SONA Trivia

(Eagle News) – Here are some interesting facts about the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in the Philippines (trivia and infographics courtesy


  • First SONA: The first SONA was delivered during a special session of the National Assembly on November 25, 1935. It was the only SONA delivered before a special session of the Legislature.   This was delivered by President Manuel Quezon to the First National Asembly on National Defense.
  • Historically, SONAs have been delivered on the months of January and July: 31 SONAs were delivered in January; 36 SONAs were delivered in July.
  • SONAs under different Constitutions: 35 SONAs have been delivered under the 1935 Constitution, 13 under the 1973 Constitution, and 29 under the 1987 Constitution.
  • SONAs without Congress: President Ferdinand Marcos was the only President who did not deliver SONAs in front of Congress. He did this in 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, and 1977.
  • Most SONAs: The president who delivered the most SONAs was Ferdinand E. Marcos, who held power from December 30, 1965 to February 26, 1986. He delivered 20 SONAs.
  • Fewest SONAs: The president who delivered the least SONAs was Sergio Osmeña, who delivered only one upon the restoration of the Philippine Commonwealth in 1945.
  • Longest SONA: The longest SONA according to word count was the one delivered by President Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1969. The SONA had 29,335 words.
  • Shortest SONA: The shortest SONA according to word count was the one delivered by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2005, which had 1,551 words.
  • The only SONA via Radio:  President Elpidio Quirino was the only president who delivered a SONA via a radio broadcast, which was aired live in Congress while in session. At the time, he was confined at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the United States. It was also the first SONA where the President did not appear personally in Congress.
  • The only SONA delivered entirely in Filipino: President Benigno S. Aquino III was the only president to deliver his SONA entirely in Filipino, having had his first SONA on July 26, 2010. Past presidents have either delivered entirely in English or included some portions in the vernacular, starting with President Manuel L. Quezon, who used the single Tagalog word “kasamas” in the  1936 SONA —the address wherein he proposed the creation of Filipino, the national language.
  • The first SONA translated to English in real time: On July 25, 2011, during the second SONA of President Benigno S. Aquino III, an English translation of the address was delivered in real time for the benefit of the Diplomatic Corps. Thus, on his second year in office, President Benigno S. Aquino III has introduced two new innovations in the SONA tradition: the delivery of the address purely in Filipino and real-time translation.
  • Two Presidents who did not deliver SONAs: Two presidents did not deliver SONAs because the constitutions during their time made no provision nor requirement for a report to Congress: Aguinaldo and Laurel.
  • Years without SONAs: From 1942 to 1944, the years of the Japanese Occupation, there were no SONAs delivered. In 1986, upon her ascension to the Presidency, Corazon C. Aquino did not deliver a SONA, making it the only year since 1944 wherein a SONA did not take place. However, on June 4, 1986, she delivered a speech in Malacañan Palace in form of a panel discussion to mark her first 100 days in office.

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