The Legacy of Don Teodoro R. Yangco
There is more to San Antonio, Zambales other than its beautiful coves, white beaches, magnificent islands, Spanish-era lighthouse, and abundant sea.
There is a monument in front of the town hall so conspicuous yet so often overlooked. If one has to bother reading the inscription, he will certainly realize how illustrious and successful the person during his time. And he was Don Teodoro R. Yangco.
In a site now occupied by the United Church of Christ in the Philippines was the birthplace of Teodoro Yangco. Born to Don Luis Yangco and Doña Ramona Corpus on November 9, 1861, Teodoro to be a man ahead of his time. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Ateneo de Manila, finished law at the University of Santo Tomas, and achieved a commerce degree at the Ealing College in London.
Taking a page from his father’s book, himself a successful shipping magnate, he founded his own shipyard. He also set up other businesses: a big department store called Bazaar Siglo XX, buy-and-sell (iron and steel), and Yangco Market, an iconic flea market in Divisoria.
From March 4, 1917 to March 3, 1920, he served as one of the Resident Commissioners of the Philippines to the US 65th and 66th Congresses. He succeeded the future Commonwealth of the Philippines President Manuel L. Quezon.
He was also involved in charitable activities. Being one of the founders and president of the movement, he is considered as the Father of Young Men’s Christian Association of the Philippines. He also headed Anti-Tuberculosis Society, an organization in which Josefa Llanes Escoda was once a part of; and Gota de Leche (Drop of Milk), now the country’s oldest nonsectarian charitable organization. He donated the lands where the offices of YMCA Philippines and Gota de Leche were built.
The foremost philanthropist of his era, Don Teodoro Yangco died at the ripe age of 77 on April 20, 1939. He left behind an enduring legacy worthy of praise and emulation.