Born in Arevalo, Iloilo on May 24, 1842 to the couple Rufo Figueroa and Gabriela Magbanua, Melecio, who from a young age as a child shows an extraordinary skills in art, was chosen as one of the two pensionado of the Spanish government that were sent to other countries for further apprenticeship.
It was written in the records that in 1871, Melecio Figueroa went to Madrid as a scholar of the ayuntamiento. He enrolled at the Academia Superior de Bellas Artes. He always won medals for modeling or carving about nature and he also earned excellent mark or grade in his full knowledge of anatomy.
Due to this display of exceptional expertise, he was sent by the Academy to other schools in Europe. He landed in Rome, the center of artistic movement during that time.
In Rome, he was appointed to do the bust of a prince - D'Odelikaski and because his creation is extremely good - this image of Figueroa was included in "Who's Who" by Artistico-Circulo Internacional de Roma.
In 1875, during an exposition in Barcelona, he received another medal for his entry and the inscription inscribed was: "En el mundo, DEL ARTE, ES YA POPULAR LA FAMA DE FIGUEROA."
As a patriot and nationalist, he was always invited by the group of Filipino Propaganda Movement in Madrid to help them express their ideas. In his speeches, Graciano Lopez-Jaena of La Solidaridad and Liga Filipina devoted an excessive honor to the genius and patriotism of Figueroa. Figueroa was also busy in the movement of Hispano-Filipino Circulo in Madrid.
In 1878 in recognition for his unmatched skills, he received a scholarship and pension from the child of a Spanish philanthropist.
In 1893 when he was tasked upon the responsibility as chief engraver of the National Treasury.
In 1895, his entry in Exposicion Regional de Filipinas has earned widespread admiration of the people that led for him being asked to be the designer of Filipino coins.
When the Americans ruled the country at the turn of the century, Figueroa was recalled and asked to design and engrave the silver coins of the Philippine currency.
At that moment he found inspiration by looking at his daughter Blanca. The coins were first minted in 1903. A month after the coins were released in circulation, Figueroa died. He passed away on July 30, 1903.