PASCUAL V. LEDESMA
A jack-of-all-trades, Pascual Ledesma was a ship captain, farmer, industrialist, and trader.
He was also a revolutionary and a flag officer-in-command of the Philippine Navy. He is said to be
the first bureau director of the Department of the Navy, of which he later became its Secretary.
He was born to a prominent and rich couple, Simon Ledesma and Felipa Villasis, in
Himamaylan, Negros Occidental, on May 17, 1843. He received his elementary education from a
prestigious school under the supervision of a well-known Visayan educator, Angel Ma. Bayot.
In his early years, Ledesma displayed a strong inclination toward the nautical profession.
Thus, his parents sent him to Manila to study at the Escuela Nautica de Manila, where he obtained
a degree in captainship.
He worked as ship captain from 1863 (for a commercial marine company) to 1878. He
eventually got bored with the job, however, and went to Mindoro to engage in farming. He became
well known as a farmer on the island with his use of scientific methods.
Aside from farming, he also engaged in commercial and trading activities from 1878 to
1894. He joined the Katipunan around this time and is said to have significantly contributed to its
propagation around Manila and nearby areas through his work.
When the First Philippine Republic was established, President Aguinaldo appointed him
as director of Bureau of the Marine and Commerce, with the rank of commanding general from
September 1898 to 1901. As such he was responsible for the operations of the navy.
From 1901 to 1905, Ledesma traveled to Japan, China, and Indo-China to conduct trade
and commerce with the people of these countries.
In 1905, he returned to Manila and helped form the Nacionalista Party together with
Sergio Osmeña Sr., Manuel L. Quezon, Macario Adriatico, Dr. Leon Ma. Guerrero, Pedro A.
Paterno, and other well-known political figures. Fully confident of his leadership and abilities, the
group installed him as the first party president and chairman. He served in this capacity for two
years, from 1906 to 1908.
Ledesma also helped establish the Liceo de Manila, which he served as a member of its
board of trustees, and the Asociación de los Veteranos de la Revolución.
After retiring from public service, he resumed his activities as a businessman and trader in
Manila, and became very prosperous.
He died on June 6, 1917.
During his 150th birth anniversary in 1993, his remains were exhumed from Manila North
Cemetery and transported to Himamaylan, his birthplace.
Giagonia, Dodds. The Philippine Navy (1898-1996). Philippine Navy, 1997
Historical Markers Regions V-XII. Manila: National Historical Institute, 1994.
“Honors set for General Ledesma”, Manila Bulletin (May 5, 1993) p. 7.
Reyes, Pedrito; Mercedes Grau-Santamaria, H. Otley Beyer and Jaime C. De Veyra. Pictorial
History of the Philippines. Quezon City: Capital Publishing House, Inc., 1953.
Villaroel, Hector, et. al. Eminent Filipinos. Manila: National Historical Commission,
Photo of bust, in: The Philippine Navy (photo section)