20 Rare Yearbook Photos of Influential Filipino Personalities (Part II)

Photos of Famous Filipinos When They Were Young

Get ready to see never-before-seen graduation photos of outstanding Filipino personalities as they appear in their school yearbooks. Like all students, they seemed ready to take on the world, with their bright faces brimming with confidence and optimism. In a few years, they would go on to become icons and idols; trailblazers and leaders; movers and shakers who all have left their mark in Philippine society.


Table of Contents


12. Conrado Benitez (Former Dean, U.P. College of Liberal Arts)

Conrado Benitez

Student Life: Benitez (1889 – 1971) was an eminent educator, statesman, constitutionalist, historian, sportsman, and civic leader. The sports-minded native of Pagsanjan, Laguna put up a baseball program at the Philippine Normal School, and later, as a government pensionado at the University of Chicago, he became captain of the varsity swimming team and was later cited as one of the school’s outstanding alumni.

Also, Read 30 Things You Didn’t Know About the University of the Philippines

Life After Graduation: Benitez finished Law at the U.P. and soon became an associate professor. He also helped organize the first Philippine team to compete in the Far East Olympics Games in Tokyo. His wife, Francisca Tirona, was also an eminent educator, the founder of the Philippine Women’s University.

13. Pacita De Los Reyes (Miss Philippines 1929)

Pacita De los Reyes

Student Life: The beauty-and-brains Pacita (1912 – 2004) was a product of the premiere Meisic School in Binondo and finished her high school at the Holy Ghost College. Applying at the University of the Philippines’  College of Liberal Arts, she topped the exams from among 115 applicants.

“Ting” became a popular campus figure and was named as a secretary of the Junior Philippine Senate, an elite group of top debaters, orators, and honor students that included Ambrosio Padilla and Arturo Tolentino. In her first year, she was handpicked by UP President Rafael Palma to be the school’s candidate for the Miss Philippines search at the 1929 Manila Carnival. She won the title and was the toast of the country for a year. But after the Carnival years, she focused on her law studies and graduated cum laude.

READ: The Short And Tragic Life of The First Igorota Beauty Queen

Life After Graduation: De Los Reyes placed 7th in the bar exams, had a stellar law practice, and also taught law subjects. She ran for a senatorial slot in the Philippine elections of 1957, under Recto’s party, but was unsuccessful in her quest. She was also briefly married to Dr. Ralph Phillips.

14. Vicente Alvarez Dizon (The Painter Who Beat Salvador Dali)

Vicente Alvarez Dizon

Student Life: Dizon, the artist that history almost forgot, was 19 when he finished high school at the National University. He made the illustrations for his class yearbook. A Fine Arts graduate from the U.P., he became an art professor and took further studies at Yale.

Life After Graduation: Dizon’s biggest triumph was winning First Prize at an important contest held during the 1939 Golden Gate Exposition in San Francisco, California, with his opus, “After A Day’s Toil”—showing a Filipino farming family on their way home from their laborious fieldwork. Dizon bested a number of entries from 79 countries— including that of surrealist Salvador Dali who could only place second.

Dizon married Ines Sadie Henson and died in Intramuros at the end of the war. Two of his children, Daniel and Josie, are both accomplished artists.

15. Ramon Fernandez (Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court)

Ramon Fernandez

Student Life: From being a valedictorian of his provincial high school, Fernandez enrolled at the U.P. College of Law and graduated with cum laude honors. He placed 2nd in the Bar Exams which was topped by classmate Ferdinand Marcos.

Life After Graduation: Under Marcos, Fernandez became an undersecretary of Justice (1968-71), Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals (1971-77), and finally, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (1977-82). He was married to former 1969 Miss Philippines, Iluminada Tuason, whom he escorted as an ROTC officer from U.P.

16. Carmen Guerrero (Journalist, Author, Historian, Public Servant)

Carmen Guerrero

Chitang” Guerrero comes from the prominent Guerrero family of Ermita that included diplomats, writers, poets, intellectuals, nationalists, and patriots:  Leon Ma. Guerrero, Fernando Ma.  Guerrero, Dr. Luis Guerrerro, and Wilfredo Ma. Guerrero.

Also, Read 9 Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About Imelda Marcos

She married Ismael Cruz, who was killed during the war, and married a second time Angel Cruz. This 1939 Theresian graduate is also known as the mother of Gemma Cruz-Araneta, 1964 Miss International.

17. Genaro Magsaysay (Philippine Senator)

Genaro Magsaysay

Genaro was the younger brother of former Pres. Ramon Magsaysay of Castillejos, Zambales. After his Ateneo stint, he became a practicing lawyer before embarking on a political career.

In 1957, he was elected congressman of Zambales. Two years later, he placed second in the senatorial elections and enjoyed two more terms (1965-71, 1971-73). As a member of the Senate, he chaired various committees: Accounts, Social Justice, Welfare, and Community Development.

Related Article: 6 Reasons Why Ramon Magsaysay Was The Best President Ever

Magsaysay, representing the Philippines, was elected one of the vice-presidents of the Brussels Parliamentary Conference. He is married to Adelaida Rodriguez, daughter of former Senate President “Amang” Rodriguez Sr.

18. Wigberto Tañada (Philippine Senator)

Wigberto Tañada

Student Life: “Ka Bobby” is the son of former Sen. Lorenzo M. Tañada, the “grand old man of Philippine politics.” He first studied at local schools in Quezon (Quezon Elementary School,  Gumaca Central School, St. John’s Academy) then moved to Ateneo where he finished his elementary and secondary education.

He then finished his Bachelor of Arts in 1952, and his batch included classmates Cirio H. Santiago (award-winning filmmaker, founder of Premiere Films) and Alfredo Bengzon ( doctor-educator, Ramon Magsaysay Awardee). He finished his law course at the Manuel L. Quezon University and his Masters at Harvard.

Life After Graduation: A member of the Liberal Party, Tañada was a senator from 1987-1995, running under the coalition LABAN party. His son, Lorenzo III, is currently a member of the House of Representatives.

19. Claudio Teehankee (Chief Justice of the Supreme Court)

Claudio Teehankee

Student Life: Teehankee (1918 – 1989) took both his A.B. degree and his Law degree from Ateneo de Manila, copping summa cum laude honors. He placed first in the Bar Exams of 1940 with a grade of 94.35%.

Life After Graduation: He had an illustrious career, becoming the Secretary of Justice in 1967, and the 16th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. During the Marcos years, he was known for his dissenting opinions in many cases involving the Marcoses, resulting in his being by-passed for the Chief Justice position—until  Pres. Aquino finally appointed him as Chief Justice in 1986. He was also named Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations.

20. Benigno Simeon “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. (Philippine Senator and Leading Marcos Oppositionist)

Benigno Simeon Ninoy Aquino Jr.

The peripatetic Ninoy was first enrolled at Saint Joseph’s School at age 6. In his third grade, he then transferred to American-run Ateneo, then located in Intramuros.

READ: 13 Curious Facts About Ninoy Aquino

With the war closing Ateneo, Ninoy moved to La Salle, but his studies were cut short by the Liberation. Once school reopened in 1946, Ninoy returned to Manila in 1946 to become a Bedan. He finished high school in just two and a half years by cross-enrolling during summer at Far Eastern University and National University.

In his own assessment, he was “in the middle bracket, never brilliant, never among the 95s, but never in the 75s either.”  


Also Read: 20 Rare Yearbook Photos of Influential Filipino Personalities (Part I)

About the Author: Alex R. Castro is a retired advertising executive and is now a consultant and museum curator of the Center for Kapampangan Studies of Holy Angel University, Angeles City. He is the author of 2 local history books: “Scenes from a Bordertown & Other Views” and “Aro, Katimyas Da! A Memory Album of Titled Kapampangan Beauties 1908-2012”, a National Book Award finalist. He is a 2014 Most Outstanding Kapampangan Awardee in the field of Arts. For comments on this article, contact him at: [email protected]


  • Graduation/yearbook photos of Mariano Alimurung, Pacita de los Reyes, Claudio Teehankee, Ramon C. Fernandez, reproduced from Graphic issues 1938-1940
  • Carmen Rosales, reproduced from Filipino Heritage, Vol. 9
  • Juan Ponce Enrile, reproduced from Woman’s Home Companion, 13 June 1974 issue, p. 21
  • Ferdinand Marcos, from “Highlights at the U.P. High” by A. Oliver Flores, Sunday Times Magazine, 27 March 1965,  pp. 18-21
  • All other photos, from the Author’s Collection of school yearbooks (Theresian, Aegis, Ecos, Mirror, Thomasian, Philippinensian, National University)