Carlos Quirino on a 2010 stamp of the Philippines
Carlos Quirino on a 2010 stamp of the Philippines

Carlos Lozada Quirino (14 January 1910 – 20 May 1999) was a Philippine biographer and historian. Not only known for his works on biographies and history but also on varied subjects such as the old maps of the Philippines and also the culinary legacy of the country.[1]


Carlos Quirino is a nephew of Philippine president Elpidio Quirino.[2] He is a famous Filipino historian and biographer at his time, receiving his journalism degree in 1931 from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.[3] Known for his early biography of Jose Rizal entitled "The Great Malayan" (1940),[1][3] he also wrote several works in relation with the Philippine history and biographies of President Manuel Quezon and the painter Damian Domingo.[2]

Quirino joined the Philippine Army and became second lieutenant before the outbreak of World War II. During the Japanese occupation, he was forced to join the Bataan Death March but escaped and joined the underground resistance.[3]

Under President Diosdado Macapagal, Quirino became director of the National Library. He was also became the first director of the Ayala Museum in 1970 due to his historical expertise.[3][4]

In 1997 he was recognised as a National Artist of the Philippines for Historical Literature.[2][5]

Writing Style

Quirino's style of writing took a liberal approach of putting narrative and storytelling in his biographies. His biography of Rizal is a good example of his playful writing, as it is evident that he transformed the thoughts of Rizal and other relevant individuals, occasionally breaking them into direct conversations.[6]



  1. ^ a b Ganzon, Arch. Carlo Luis (2017). Journey: Contemporary Arts of the Philippines. Phoenix Publishing House Inc. pp. 85–86. ISBN 978-971-06-4330-1.
  2. ^ a b c "National Artist Carlos Quirino celebrates birth centennial". 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-27.
  3. ^ a b c d "Pen, Paper, and Bookmaking: The Life of Carlos Quirino – Yuchengco Museum". Retrieved 2022-11-14.
  4. ^ "Human drama, historical dioramas". Retrieved 2022-11-14.
  5. ^ "Did You Know: 110th birth anniversary of Carlos Quirino". Retrieved 2022-11-14.
  6. ^ Sicat, Gerardo P. "Rizal biographies by Filipino authors". Retrieved 2022-11-15.