As prescribed by current Philippine law, two of the pertinent qualifications required for public elective positions, specifically the president of the country are: (1) that the aspirant is a natural born citizen and (2) that the aspirant is a resident of the Philippines for at least 10 years immediately preceding the election.
This completely makes sense, of course, because how can a president lead a country that seems to be foreign to him/her?
Now that the nation is busy preparing for yet another national election in 2016, let's take a look at our previous presidents' respective hometowns.
1) Emilio Aguinaldo (In Office: 1899–1901): Kawit, Cavite
A revolutionary, Aguinaldo was officially recognized as the First President of the Philippines after leading the country in a war against Spain. On June 12, 1898, he proclaimed the sovereignty and independence of the archipelago from the colonial rule through the public reading of the "Acta de la proclamación de independencia del pueblo Filipino" in Cavite El Viejo (present-day Kawit, Cavite).
Aguinaldo was a true blue Caviteño. He was born in Cavite El Viejo in 1869, became the Cabeza de Barangay of Barrio Binakayan at 17, and was the first Gobernadorcillo Capitan Municipal of his hometown at 25.
At present, Kawit, Cavite is known for heritage sites that were significant during the Philippine revolution. One is the Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine where the first president was born and where the Philippine flag was waved from on the day of the independence. The next stop is Fort San Felipe, which was built by the Spaniards in the early 1600s. It was the site of the 1872 Cavite Mutiny, said to be the instigator of Filipino nationalism. The nearby municipality of Maragondon marks the site where Andres Bonifacio was court-martialed in 1897.
For the religious, Kawit has the St. Mary Magdalane Church, which was built in 1638, and the San Roque Church, which houses the Shrine of the Nuestra Señora dela Soledad de Porta Vaga (Our Lady of Solitude of Vaga Gate).
2) Manuel L. Quezon (In Office: 1935-1944): Baler, Aurora
Quezon serves as the president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines and was considered as the "Father of the National Language." He was born 1878 in the district of El Principe (present-day Aurora, adjacent to present-day Quezon), a commandancia politico-militar with its capital at Baler. It was only in 1979 when the Province of Aurora, in honor of his wife Aurora Aragón Quezón, was officially established.
A replica of the house owned by her father Pedro Aragon now stands at the corner of San Luis & Rizal St. in the town proper. It is now maintained as a memorial shrine where guests can visit and know more about the formative years of Doña Aurora.
Baler has also become a popular surfing destination since it hosts a beach break on the country's eastern seaboard. One can also find spectacular geographic formations, specifically off the coast of Barangay Zabali, called the Aniao Islets.
3) Jose P. Laurel (In Office: 1943-1945): Tanauan, Batangas
Laurel was the president of the Second Philippine Republic, sometimes referred to as the puppet government of the Japanese. He was born in 1891 in Tanauan, Batangas.
It is believed that the city's name was derived from the Tagalog term "tanaw," which means to look through the window. From a tower built at its location by the Augustinian friars, incoming boats that enter through the Pansipit River were monitored. One can also have a view (tanaw) of the Taal Lake and the adjacent terrain.
Batangas, in general, is a tourist destination near Metro Manila. It is home to the famous Taal Volcano and the small Taal Heritage Town. It is also known for its beaches and diving spots such as Anilao in Mabini, Matabungkay in Lian, Punta Fuego in Nasugbu, and Laiya in San Juan.
4) Sergio Osmeña, Sr. (In Office: 1944-1946): Cebu City
Osmeña was born to a rich and prominent clan of Chinese Filipino heritage in Cebu City. After taking up law and serving the war staff of Aguinaldo as a journalist, he founded the Cebu newspaper El Nuevo Día in 1900. He was elected as governor of Cebu in 1906.
Cebu City is now considered as the second most populous metropolitan area in the Philippines. Being the first Spanish settlement, it is also riddled with old churches and buildings that are now considered as tourist destinations. These include the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, Fort San Pedro, and Magellan's Cross, among others.
The city is also a good jumpoff point for other stunning destinations such as the white sand beaches of Bantayan Island, the site of the butandings in Oslob, and the beautiful Kawasan Falls in Badian. The highest point in Cebu, Osmeña Peak, is named after the former Philippine president.
5) Manuel Roxas (In Office: 1946-1948): Capiz
Roxas was born on New Year's Day in 1892 in Capiz (now Roxas City). He spent his formative years in the province before attending St. Joseph's College in Hong Kong. He was a member of the municipal council in 1917 and was governor from 1919 to 1922.
Having one of the richest fishing grounds, Capiz became known as the Seafood Capital of the Philippines. It is also famous for the Placuna placenta oyster shell which is sometimes used for decorations.
Capiz is also the site of the coral-stone Sta. Monica Church, which houses the largest bell in Asia. It weighs 10.4 tons and measures 7 feet in diamater and 5 feet in height. It was made from 70 sacks of silver and bronze coins donated by the people of the historic town of Pan-ay.
Where did our next 10 presidents come from? Watch out for parts 2 and 3 of this series!
[Part 2 of 3: Quirino to Marcos]