Leon Maria Guerrero
León María Guerrero y Leogardo was a writer
A writer is a person who produces literature, such as novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, poetry, or other literary art. Skilled writers are able to use language to portray ideas and images....

, revolutionary leader, politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

, the first licensed pharmacist
Pharmacists are allied health professionals who practice in pharmacy, the field of health sciences focusing on safe and effective medication use...

 in the Philippines, and one of the most eminent botanists in the country in his time.

León María was one of the 14 children of León Jorge Guerrero and Clara Leogardo. He was born on January 21, 1853 in Ermita, Manila
Ermita, Manila
Ermita is a district of Manila, Philippines located halfway between Intramuros and Malate.-History:Ermita was founded in the late 16th century...

. His brother, Lorenzo, became a painter and a teacher of Juan Luna
Juan Luna
Juan Luna y Novicio was an Ilocano Filipino painter, sculptor and a political activist of the Philippine Revolution during the late 19th century...

. He painted the altar of the San Sebastian Church
San Sebastian Church
The Basilica Minore de San Sebastián, better known as San Sebastián Church, is a Roman Catholic minor basilica in Manila, the Philippines. It is the seat of the Parish of San Sebastian and the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel....

 in Quiapo, Manila
Quiapo, Manila
Quiapo is a district and city square of Manila. Referred as the "Old Downtown", Quiapo in known for where cheap buys or goods are being sold at rock-bottom prices and was the home of the Quiapo Church, where the feast for the Black Nazarene is held, with over millions of people attending...

. León Jorge was the uncle of poet-politician, Fernándo María Guerrero, who won a seat at the Philippine Assembly in 1907. He is the grandfather of diplomat León María Guerrero III
León María Guerrero III
León María Ignacio Agapito Guerrero y Francisco , better known simply as Leon Ma. Guerrero III, was a Filipino diplomat and novelist, and was one of the foremost Filipino nationalists of his era. A partner in the law practice of senator Claro M. Recto, he became Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs...

 (his namesake) and pre-eminent writer Carmen Guerrero Nakpil
Carmen Guerrero Nakpil
Carmen Guerrero Nakpil is a Filipino writer and historian.She came from a literary family, which includes her brother, the diplomat and novelist León María Guerrero III, uncles Fernando María Guerrero and Manuel Guerrero who were poets and essayists, and cousin Wilfrido María Guerrero, who was a...


Being a scion of one of the most prominent families of Manila during the last years of Spanish colonial period, he was among the first students of the Ateneo de Manila University
Ateneo de Manila University
The Ateneo de Manila University is a private teaching and research university run by the Society of Jesus in the Philippines. It began in 1859 when the City of Manila handed control of the Escuela Municipal de Manila in Intramuros, Manila, to the Jesuits...

 when it was founded in 1859 and known as the Ateneo Municipal de Manila. After completing his primary and secondary education, he enrolled at the University of Santo Tomas
University of Santo Tomas
The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, The Catholic University of the Philippines , is a private Roman Catholic university run by the Order of Preachers in Manila. Founded on April 28, 1611 by archbishop of Manila Miguel de Benavides, it has the oldest extant university charter in the...

, where he graduated in 1875 with a degree Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy
Pharmacy is the health profession that links the health sciences with the chemical sciences and it is charged with ensuring the safe and effective use of pharmaceutical drugs...

, specializing in Botany
Botany, plant science, or plant biology is a branch of biology that involves the scientific study of plant life. Traditionally, botany also included the study of fungi, algae and viruses...

 and Zoology
Zoology |zoölogy]]), is the branch of biology that relates to the animal kingdom, including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct...

. The following year, he was licensed to practice Pharmacy.

Guerrero was appointed head of the military pharmacy in Zamboanga City
Zamboanga City
The City of Zamboanga : is a highly urbanized, independent and a chartered city located in Mindanao, Philippines....

, Zamboanga del Sur
Zamboanga del Sur
Zamboanga del Sur is a province of the Philippines located in the Zamboanga Peninsula region in Mindanao. Pagadian City is the capital...

 and at the marine hospital in Kawit, Cavite
Cavite is a province of the Philippines located on the southern shores of Manila Bay in the CALABARZON region in Luzon, just 30 kilometers south of Manila. Cavite is surrounded by Laguna to the east, Metro Manila to the northeast, and Batangas to the south...

. Later, he would manage the popular Binondo Pharmacy in Manila.

His scientific curiosity led him to study the therapeutic uses of Philippine plants, from which he extracted pharmacological ingredients.

Pharmacological botanist

In 1889, he was appointed member of the council of health of the Manila City Council and was enrolled as a member of the Sociedad Española de Historia Natural. He was also invited to be an auditor and associate of the La Revista Internacional de Farmacografia.

His accomplishments also earned him an appointment as chemical expert of the Audiencia Real, the supreme court during the Spanish colonial period.

He also pursued special studies in ornithology
Ornithology is a branch of zoology that concerns the study of birds. Several aspects of ornithology differ from related disciplines, due partly to the high visibility and the aesthetic appeal of birds...

 and lepidopterology, securing him a position as zoologist in the forestry bureau of the Spanish colonial government.

Revolutionary leader

Despite his links to the colonial bureaucracy, Guerrero openly joined the independence struggle when the Philippine Revolution
Philippine Revolution
The Philippine Revolution , called the "Tagalog War" by the Spanish, was an armed military conflict between the people of the Philippines and the Spanish colonial authorities which resulted in the secession of the Philippine Islands from the Spanish Empire.The Philippine Revolution began in August...

 of 1896 broke out.

He was named professor of Pharmacy of the Universidad Literaria de Filipinas, which was founded by the Philippine Revolutionary Government on October 19, 1898. He was a member of the Malolos Congress
Malolos Congress
-Further reading:*Philippine House of Representatives Congressional Library...

 and the Malolos Constitution
Malolos Constitution
The Malolos Constitution was enacted on January 20, 1899 by the Philippine Malolos Congress, and established the First Philippine Republic. The original was written in Spanish, which became the first official language of the Philippines....

. This gave birth to the First Philippine Republic
First Philippine Republic
The Philippine Republic , more commonly known as the First Philippine Republic or the Malolos Republic was a short-lived insurgent revolutionary government in the Philippines...


While serving as professor at the literary university which was then based in Bulacan
Bulacan , officially called the Province of Bulacan or simply Bulacan Province, is a first class province of the Republic of the Philippines located in the Central Luzon Region in the island of Luzon, north of Manila , and part of the Metro...

 and Tarlac
Tarlac is a landlocked province of the Philippines located in the Luzon Island. Its capital is Tarlac City. Tarlac borders Pampanga to the south, Nueva Ecija to the east, Pangasinan to the north, and Zambales to the west...

 provinces, he also contributed to La Independencia, the official organ of the revolutionary movement, edited by revolutionary general [Antonio Luna].

When President Emilio Aguinaldo
Emilio Aguinaldo
Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy was a Filipino general, politician, and independence leader. He played an instrumental role during the Philippines' revolution against Spain, and the subsequent Philippine-American War or War of Philippine Independence that resisted American occupation...

 formed his cabinet in 1899, he named Guerrero secretary of agriculture, industry and commerce.


After the collapse of the First Philippine Republic, Guerrero returned to Manila. He was among the former revolutionists who founded the Asociacion de Paz to re-establish peace in the country. He was among the founders of the Partido Democrata (Democratic Party) which advocated absolute Philippine independence from the United States, but through peaceful means.

He was among those who founded the Liceo de Manila and became its president until May 1903. He became chairman of the board of the Pharmaceutical Union and member of the American Pharmaceutical Society.

In 1907, he was elected delegate to the First Philippine Assembly and named president of the committee on public instruction which entitled him to a seat in the board of regents of the University of the Philippines
University of the Philippines
The ' is the national university of the Philippines. Founded in 1908 through Act No...

, which would be established the following year.


After his stint in national politics, Guerrero returned to teaching and became dean of the college of pharmacy of the University of Santo Tomas. He also served as assistant director of the Bureau of Census and an official of the Bureau of Science.

Some of his important works are Notas Preliminares Sobre Las Materiales Colorantes Vegetales de Filipinas, Drogas Vegetales de Filipinas, Medicinal Plants of the Philippine Islands and Medicinal Uses of Philippine Plants.


In recognition of his work in botany, taxonomists named a genus of plants, Guerreroia monocephala, and a species of orchids, Dendrobium guerreroi, in his honor.

In 1921, the University of the Philippines conferred on Guerrero a degree of Doctor of Science honoris causa.

Guerrero died on April 13, 1935 at the age of 82. He was survived by his wife Aurora Domínguez, and sons, Cesar María and Alfredo Leon Maria, a physician.

Guerrero's daughter-in-law, and Alfredo's wife, Filomena Francisco, was his pupil, and became the first female pharmacist of the Philippines.
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