Teodoro R. Yangco was a
noted philantropist and business manate.
He was born in San Antonio, Zambales on November
09, 1861, the
son of Luis Yangco and ramona Arguelles. He had two sisters, Pacita and Luisa,
and a brother, Luisito, by the second marriage of his father to Victorina Obin.
Teodoro obtained his early
education under the tutorship of Vicente Castro, whom his mother hired because
she was not satisfied with the public school system. Later, his father enrolled
him at the Ateneo de Manila, where he
obtained his Bachelor of Arts. Then he transferred to the University of Sto. Tomas to study law.
To give him a better
education his father sent him to Spain. In Madrid he used to wear his suits brought from
Manila. This caused laughter among his
friends in Madrid for they were out of style. He
reasoned that since they were still good and strong he should not discard them
simply because of style. In 1882, he went to London and registered at the EalingCollege, for a degree in the Commerce and
Business Administration, graduating in 1886. He returned to the Philppines by
On the morning following
his arrival, his father opened the door to his bedroom without knocking and saw
him still sleep. “Teodoro, is that what you learned in England- sleeping until ? Tomorrow you will open the store at and prepare the office for the days
work. You may get the key from the janitor.”
He served as clerk with
utmost fidelity. Eventually he was promoted to manager.
In 1907, he had a
misunderstanding with his father, and so, he organized his own company that
engaged in operating ferries and streamers in Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, Bataan, Zambales, Mindoro and Pampanga. He also established a
shipyard for the construction and repair of sailboats and steam vessels. He
also owned the Bazaar Siglo XX engaged in buying and selling general
merchandise, commision and consignment businesses.
Being a good friend of both
Senate President Quezon and House Speaker Osmeña, he serve as Filipino
President Commissioner in Washington, D.C. from 1917-1920.
Quezon said: “We need a man
in the United
who is deeply interested in our institution as well as in the development of
our natural resources, a man who is conversant with the needs of our country
and can voice out our desire at Washington and that man, is Mr. Yangco.”
One of his outstanding accomplishment was the passage of tariff legislation giving
preference to Philippine product over those of other tropical countries.
The range of his benevolent
sympathies indicated something of the magnitude of his soul. The first dozen
nurses in St.
hospital was maintained by him. He has also given to
other hospitals, poor student, the Red Cross, the Y.M.C.A., the
Anti-Tuberculosis society, athletics, religious institution, orphanages,
personal relief work, cripples, fire, flood and earthquake victims, associated
charities, puericulture center, schools, libraries and many other civic and
charitable projects. For instance, he gave P20,000 to complete the necessary
sum for the founding of the Filipino Y.M.C.A. He became its president and for
25 years, generously supported this institution so that he came to be called
appropriately the “father of the Y.M.C.A. in the Philippines.”
In 1923, he represented the
Philippine Chamber of Commerce at the first Pan-Pacific Commercial Conference
held in Honolulu, where he ably defended Philippine
At one time he acted as
honorary consul for the Republic of Mexico. HE became the President of the
Anti-Tuberculosis Society and the Gota de
He never married, but he
loved children and did everything to make them happy.
He lived simply. Every day
he walked from his house to his office, dressed in plain white suits and
carrying a black umbrella. He never had an automobile for his own house.
He died on April
20, 1939, at
age 78. In his honor the TeodoroR.YangcoElementary School in Tondo was named after him.