Early Life and Education
Diosdado Macapagal was born on September 28, 1910 in Lubao, Pampanga, the second of four children in a poor family. His father, Urbano Macapagal, was a poet who wrote in the local Pampangan language, and his mother, Romana Pangan Macapagal, was a schoolteacher who taught catechism. He is a distant descendant of Don Juan Macapagal, a prince of Tondo, who was a great-grandson of the last reigning Rajah of Selurong, Rajah Lakandula. The family earned extra income by raising pigs and accommodating boarders in their home. Due to his roots in poverty, Macapagal would later become affectionately known as the "Poor boy from Lubao".
Macapagal excelled in his studies at local public schools, graduating valedictorian at Lubao Elementary School, and salutatorian at Pampanga High School. He finished his pre-law course at the University of the Philippines, then enrolled at Philippine Law School in 1932, studying on a scholarship and supporting himself with a part-time job as an accountant. While in law school, he gained prominence as an orator and debater. However, he was forced to quit schooling after two years due to poor health and a lack of money.
Returning to Pampanga, he joined boyhood friend Rogelio de la Rosa in producing and starring in Tagalog operettas patterned after classic Spanish zarzuelas. It was during this period that he married his friend's sister, Purita de la Rosa in 1938. He had two children with de la Rosa, Cielo and Arturo.
Macapagal raised enough money to continue his studies at the University of Santo Tomas. He also gained the assistance of philanthropist Honorio Ventura, the Secretary of the Interior at the time, who financed his education. After receiving his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1936, he was admitted to the bar, topping the 1936 bar examination with a score of 89.95%. He later returned to his alma mater to take up graduate studies and earn a Master of Laws degree in 1941, a Doctor of Civil Law degree in 1947, and a PhD in Economics in 1957.
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