Praxedes Julia Fernandez was a famous actress. Through her talents in drama and music, she made the Philippine better known in many countries.
Julia, the Young Actress
Today there are many well-known actresses. Through the movies and the television, people come to know great actresses and enjoy their good acting.
In 1871 there were yet no movies or television not even a radio. People acted and entertained the public on the stage of a theater. One of the early Filipino actresses was Praxedes Julia Fernandez.
She was born in Manila on July 21, 1871. Julia or Yeyeng, as she was better known, loved to sing when she was a child. She liked to pretend she was one of the people in stories that she read. She was seven years old when she joined a dramatic company, Compania Infantil, directed by Francisco Avellana.
Yeyeng was determined to become a great actress. She studied singing and dancing under good teachers. She danced very well the Spanish dances, such as the jota and the fandango. She performed these dances in carillas or public shows.
The Great Actress
When she was nineteen, Yeyeng was given important parts in long and difficult plays. She acted her parts well in La Viuda Alegre, La Mascota, La Cara de Dios, El Conde de Luxemburgo, Marina and Anillo de Hierro. She soon won the title of “Queen of the Drama.” A song for the army was named after her. It was called Yeyeng March.
Yeyeng Goes to Spain
In 1894, Julia married Ricardo Pastor Paredes, a professor in the Escuela de Artes y Oficios in Iloilo. Soon after her marriage, she went to Spain with her husband. She continued to sing and act in many places in Spain.
She won much praise in Spain. The newspapers praised her fine voice and her good acting. Later, she performed in other places, such as Macao and Hong Kong.
Everywhere she went, she became known as a great actress. In this way, she won fame not only for herself but also for her country. She died on August 22, 1919, of cholera, and her remains were interred at the La Loma cemetery in Manila.