Leonardo S. Sarao

Leonardo S. Sarao, Sr.
Born Leonardo Salvador Sarao
April 13, 1921
Died July 31, 2001(2001-07-31) (aged 80)
Cause of death Heart attack[1]
Residence Las Piñas, Metro Manila
Nationality Filipino
Other names Mang Nardo
Citizenship Filipino
Education Elementary education
Occupation Businessman and automotive designer
Years active 1953-2001
Organization Sarao Motors, Inc.
Known for Designing and popularizing the jeepney
Home town Imus, Cavite, Philippines
Parent(s) Zacarias Sarao and Maria Salvador[1]
Awards TOFIL Award in 1991 for Entrepreneurship

Leonardo Salvador Sarao, Sr. (April 13, 1921-July 31, 2001) was the founder and owner of the Sarao Motors, a company known for designing, manufacturing and selling the jeepney, the most popular mode of transportation in the Philippines. He is not the first person to alter the surplus jeeps left behind by the U.S. Army from World War II,[2] but he saw them as a business opportunity for mass transportation. He redesigned the surplus jeeps to increase its functionality by extending the body to accommodate at least twice the number of passengers and by putting some railings at the back and top for extra passengers to cling to, and for cargoes.[3] He revolutionized a burgeoning industry and changed the life of generations of Filipinos.[1]

Leonardo Sarao was awarded The Outstanding Filipino Award (TOFIL) in 1997 for Entrepreneurship. He started Sarao Motors from a borrowed PHP700. Though he only attained Grade 6 level of education because of poverty, he was able to make the company grow into a multimillion peso conglomerate. [4]

He was a relative of Leonides Sarao Virata, a respected and distinguished Filipino economist served as Secretary of Trade and Industry and Chairman of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) during Marcos regime.


  1. 1 2 3 Santos, Michelle D. "Great Leaders in Our Midst". The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) Award. Retrieved on 2013-04-26.
  2. Blueberry (2007-09-23)."Sarao Jeepney". Public Utility Vehicles. Retrieved on 2013-04-25.
  3. "Remarkable Philippine Jeepneys". Center for Philippine Studies, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Retrieved on 2013-04-26.
  4. "TOFIL Awardee - Leonardo S. Sarao". The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) Award. Retrieved on 2013-04-26.
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