Federico Faura y Prat, SJ
THE PHILIPPINES, the feast of St. Ignatius, July 31, 1981
the 4th centenary of the Jesuits in the Philippines, Scott 1535
Father Federico Faura, the founder of the Manila Observatory, was born December 30, 1840 in Artes (Barcelona), Spain, entered the Society of Jesus on October 16, 1859, and died on January 23, 1897 in Manila. He belonged to the Spanish Province of Aragon and was assigned to the Philippines. In response to the need for advance warnings against typhoons, the Jesuits acquired in 1869 Angelo Secchi's recent invention, the universal meteorograph. Faura, not yet ordained, was put in charge of the Observatory. His success in predicting typhoons the following year established the reputation of the Observatory. People in the Philippines and the Far East came to depend upon its service. Faura's monthly Boletin del Observatorio de Manila was in much demand. The Observatory became so important that the Spanish government designated it an official institution and secondary stations were set up throughout Luzon. The aneroid barometer, designed by Faura for use in the Philippines and the most accurate weather gauge in the area, became a household article. The Observatory went on to establish a time service, make seismological observations, publish a seismological bulletin, and eventually undertake astronomical studies. After his death the street nearest the observatory was named after him.