Federico Calero

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Federico Calero y Ortiz (? -1902) was a peninsular who became known as the classmate of national hero Jose Rizal in Madrid, Spain. He was the father of famous Hispano-Filipino realtor Federico Calero, Jr.. The elder Calero was popularly known as Don Pipo.

Early Life

Federico's parents were Federico Calero y Casado and Carmen Ortiz y Nuñez, both natives of Spain. As a young man, Federico took up medicine in the early 1860s at the Universidad Central de Madrid, becoming a close friend and classmate of Jose Rizal. He never finished his course. Instead he pursued business in the booming Philippine colony, after emigrating from Spain. He became an expert in dyes, developing the cultivation of indigo as a Philippine export commodity.

He exhibited indigo samples at both the 1887 Philippine Exposition (also known as the Exposicion de Filipinas) in Madrid and in the Universal Exposition of Barcelona in 1888. He became the official supplier of indigos for Spanish colonial uniforms. He also diversified into other businesses, becoming a furniture maker and jewelry dealer.

Even though he became a businessman, Federico supported the Philippine Propaganda Movement, eagerly keeping abreast of the Filipino campaign reform efforts. He built a substantial library, even collecting the anti-reform books and periodicals of the movement's archenemy Wenceslao Retana.

In Jose Rizal's correspondence with Santiago Carrillo of 26 January 1883 mentioned him as one of the friends who lent money to Rizal's circle of friends.

Family Life

Federico married Blanca de Mendicuti y Quieles and they sired a huge brood of ten children. Due to health problems, their children died one after another, causing heartbreak in the family. Among their surviving children were the eldest Federico Calero, Jr., who would become one of the most celebrated realtors in the Philippines, and Antonio Calero, the father of Jaime Calero. On the birth of their tenth child, Federico fell ill to dysentery, retreating to Spain for medical treatment. Although he recovered from sickness, he caught pneumonia and died alone in Spain on August 21, 1902.

Don Pipo's present day descendants are the Hispano-Filipino clans of Sanchez, Vazquez-Prada, Garcia, and Fernandez-Cuervo.


  • Calero, Ana Mari S. Three Continents. Manila: De la Salle University Press, 2001., p. 17-18.

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