Teodoro R. Yangco

(1861 - 1939)



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 Ealing College, for a degree in the Commerce and Business Administration, graduating in 1886. He returned to the Philppines by the United States and Japan.


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 5:45? Tomorrow you will open the store at six o’clock 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 States 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. Paul’s 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 Independence.


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 Leche.


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 Teodoro R. Yangco Elementary School in Tondo was named after him.