Worth revisiting: Old report debunking myths about Filipinos inventions

May 23, 2022 - 9:31 PM
Composite photo of yoyos and a fluorescent lighting via Unsplash

An old report about stories on Filipino inventions that turned out to be myths recently resurfaced online.

Esquire Philippines recently shared again its report titled “Filipino Invention Myths We Totally Fell For” which was published in June 2019.

The article listed and explained three widely popular stories about supposed Filipino inventions that were even taught in schools.

Further research about them, however, debunked them as fake claims.

Below are these inventions and an overview of the truth behind their myths:

Fluorescent lamp

Myth: It was invented by a Filipino electrician named Agapito Flores in 1935, hence, the name.

Fact: The fluorescent lamp known today was invented by and co-patented by Edmund Germer, Friedrich Meyer and Hans Spanner in 1927.

The name of the lamp also came from the scientific word “fluorescence,” a form of lighting observed as far back as the 16th century.

Moon Buggy

Myth: The Lunar Roving Vehicle that NASA used for its Apollo missions from 1971 to 1972 was invented by a Filipino engineer named Eduardo San Juan.

Fact: San Juan submitted a lunar transport vehicle design to NASA. However, it was rejected.


Myth: A Filipino inventor named Armando Malite invented the M16 or the armalite during World War II, hence the name.

Fact: ArmaLite is the name of a small arms or weapons manufacturer that produced rifles in 1954. It was closed in 1980 and then revived in 1996.

It produced the AR-15 rifle that was licensed to another manufacturer called “Colt.”

In 1964, it was designated as Rifle, Caliber 5.56 mm, M-16.


Myth: The toy is a pre-colonial weapon used by our ancestors.

Fact: According to the Museum of Yoyo History, yoyos only appeared in the Philippines during the American occupation.

‘We have been lied to’

Dominic Ligot, founder of Data Ethics PH and board member of the Philippine Center of Investigative Journalism, shared this article with this quip on his tweet:

“My childhood was a lie,” Ligot said.

Statistician Peter Cayton later quote-retweeted this with a more scathing view: “We have been lied to by the Philippine education system.”

Several Facebook users, meanwhile, shared their realizations that Filipinos readily consumed unverified information even back then.

“Even our teachers fell for this disinformation or tabloid..so they taught them to us,” one user said.

“Sa mga textbooks dati, may mga ganyan,” another user commented.

“Kaya naman pala, hilig talaga ng Pinoy sa fake news dati pa, mas malala lang ngayon dahil sa social media,” another user shared.

Others also mentioned the myth about the Tallano gold as among the stories Filipinos continue to fall for.

“Wala paring tatalo sa sa Tallano gold 600,000 metric tons,” one user said.

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