Rafael Zagala was born at Fort San Pedro in Iloilo City, on October 26, 1919, he is a full blooded Taaleño, his parents being both from Taal. His father retired Col. Ramon Zagala was formerly with the Dental Corps of the Philippine Army. His mother, Asuncion Garcia, followed the dentist wherever he was stationed, bringing up her children the army way.
On December 22, 1973, General Zagala was formally installed in the US Army Command general Staff College Allied Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed upon alumni of the College who have risen to the highest positions in their country’s Armed Forces. He became the 13 th Filipino to be so honored.
December 21, 1974, general Zagala was awarded by the President of the Philippines the Philippine Legion of Honor, Degree of commander, for his eminently meritorious and valuable service to the Republic. General Zagala is married to the former Cynthia Pascual of Norzagaray. They have six children.