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Leonardo N. Mercado, Filipino Philosopher (1935-2020)


His family resided at 76 Pelaez St., before they moved to Manila as transients, then finally to a permanent residence at Quezon City, after three important events happened in his family: after Manuel Mercado died on November 20, 1945; when Engracia gained employment as a nurse at Philippine Tuberculosis Society in Pasay City, and after Leonardo Mercado graduated from High school in 1952.


His Elementary and High School education was spent at Cebu City, interrupted by the events of World War II. The peace of the pre-war years made him remember his kindergarten years in a protestant school established in a huge ground with a lot of mango trees. His elementary days started during the Japanese Occupation, at parochial school named Santo Rosario ran by the RVM Sisters. After the war Leonardo resumed elementary studies as grade IV pupil at Saint Theresa’s College. He transferred to Cebu Normal School when he reached grade V, finishing high school in the same school.

In Manila, they rented an apartment at Paco district. Leonardo Mercado enrolled as a Mechanical Engineering student at Mapua Institute of Technology, while Lito, Rene and Marita enrolled at Paco Catholic School. A series of events, however, led him to Christ the King Seminary in 1954, which ushered his entrance into the religious and priestly life. He was ordained in Rome in 1964.

Edgardo B. Garnace



Books by Leonardo N. Mercado:

Legal philosophy: Western, Eastern, and Filipino (1984)

Elements of Filipino philosophy (1976)

El Shaddai: A study (2001)

Old cultures, renewed religions: The search for cultural identity in a changing world (2001)

The Filipino Mind (PHILIPPINE PHILOSOPHICAL STUDIES, NO 2) 1994 Link to google books 

Filipino thought (2000)

Christ in the Philippines (1982)

Elements of Filipino ethics (1978)

Applied Filipino philosophy (1977)

Filipino thought on man and society (1980)

My Brother, Lito published (2001) privately circulated

Series of informal interviews made with Fr. Mercado by E. Garnace (2013)




Author Citation Information:

Garnace, Edgardo, “Leonardo N. Mercado,” ODIP: The Online Dictionary of Intercultural Philosophy (2012), Thorsten Botz-Bornstein (ed.), URL = <>.

Leonardo N. Mercado gained his prominence as pioneer of Filipino philosophy when he published his book in 1974, entitled Elements of Filipino Philosophy. While in philosophical circles in the Philippines there is no agreement yet on what particular approach to philosophizing can claim legitimacy as the yardstick for one to be called a philosopher doing Filipino philosophy, Fr. Mercado claims that the only way for one to craft a Filipino philosophy is to approach it from the collective culture and behavior of the people.

Leonardo N. Mercado was born the eldest among four siblings, on March 16, 1935 at Cebu Maternity Hospital to Manuel Mejia Mercado of Cebu City, a dentist, and Engracia Jamin Nieva, a nurse from Marinduque who had chosen to serve at Cebu City. The other Mercado children are Manuel Jr. (nickname: Lito) who was born on April 26, 1937 (died: December 26, 2000 in Richmond, Virginia, USA), followed by Maria Theresa (nickname: Marita) on August 30, 1939, and the twins Rene and Annie (who succumbed to meningitis when she was three years old) on March 9, 1941. 

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