First Lady or First Gentleman of the Philippines

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First Lady or
First Gentleman of the Philippines
Unang Ginang o Ginoó ng Pilipinas
Vacant[note 1]
Residence Malacañang Palace
Inaugural holder Hilaria del Rosario-Aguinaldo[note 2]
Formation 23 January 1899

The First Lady or First Gentleman of the Philippines (Filipino: Unang Ginang/Ginoó ng Pilipinas) is the unofficial, customary title of the host or hostess of Malacañang Palace, the residence of the head of state and head of government of the Philippines. The title is traditionally held by the consort of the President of the Philippines, and as such is sometimes exclusively used for a spouse of the incumbent.


The consort of the Philippine President is, as in other countries, conventionally styled in English as the "First Lady" (Filipino: Unang Ginang). As Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took office as the second female President, the masculine form "First Gentleman" (abbreviated FG; Filipino: Unang Ginoó) was used for her husband, Miguel Arroyo.

This is perhaps one reason for the use of gender-neutral title of First Spouse, although of note also is that many indigenous nouns lack grammatical gender in many Philippine languages, compared to thousands of gendered loanwords from Spanish or English. The terms "husband" and "wife" are thus covered by genderless words for "spouse" (e.g. the Tagalog asawa, kabiyák); with the exception in the Visayan Languages, bana, "husband".


The position of First Spouse is not an elected position, carries no official duties, and has no personal remuneration. Nonetheless, the title holder participates in humanitarian and charitable work on behalf of the President. Furthermore, many First Spouses have taken an active role in campaigning for the President or have participated in public life through some other manner.

Imelda Marcos was given a formal job as Governor of Metro Manila and as Minister of Human Settlements by her husband Ferdinand Marcos during his 21-year rule. She is also the first First Lady to enter the world of Philippine politics by winning a seat in the Interim Batasang Pambansa in 1978.

In 2001, physician Luisa Estrada became the first former First Lady to win a seat in Senate.

The wife or husband of the Vice President of the Philippines is sometimes referred to as the Second Spouse of the Philippines; actual usage of this title, however, is rare.


Succession Portrait First Lady/Gentleman Relation to President Government Start End
1 Hilaria Aguinaldo portrait.jpg Hilaria Aguinaldo
first wife of Emilio Aguinaldo
(husband, officially recognized as the first President)
First Philippine Republic (1899–1901) January 23, 1899 April 1, 1901
2 Aurora Aragon-Quezon.jpg Aurora Quezon
wife of Manuel L. Quezon Commonwealth of the Philippines (1935–1946) November 15, 1935 August 1, 1944
3 Pacencia Laurel
wife of José P. Laurel Second Philippine Republic (1943–1945) October 14, 1943 August 14, 1945
4 Esperanza Osmena (Malacanang photo).jpg Esperanza Osmeña
wife of Sergio Osmeña Commonwealth of the Philippines (1935–1946) August 1, 1944 May 28, 1946
5 Trinidad Roxas (Malacanang photo).jpg Trinidad Roxas
wife of Manuel Roxas Third Philippine Republic (1946–1972) May 28, 1946 April 15, 1948
6 Vicky Quirino (Malacanang photo).jpg Victoria Quirino
Daughter of widower Elpidio Quirino April 15, 1948 December 30, 1953
7 Luz Magsaysay (Malacanang photo).jpg Luz Magsaysay
wife of Ramon Magsaysay December 30, 1953 March 17, 1957
8 Leonila Garcia
wife of Carlos P. Garcia March 17, 1957 December 30, 1961
9 Eva Macapagal departing for Malacañang.jpg Eva Macapagal
wife of Diosdado Macapagal December 30, 1961 December 30, 1965
10 Imelda-alone.jpg Imelda Marcos
wife of Ferdinand E. Marcos December 30, 1965 February 25, 1986
Philippines under Martial Law (1972–1981)
Fourth Philippine Republic (1981–1987)
Vacant; Corazon C. Aquino was a widow February 25, 1986 June 30, 1992
Fifth Philippine Republic (1987–present)
11 Amelita Ramos
wife of Fidel V. Ramos June 30, 1992 June 30, 1998
12 Senate-Centennial-Dinner-20161006-010 (cropped).jpg Loi Ejercito
wife of Joseph Ejercito Estrada June 30, 1998 January 20, 2001
13 Jose Miguel Arroyo departing St. Luke's Medical Center (cropped).jpg Jose Miguel Arroyo
husband of Gloria Macapagal–Arroyo January 20, 2001 June 30, 2010
Vacant; Benigno S. Aquino III was unmarried June 30, 2010 June 30, 2016
Vacant; Rodrigo Duterte is unmarried[note 1] June 30, 2016 Incumbent

Non-spouses who held the distinction

Sara Duterte, the daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, was initially to become his First Lady. The younger Duterte later declined the offer.[2]

On few occasions, individuals who are not spouses of the incumbent president has perform tasks reserved for the First Spouse effectively rendering them as the de facto first spouse in selected occasions; most often they are a direct relative of the President. To date, only Elpidio Quirino, Corazon Aquino, and Benigno Aquino III had no First Spouse.[3] In the case of Quirino. his First Lady was not his wife but his daughter since he was a widower.

Victoria Quirino-Gonzalez was the First Lady for her father, Elpidio Quirino. However Victoria is regarded as the first to be named with the role "First Lady". The spouses of the presidents, from Emilio Aquinaldo to Manuel Roxas, were not given the title during their respective husbands' terms.[1]

Corazón Aquino was married to Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr., whose assassination on 21 August 1983 was a key factor in her 1986 rise to the presidency. Her eldest daughter, María Elena "Ballsy" Aquino-Cruz, served as her mother's proxy in some social functions and accompanied her on state visits. In a similar fashion to Victoria Quirino-Delgado, Aquino-Cruz was informally styled "First Lady"; her brother, Benigno III (later President) was meanwhile considered First Gentleman.[citation needed]

During the 2015 APEC summit hosted in Manila, Benigno Aquino III's sister, Kris Aquino served as de facto First Lady for the occasion. Their other sisters, Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, Pinky Aquino-Abelleda, and Viel Aquino-Dee, also assisted the president in performing his duties.[4][5][6][7] In the absence of a First Lady for Aquino, the Palace hired professionals to fulfill the roles usually reserved for the First Spouse, such as organizing state dinners.[3]

Prior to his inauguration, incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte officially designated his daughter Sara as First Lady despite having Cielito Avanceña as his common-law wife. He was previously married to Elizabeth Zimmerman; [8] their marriage was annulled in 2000. Ms. Avanceña has started to participate as consort of President Duterte during the official visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and as hostess during the 30th ASEAN Summit.

However, then Mayor-elect Duterte declined the offer.[2][9] Following the filing of newly-elected Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte of a 10-day leave of absence until June 22, there were speculations that she would assume the post of First Lady, but she neither denied or confirmed the speculation.[10][11] Former Department of Interior and Local Government secretary Rafael Alunan has suggested Vice President Leni Robredo to serve as de facto First Lady.[12]

Succession Portrait First Lady Relation to President Government Term of President
Start End
6 Vicky Quirino (Malacanang photo).jpg Victoria Quirino–Gonzalez Daughter of widower Elpidio Quirino Third Philippine Republic (1946–1972) April 17, 1948 December 30, 1953
N/A Ballsy Aquino–Cruz Daughter of widow Corazon Aquino Fifth Philippine Republic (1986–present) February 25, 1986 June 30, 1992
Kris Aquino APEC.JPG Kris Aquino Sister of unmarried Benigno Aquino III June 30, 2010 June 30, 2016

Living former First Ladies or First Gentlemen

As of February 2018, there are four living former First Ladies or First Gentlemen. The most recent First Lady to die was Victoria Quirino (1948–1953) Daughter of Elpidio Quirino on November 29, 2006 and Luz Magsaysay (1953–1957) on August 17, 2004.

See also


  1. ^ a b Currently, there is no individual holding this customary title. Cielito Avanceña is the common-law spouse of current President Rodrigo Duterte, who had initially offered the title to his daughter, Sara. The latter declined, citing her duties as Mayor of Davao City.
  2. ^ The term "First Lady" was first used for Victoria Quirino-González, who was the daughter of President Elpidio Quirino.[1]


  1. ^ a b Lo, Ricky (15 May 2016). "The Fabulous First Ladies, 1897-2001". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 11 May 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Alconaba, Nico (11 May 2016). "Mayor Sara turns down first lady job". Inquirer Mindanao. Retrieved 19 July 2016. The country’s next President still has no first lady after Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte, turned down the offer. 
  3. ^ a b San Juan, Thelma Sioson (27 July 2014). "President who has no first lady: It is what it is". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 11 May 2016. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Montesa, Jon (11 November 2015). "Kris as APEC 2015 First Lady". Manila Bulletin. Archived from the original on 21 November 2015. Retrieved 11 May 2016. 
  8. ^ Vanzi, Sol (26 June 2016). "Duterte's women". Manila Bulletin. Archived from the original on 2 July 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016. Although Duterte has announced that his official First Lady... 
  9. ^ "Duterte's families arrive separately in Malacañang". GMA News. 30 June 2016. Retrieved 19 July 2016. During the campaigns, Duterte had said that he was planning to name Inday Sara as his First Lady, but she begged off citing her responsibilities in Davao City. 
  10. ^ Carillo, Carmencita (2 July 2016). "Davao mayor takes a leave on first day of office". BusinessWorld. Retrieved 19 July 2016. 
  11. ^ Carillo, Lovely (13 July 2016). "Pulong denies Sara resigning". The Mindanao Daily Mirror. Retrieved 19 July 2016. 
  12. ^ Macabalang, Ali (4 July 2016). "Leni pushed as Duterte's 'de facto First Lady' in official functions". Manila Bulletin. 
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