Ferdinand Marcos was born on September 11, 1917 in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte, the eldest among the three children ofMariano Marcos, a lawyer and an Assemblyman of Ilocos Norte and Josefa Quetulio Edralin, a teacher. Named by his parents after King Ferdinand of Spain, he was baptized as an Aglipayan by Bishop Gregorio Aglipay himself. He was of mixed Ilocano (Filipino ethnic group), Chinese and Japanese ancestry. He started his primary education in Sarrat Central School, transferred to Shamrock Elementary School (Laoag), and completed his primary education in 1929 at the Ermita Elementary School (Manila) when his father was elected as an Assemblyman in the Philippine Congress. He entered and finished his secondary education at the University of the Philippines High School from 1929 to 1933.
From 1933 to 1936, he enrolled in a Liberal Arts course at the University of the Philippines. During his college years, Ferdinand was a champion debater, boxer, swimmer, wrestler and team captain of the University Rifle and Pistol Team (UP-RPT). After having been a battalion commander with the rank of cadet major, he was commissioned as third lieutenant in the Philippine Constabulary Reserve in 1937.