Filipino ilustrados who served in the First Philippine Republic established in Malolos, Bulacan in January 1899 had split into two factions: between those who, like Pardo de Tavera, Cayetano Arellano, Pedro Paterno and Felipe Buencamino believed in the intermediate restoration of peace and civil order under a benevolent American rule, and those who, like Apolinario Mabini, Paciano Rizal, Artemio Ricarte and Pablo Ocampo were called the "intransigents" and believed in continuing the struggle for "immediate and complete independence" even under American occupation.
The Partido Nacionalista or Nacionalista Party, was the result of the union between the two camps: the Partido Independista and the Partido Union Nacionalista. Among the leaders in the unification work were Galicano Apacible, Franciso Liongson, Teodoro Sandico and Alberto Barretto.
The party began as the country's vehicle for independence, through the building of a modern nation-state, and through the advocacy of efficient self rule, dominating the Philippine Assembly (1907–1916), the Philippine Legislature (1916–1935) and the pre-war years of the Commonwealth of the Philippines (1935–1941).
During the Japanese Occupation political parties were replaced by the KALIBAPI. By the second half of the century the party was one of the main political contenders for leadership in the country, in competition with the Liberals and the Progressives, during the decades between the devastation of World War II and the violent suppression of partisan politics of the Marcos dictatorship.
In 1978, in a throwback to the Japanese Occupation, political parties were asked to merge into the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, although the Nacionalistas preferred to go into hibernation. Eventually, the party was revived during the late 1980s and early 1990s by the Laurel family, which has dominated the Party since the 1950s. It is now being reborn by the likes of Sen. Ralph Recto, and party president Sen. Manuel Villar. Two of the other present parties, the Liberal Party and the Nationalist People's Coalition are breakaways from the Nacionalista Party.
The Nacionalista Party is also known as the NP. There are no results available of the last elections for the House of Representatives, but according to the website of the House, the party holds five out of 235 seats (state of the parties, June 2005). The party was, at the 2004 elections a member of the Koalisyon ng Katapatan at Karanasan sa Kinabukasan (K-4, Coalition of Truth and Experience for Tomorrow), the coalition that supported president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who won the 2004 presidential elections.
Throughout their careers, many of the country's greatest politicians, statesmen, and leaders were, in whole or in part, Nacionalistas. Notable names include:
- Manuel Briones
- Carlos P. Garcia
- Jose P. Laurel
- Salvador Laurel
- Fernando Lopez
- Ramon Magsaysay
- Cipriano Primicias, Sr.
- Emmanuel Pelaez
- Claro M. Recto
- Eulogio Rodriguez
- Elpidio Quirino
- Manuel Roxas
- Manuel L. Quezon
- Jose Palma
- Sergio Osmeña
- Ferdinand E. Marcos
Most of these individuals embody solid political traditions of economic and political nationalism are pertinent today, even with the party's subsequent decline.
Some members of the House of Representatives and Senate include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Manuel Villar (Senatorand Nacionalista president), Party Chairman
- Pia Cayetano (Senator)
- Miriam Defensor Santiago (Senator)
- Antonio Trillanes IV (Senator)
- Justin Marc Chipeco, (Representative from Laguna)
- Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, (Governor of North Cotabato)
- Jose "Pingping" Tejada, (Representative from North Cotabato)
- Yevgyeny Vicente Emano, (Representative from Misamis Oriental)
- Cynthia Villar, (former Representative from Las Piñas City)
- Alan Peter Cayetano, (Senator from Metro Manila)
- Lani Cayetano, (former Representative from Taguig City and Mayor of Taguig City)
- Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., (former Representative from Ilocos Norte and current Senator)
- Imelda Marcos, (former First Lady of the Philippines, Ilocos Norte Representative member of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan but caucuses with the NP.)
- Imee Marcos, (former Ilocos Norte Representative and Governor of Ilocos Norte)
- Rommel Jalosjos, (Governor of Zamboanga Sibugay)
- Juanito Victor C. Remulla (Governor of Cavite, also a member of Lakas-CMD)
- Elias K. Bulut, Sr., (former Representative and Governor from Apayao and Mayor of Calanasan, Apayao)
- Wenceslao "Peewee" B. Trinidad, (Former Pasay City Mayor)
- Homer T. Saquilayan (Former Mayor of Imus, Cavite)
The Nationalista Party in the Philippines corresponds somewhat to the Republican Party in the United States. It belongs to the conservative wing of Philippine politics, while its main opponent, the Liberal Party and the political parties belonging to the aggrupation of the People's Power government all belong to the liberal wing of Philippine politics somewhat corresponding to the Democratic Party in the United States.
- Nacionalista Party History (Accessed on May 12, 2009)
- About the Nacionalista Party(Accessed on May 12, 2009)
- Nacionalista Leaders Profiles(Accessed on May 12, 2009)