ARCEO, Ferdinand M.

From Bantayog ng mga Bayani (

From Bantayog ng mga Bayani (

Known among his Ateneo peers as a "Man of the World," Ferdinand Arceo adopted a hippie lifestyle in college, while dabbling in literature and student politics. His many talents brought him many awards from his elementary school days all the way through college.

In college, he gravitated toward the student activist movement, becoming one of the organizers behind the reform-oriented National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP). He grew disillusioned with the NUSP's position that President Ferdinand Marcos could have a "change of heart" through dialogue with students. Ferdie Arceo rejected this view, convinced that Marcos was scheming to impose a dictatorship.

Ferdie and several like‑minded students in Ateneo de Manila then founded the Liga ng mga Demokratikong Atenista, aimed at raising the political consciousness of Ateneo students and other youths outside the campus by engaging them in discussion groups, and inviting them to teach‑ins and eventually, joining the “parliament of the streets," demonstrations and protest marches.

When martial law was imposed in 1972, Ferdie was in his final semester in college, but he chose to join the underground opposition. He chose to live and work in Panay island, organizing peasants in the countryside in order to broaden the movement to oppose martial law.

Exactly eight months after he left home, on July 29, 1973, Ferdie and a companion were walking along a beach in San Joaquin, Iloilo when they were mercilessly gunned down by policemen. They were strangers, and the local police thought they were likely targets in the regime’s all‑out campaign against the “subversives" in Panay.

Ferdie was 21 years old.

January 18, 1952
Place of Birth: 
Quezon City
July 29, 1973
Place of Death: 
San Joaquin, Iloilo