Jesus was born to Ignacio Villamor, the first Filipino president of the University of the Philippines, in Abra. He finished his grade school and high school education at his hometown and took up a business course at what was then De La Salle College.
He joined the Philippine Army Corps in 1936, where he stood out and was selected for advanced flight training in the United States. In 1937, he graduated from the U. S. Air Corps Flying School at Rudolph and Kelly Filed, Texas and from the U. S. Air Force Technical School in Denver, Colorado in 1938.
Villamor returned to the Philippines to become director of the Philippine Air Corps Flying School, and when World War II broke out, was chosen to lead the 6th Pursuit Squadron as Colonel. Onboard a P-26 Fighter, Jesus and his squadron engaged in fight after fight with the Japanese in the skies of Zablan and Batangas, only the weapons of the Japanese overpowered those of the Filipinos.
On December 27, 1942, Jesus established communication with Gen. Douglas MacArthur and planned his return to the Visayas. He coordinated the guerilla activities in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, and was the “clearing house” of all the information that was key to the Philippines’ liberation.
He was appointed as director of the Bureau of Aeronautics and assisted in the planning of the Manila International Airport, where he served as director when it was finished.
Awards he has received in his lifetime include the Medal of Valor, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Legion of Merit, and numerous other decorations from the U. S. and Philippine governments for his service in the war.