention of this one-chip video camera in CMOS. He receive numerous awards, he has co-authored 13 papers and holds 6 U.S. patents. He has Ph.D. degree from Stanford University in mixed-signal CMOS IC design.[74]

  • 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.[75]
  • Justino Arboleda devised the coconet, a sturdy but biodegradable net made from coconut husk.[76]
  • Francisco Quisumbing is a Filipino chemist known for being the inventor of Quink ink[77][78] 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.[79] Quink stands for Quisumbing Ink. However, Parker states that the name is an amalgam of "quick and ink".[80]
  • The Vazbuilt Modular Housing System, an invention of Edgardo Vazquez, is a concept of a prefabricated or ready-to-build housing system. an easy to build and less time to construct Walls, floors, columns, window panels, and tied beams, with additional implementation which can potentially solved the country housing backlog.[81]
  • Marc Loinaz invented the One Chip Video Camera,[74] Ho-hum materials from a personal computer was the beginning of one-chip video camera created by the team of Loinaz at Lucent Technologies. It is small, a size of cigarette lighter, low power and cheap and can be integrated into everything from wristwatches to cars.[citation needed] Contrary to CCDs (charge-coupled devices), which are relatively large, consume large power and are complicated to design, this one chip is also based on silicon chip found on microprocessors and memory devices.


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]

  • The Eskrima, Arnis,[82] and Kali are umbrella terms for the traditional martial arts of the Philippines ("Filipino Martial Arts," or FMA) that emphasize weapon-based fighting with sticks, knives and other bladed weapons, and various improvised weapons. It is also known as Estoque (Spanish for rapier), Estocada (Spanish for thrust or stab) and Garrote (Spanish for club). In Luzon they may go by the name of Arnis de Mano, Pananandata (use of weapons), Sinawali' (Pampanga, "to weave"), Sitbatan (Pangasinan), Didya and Kabaroan (Ilocos region). In the Visayas and Mindanao, these martial arts have been referred to as Eskrima, Kali, Kaliradman, Pagaradman and Kalirongan. Kuntaw and Silat are separate martial arts that have been practiced in the islands. 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.[83] 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]


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  2. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
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