Domagoso is the only child of Joaquin Domagoso (a stevedore at Manila's North Harbor) and Rosario Moreno (from Allen, Northern Samar). Being out of wedlock, he and his mother were often neglected financially. Because of their plight, his mother taught him to be resourceful and fend for themselves amidst the tough, lower-class Tondo neighborhood. He found alternative sources of income at the age of 10 by pushing a cart and go house-to-house to gather old newspapers and used bottles then reselling them at a local junk dealer. He also rummaged through restaurant garbage bins for leftover food, which his mother would re-cook for dinner.
Domagoso was inspired to pursue public service through his humble beginnings. He ran for office despite only graduating from high school and eventually served three consecutive terms (or nine years) as a councilor for Manila's first congressional district. He admitted having difficulty expressing himself in English during sessions which would make him a laughing stock among his political rivals. This mockery challenged him to take a crash course in Local Legislation and Local Finance at University of the Philippines. He then studied Public Administration in Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (University of the City of Manila) while fulfilling his alderman duties.
During his campaign for Manila's vice mayor in 2007, posters of Domagoso wearing only a speedo—depicting his softcore past—were distributed in the city. He cried foul over what he called a "black propaganda", but did not pursue any charges. Domagoso eventually won the elections, beating the closest rival by about 80,000 votes.
Domagoso also serves as vice chairman of Manila Historical and Heritage Commission and studies as a law student in Arellano University.
STRIVE EVEN HARDER, MORENO TELLS AGUINALDO STUDENTS
Acting Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso urged the graduates of the Emilio Aguinaldo College to “strive even harder for success” even if they have already completed their college education.
At the commencement exercise of E. Aguinaldo College held at the Philippine International Convention Center, Moreno praised the graduates for their fastidiousness and perseverance in completing their academic course as he enjoined them to exert even more effort at becoming responsible citizens of the future.
He stressed that education is the “primary tool for success because it brings knowledge and insights on how opportunities can be recognized and utilized as an integral part of progress and development.”
PRESS RELEASE NO.1 MEDIA BUREAU
May 1, 2008 527-0895; 5274977