Carlos P. Garcia was born in Talibon, Bohol on November 4, 1896, to Policronio Garcia and Ambrosia Polistico. He studied in Cebu Provincial High School and Silliman University then Philippine Law School and graduated in 1923. Garcia was famous for his poetry in Bohol where he earned the nickname Prince of Visayan Poets.
Garcia became a school teacher then a representative in the Philippine Congress in 1925. He was elected governor of Bohol in 1931 and re-elected 1940. Garcia became a senator in 1941. He was re-elected in 1945 and again in 1953. During the Japanese occupation, Garcia was an active member of the resistance. After the war, he was the one who missioned the Philippine Rehabilitation at War Damage claims in 1945 in the United States.
Garcia was elected as vice-president in 1953 and was appointed Secretary of Foreign Affairs under President Magsaysay. He assumed the presidency the day after Ramon Magsaysay's death. After Garcia finished Magsaysay's term, he was elected president in his own right. President Garcia is most remembered most for his Austerity Program and Filipino First Policy. His Austerity Program was aimed at curbing graft and corruption within the government. Although it was not very successful, it did help to restore trust between the people and the government.
The Filipino First Policy put the rights of Filipinos above those of foreigners. This favoured the Filipino businessmen in contrast to foreign investors. This meant foreigners could invest capital up to 40% in a business or industry while the remaining 60% would be owned by Filipino citizens. Garcia's policies aimed at boosting the economy and obtaining greater economic independence. Garcia also aimed at reviving old Filipino cultural traditions which might have become extinct as the result of the adoption of Spanish and American cultures through colonisation.