Fr. Quintin Terrenal was born on October 31, 1921 in Tayum, Abra. In 1933, he entered the newly opened Christ the King Seminary in Quezon City as one of the first students. He was ordained in 1946, with the first group of ordinands after the Second World War.
His first assignment was in Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro where he was the assistant for one year. After that he was the assistant parish priest in Claveria, Cagayan for another year.
From 1948 to 1951 he was sent to Rome to study at the Gregoriana where he obtained a Doctorate in Sacred Theology. From 1952 to 1958 he was assigned at the Christ the King Seminary where he taught Philosophy. From 1958 to 1961 he was at the Archdiocesan Seminary in Vigan.
From 1961 to 1965 he was at the Sacred Heart Seminary in Palo, Leyte where he was the Vice Rector. In 1965 he returned to Vigan teaching theology until 1969 when he went to the USA and obtained a Doctorate in Philosophy.
Returning to the Philippines in 1974, he was assigned at the University of San Carlos where he was the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chair of the Department of Philosophy until 1989.
In 1989 he was assigned to the Divine Word College of Legazpi in Albay where he worked as assistant Campus Minister until he retired in 1994.
In his room at the Villa Cristo Rey retirement house, there is a sign that reads: “O si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses!” He explained it to mean that “it is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubts!” He used to swear by this adage and it showed the philosopher in him. He said that “I’ve been a hermit most of my life. While I was teaching philosophy, I just stayed in my room for hours, preparing seriously for my classes. If I hadn’t done that, my students would say I was just bluffing.”
When he was a teacher, he was called “Fr. Terrible”. With a keen and sapient mind, Fr. Terrenal had written several books such as “Jose Rizal: Lover of Truth and Justice; Santo Niño of Cebu’s envoy extraordinary; Erotic Behavior of Socrates in Plato; and Causa Sui and the object of Intuition in Spinoza.
He had published some articles for the Philippine Academy of Philosophical Research, Department of Philosophy of De La Salle University, and the Philosophical Association of Visayas and Mindanao (PHAVISMINDA) which he founded.
He was also a charter member of the very elite group of Filipino Philosophers organized as the Philippine Academy of Philosophical Research (PAPR). This exclusive group has very demanding requirements for membership and its main thrust is Research and Publication. In his stay at the Villa Cristo Rey, he lived a very quiet life. Hardly anybody notices that once upon a time, he was a known and distinguished academician, philosopher, and professor.
In July 2017 he was confined at the UST hospital for pneumonia. He survived that and his condition stabilized. On March 3, 2020, he was again rushed to the UST Hospital where he finally succumbed at 10:30 in the evening. He was 98 years old. The oldest living Filipino SVD finally went to his eternal reward.