Tomas Claudio

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Tomas Mateo Claudio (b. May 7,1892 - d. June 29,1918) a native of Morong, Rizal, was the first Filipino hero of World War I.

Early life and education

He was born on 7 May 1892 to Gregorio Claudio, a violinist who served as church registrar and secretary to the provincial governor, and Pelagia Mateo, a seamstress.

Even as a young boy, he already showed bravery and inclination for military service and adventure. He was known as quite stubborn but cheerful by his friends and classmates at the Morong Elementary School. At a military exercise held in school in 1907, private Claudio was declared the most outstanding captain of company A. He was immediately given the rank of battalion commander. His father died that same year.

He entered Pasig High School after completing his elementary education in 1909. However, he left not long after for Manila and enrolled at the Manila High School. A year later, he stopped studying to work as a guard at the Bureau of Prisons.


In 1911, he was dismissed from the bureau for sleeping on the job. He then journeyed to Hawaii where he worked in a sugar plantation. He continued sending back home some money for the needs of his mother and his siblings' schooling.

He left Hawaii for the United States mainland and worked briefly in California before moving to Alaska where he worked in the salmon canneries. He returned to the mainland and lived in Reno, Nevada. He then settled down in Sparks.

He decided to pursue studies in commerce at the Clark Healds Business College. He graduated in 1916 and accepted a clerkship at the City Post Office of Sparks.

When the United States joined the war to defend world democracy in 1917, Claudio decided to apply in the US Army but was denied twice. He was finally enlisted on 2 November 1917. He left for Europe on December 15 as a member of the 41st Division.

On 28 May 1918, he took part in the struggle of Cantigny against the Germans who were repulsed by the American forces. Claudio was severely wounded and his condition deteriorated rapidly. He passed away on 29 June 1918 at the age of 26. He was honored by France, America, and the Philippines for his heroism. His remains were transported to the Philippines. He was given the last rites and buried at the Manila North Cemetery in 1921.




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