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5 Famous Filipino Engineers

Pao P

Known for being worldwide problem-solvers, engineers are mostly made up of talented individuals that have a natural affinity for math and the sciences. Yet among these few people, even fewer stand out among the rest as master innovators and inventors whose legacy will be seen in many years to come.

Filipinos have no shortage as well when it comes to having engineers that excel in their chosen work. These Filipinos have been recognized to exceed the expectations of international engineering accreditation organizations such as ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc.) and have a crucial contribution to their fields of specializations.

5 Famous Filipino Engineers


Dr. Chua is an electrical engineer and computer scientist, graduate of Mapua Institute of Technology in Manila, Philippines in 1959. Teaching for around a year in his alma mater, he emigrated to the U.S. to further his studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under a scholarship program, where he earned his Masters Degree in 1961. He then earned his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1964, and over the ensuing years, receiving eight honorary doctorates.

Dr. Chua is known as the father of nonlinear circuit theory and cellular neural networks (CNN). CNN architecture is the only one implemented into a practical fully-programmable chip for solving ultra-high-speed pattern recognition and image processing problems. He also invented a five-element circuit for generating chaotic signals, named “the Chua Circuit”, it is used by many researchers to design secure communications systems based on chaos.

5 Famous Filipino Engineers


Being known as “the Bill Gates of Asia”, Dr. Banatao is often famous for his rags-to-riches story. Born of a poor family with his father, Salvador Banatao being a worker in the rice fields, Dado Banatao used to walk barefoot on the muddy road just to reach Malabbac Elementary School. He then pursued secondary education in Ateneo de Tuguegarao. After high school, he then pursued BS Electrical Engineering from the Mapua Institute of Technology, graduating cum laude., 

Banatao is most known for introducing the first single-chip graphical user interface accelerator that made computers work a lot faster and for helping develop the Ethernet controller chip that made the Internet possible. In 1989, he pioneered the local bus concept for personal computers and in the following year developed the First Windows accelerator chip. Intel is now using the chips and technologies developed by Banatao. He now runs his own semiconductor company, Mostron and Chips & Technology, which is based in California's Silicon Valley.

5 Famous Filipino Engineers


A Filipino Inventor and Mechanical Engineer, Eduardo San Juan worked on the team that invented the Lunar Rover or Moon Buggy. Eduardo San Juan is considered the primary designer of the Lunar Rover, or more popularly knows as the Moon Buggy. He is a graduate of the Mapua Institute of Technology and furthered his career by studying Nuclear Engineering at the University of Washington. In 1978, San Juan received one of the Ten Outstanding Men (TOM) awards in science and technology.

The Moon Buggy was the car used by Neil Armstrong and other astronauts when they first explored the moon in 1969. Before the Apollo Program, Eduardo San Juan also worked on the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM).

5 Famous Filipino Engineers


Arturo Pineda Alcaraz was born in Manila, the Philippines, on March 21, 1916, the second child of Conrado Alcaraz and Paz Pineda. He went to high school in the cool hills of Baguio, which was then a pleasant small town, was a "wonderful experience" for the boy. In the early 1930s the region was enjoying a mining boom and Leopoldo Faustino, a cousin of his father and one of the first Filipinos to earn a doctorate in geology, was then Head of the Division of Mines of the Bureau of Science. He spoke so highly to the young man of mining as a career that when Alcaraz graduated at the top of his class from Baguio City High School in 1933, he sought to prepare for that profession. Since there was no school of mining in the Philippines, he entered the College of Engineering, University of the Philippines in Manila. A year later when Mapua Institute of Technology, also in Manila, offered a degree in mining engineering, Dr. Alcaraz transferred there, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering from Mapua in 1937.

In 1967, Arturo Alcaraz and team powered an electric light bulb using steam-powered electricity, Power coming from a Volcano near the town of Tiwi. This was the first geothermal power generated in the Philippines. Dr. Alcaraz is the First Prominent expert in the field of Geothermal Energy and Mining.

5 Famous Filipino Engineers


Dr. Gregorio Zara, born in Lipa City, Batangas, is one of the best-known scientists and engineers of the Philippines.

In 1926, he graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. In 1927, he received his Master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and his Ph.D. in Physics at the Sorbonne University in 1930.

He started working on different projects which include the alcohol-fueled airplane engine that was successfully tested and flown at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on September 30, 1954.  He also invented the two-way television phone, Dr. Zara's important achievements include the invention of the two-way television telephone, electrical kinetic resistance known as the Zara effect, and solar energy.

He was the recipient of a Presidential Diploma of Merit and Distinguished Service Medal in 1959 for his pioneering works and achievements in solar energy, aeronautics, and television; Presidential Gold Medal and Diploma of Honor for Science and Research in 1966; and Cultural Heritage award for Science Education and Aero Engineering. All in all, Dr. Zara has a record of 40 research works and 20 outstanding contributions to science at the peak of his career.


By Pao P
Works as Customer Service Representative/Technical at Sykes Asia Inc.