Modes of Acquiring Ownership


What are the modes of acquiring ownership?

  1. Public Grant is the administrative method of acquiring public lands, such as homestead settlement, free patent and sales patent.
  1. Private Grant is the voluntary transfer or conveyance of privately owned property by an owner, such as by sale or donation. It is the transfer of title to land by the owner himself or his duly authorized representative to another by mutual consent. The Consent of the grantor is an essential element.
  1. Voluntary Transfer of Private Grant is the process by which a land is transferred with the consent and conformity of the owner such as by sale or donation.
  1. Involuntary Alienation or Involuntary Grant is the process by which a land is taken against the consent of the owner, such as expropriation proceedings, execution of judgment, tax sales and foreclosure. This method of transfer does not require the consent or cooperation of the owner of the land, since this is usually carried out against his will.
  1. Descent or Devise (Descent) is acquired by virtue of inheritance, which requires a degree of relationship. (Devised) In devise, succession need not be in favor of a relative. Title to the property is transferred by way of will executed by the Testator. Title by descent may be acquired by virtue of hereditary succession to the estate of a deceased owner. To be an heir, it requires certain degree or relationship with the decedent. In the case of devise, however, succession need not be in favor of a relative. Even a stranger may acquire title by devise if appropriate disposition has been made in his favor by the testator in the latter’s will.
  1. Reclamation is the filling of submerged land by deliberate act of the Government. In the Philippines, there exists no such grant, express or implied, to private landowners. It is only the government that can assert title to reclaimed land.However,the government may declare it property of the adjoining owners and as an increment thereto only when it is no longer necessary for public use.
  1. Accretion is the process by which a riparian land gradually and imperceptively receives addition made by the water to which the land is contiguous. However, this law cannot be invoked for application to cases where the accretion is caused by action of the bay which is a part of the sea, since such alluvial formation along the seashore is part of the public domain and, therefore, not open to acquisition by adverse possession by private persons.
Art. 457. To the owners of lands adjoining the banks of rivers belong the accretion which they gradually receive from the effects of the current of the waters. (336)
  1. Prescription is when one acquires ownership and other real rights through the lapse of time in the manner and under the conditions laid down by law. It is a mode of acquisition of title through continuous, open, adverse possession in the concept of an owner for the period fixed by law.(as discussed in this article )

What is the application of prescription concerning properties of public dominion and patrimonial property?

  1. Public dominion cannot be acquired by prescription, even by city or municipality
  2. Patrimonial property of the State may be the subject of acquisition through prescription
  3. Public lands become patrimonial property upon express government manifestation that the property is already patrimonial and declaration that these are already alienable and disposable.
  4. And only when the property has become patrimonial can the prescriptive period for the acquisition of property of the public domain begin to run.



Peña, N. (1966). Registration of Land Titles and Deeds. Quezon City: Central Lawbook Publishing Co., Inc.

Jurado, D. (1999). Civil Law Reviewer. Quezon City: Rex Printing Company, Inc.

The New Civil Code of the Philippines

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