Leonidas Benesa was born on January 28, 1928 in Bangued, Abra. He finished elementary and high school in his home province, then obtained his BA in English at the Ateneo de Manila where he received the Joseph Mulry Award for his poem, “Deserts of God”. He taught in Ateneo first semester of 1952, after which he left on a scholarship grant for the University of California. In 1955 he received his MA from the Ateneo and was a teacher there until 1958, when he left for Laos as executive secretary of Operations Brotherhood. One of the founders of the International Association of Art Critics, he received the first prize in art criticism from the Art Association of the Philippines. He served as head of the Film Division, Bureau of Standards for Mass Media, and was managing editor of Archipelago , a publication of the Ministry of Public Information. He also wrote a column, “The Arts,” inWeekend , the Friday supplement of The Daily Express . He was commissioned by the National Museum to write A Brief History of the Modern Art Movement in the Philippines. He passed away in 1984.

His works include What Is Philippine About the Philippine Arts , a collection of his articles written from 1975-1981, published by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts in 2000.