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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Leading Filipino Women Table Of Reference

Name               Parents or Guardian        Dates of Birth & Death            Birthplace
Josefa Abiertas          Guillerma Aday                      1894
                                                                    December 25, 1922    Capiz, Capiz

Melchora Aquino        Juan Aquino                    January 7, 1811
                                  Valentina Hanule                 March 2, 1919   Caloocan, Rizal

Teodora Alonzo       Lorenzo Alberto Alonzo    November 15, 1827
                                    Brigida Quinto               August 23, 1911  Calamba, Laguna

Librada Avelino          Pedro Avelino                 January 17, 1873
                                  Francisca Mangali         November 9, 1934  Pandacan, Rizal

Maria Carpena         Camilo Carpena                January 13, 1887
                                   Maria Evangelista           March 14, 1915  Santa Rosa, Laguna

Marina Dizon                Jose Dizon                    July 18, 1876
                                  Roberta Bartolome        October 30, 1950  Trozo, Manila

Josefa Llanes Escoda         Gabriel Llanes                   September 20, 1898
                                   Mercedes Madamba      August, 1944     Dingras, Ilocos Norte

Praxedes Julia Fernandez                              July 21, 1871
                                                                   August 22, 1919           Manila

Leona Florentino     Don Marcelino Tolentino    April 19, 1849
                                    Isabel Florentino          October 4, 1884   Vigan, Ilocos Sur

Maria Josefa Gabriela     Don Tomas Millan    March 19, 1731
   Silang                                                      September 20, 1763   Santa, Ilocos Sur

Fausta Labrador          Policarpio Labrador     December 19, 1858
                                     Nemesia Zarzadias    September 14, 1942  Lucena, Quezon

Teresa Magbanua          Juan Magbanua           October 13, 1868
                                      Alejandria Ferariz          August 1947        Pototan, Iloilo

Pelagia Mendoza       Leoncio Mendoza              June 9, 1867
                                 Evarista Gotianking          March 13, 1939      Pateros, Rizal

Gregoria de Jesus-      Nicolas de Jesus            May 9, 1875
Nakpil                      Baltazara Alvarez-         March 15, 1943       Caloocan, Rizal

Maria Y. Orosa        Simplicio Agoncillo-       November 29, 1893
                                        Orosa                  February 13, 1945    Taal, Batangas
                                Juliana Ylagan

Aurora A. Quezon    Pablo Aragon             February 19, 1888
                               Zenaida Molina          April 28, 1949   Baler, Tayabas (now
                                                                                       Quezon Province)

Margarita Roxas     Domingo Roxas           July 20, 1815
                               Maria Ubado          November 1, 1869    San Miguel, Manila

Olivia Salamanca    Jose Salamanca          July 1, 1889
                                Olivia Diaz               July 19, 1913    San Roque, Manila

Trinidad Tecson     Rafael Tecson         November 18, 1848
                             Monica S. Perez      January 28, 1928      San Miguel, Bulacan

Maria Tinawin                                  September 2, 1895
                                                         April 22, 1948       Gapan, Nueva Ecija

Felicing Tirona                                  June 9, 1903
                                                        April 29, 1952          Imus, Cavite

Asuncion Ventura  Honorio Ventura            July 30, 1853
                            Horcoma Cornelia-   November 22, 1923  Bacolor, Pampanga

Sofia de Veyra      Santiago Reyes        September 30, 1876
                           Eulalia Tiaozon          January 1, 1958       Arevalo, Iloilo

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Agraciada A girl who works in a Catholic convent school for her board and lodging
Alcalde Mayor A Spanish official who held a position like that of a judge of the court of first instance.
Balintawak A place just outside of Manila where Bonifacio and his men started the revolution.
Capitan del Pueblo Captain of the town; a Spanish official whose position was like that of town mayor today.
Carillas Public shows, largely musical or puppet shows.
Cartilla A small pamphlet used for learning to read. It contains the alphabet and syllable of words.
Comparza Trozo. A group of musicians in Tondo. It was popular during the later part of the Spanish days. Trozo is that part of Manila now better known as Magdalena-Benavides section.
Compania Infantil A society that gave musical shows in various places
Counsellors Advisers.
Colegio Literally means college. A colegio is a school for girls and young boys. Many of the Catholic private schools are called colegios.
“Darak” Rice bran; broken coat of wheat, rice, or other cereal.
Death March The trip of the Filipino prisoners from Bataan to the prison camp at Capas
Diligent Hard-working; industrious
Enameling A covering of glass-like substance
Exiles Persons who are not allowed to live in their own country.
Guardia Civiles. Spanish soldiers.
Jesus’ Sacred Heart College A college in Lucena founded be Hermana Fausta Labrador
Insignias Emblem or badges on sleeves or collars showing rank or connection with some organization.
Jota A kind of dance
Katipunan A secret society founded by Bonifacio for the purpose of fighting against the Spanish government.
Kempeitai Japanese secret police
Maltreat To abuse cruelly.
Margarita Lopez Owner of a private school where Librada Avelino went
Marianas A group of islands in the Pacific. Tandang Sora was exiled there.
Martyr A person who chooses to suffer or die for a cause.
Mausoleum A large tomb
McCullough The name of the American boat on which General Aguinaldo returned from Hong Kong
Miguel Vicos A Spanish mestiza who shot Diego Silang
Missionaries Persons sent to various places for religious work.
Mundos Madrid A Spanish newspaper.
Moral crusader A person who fights wrong doings.
Moro-moro A kind of stage play usually based on the fight between the Christians and the Mohammedans. Also the name of a play for children, consisting of tugging and dodging.
Mourn To express sorrow for the dead
Novitiate A person preparing for a religious life
Orphanage A home for those who have no parents
Palanan A town in Isabela province where General Aguinaldo retreated when pursued by the Americans.
Pasong Tamo A place in Balintawak; well-known battleground during the Philippine Revolution.
Fort Santiago An old Spanish fort where Filipino rested by the Japanese were imprisoned
Plaque Marker made of either a piece of wood or thin piece of metal
Pension An amount of money given to a person by the government in recognition for services in the people.
Philippines Anti-Leprosy Society Society which looks after the welfare of lepers.
Purity Freedom from any wrong motive. Cleanliness
Proclaimed. Made known to the public
Quiles A horse-drawn vehicle quite popular among the rich during the Spanish days.
Revolution An armed movement of the people for the purpose of changing the government
Sculptor A person who carves or models figures from clay, chalk, marble, or bronze
Senators Members of the senate, usually the upper house of a legislative body
Social Justice Fair deal for the poor. It usually means providing measures for the improvement of their living conditions.
Talibongs Sharp, big bolos.
Tenant A farmer who tills a piece of land for its owner
Teniente del barrio An official very much like a municipal councilor today
Tuberculosis A disease affecting various parts of the body, oftentimes the lungs. Tuberculosis of the lungs is called consumption.
Vice An undesirable habit like gambling, drinking or cursing
Walang Sugat Title of a play written by Severino Reyes
Welfare Condition of health, happiness, plenty
Woman Suffrage The right of women to vote and hold public office
Women’s Temperance Union A society the principal purpose of which is stop drinking

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Leading Filipino Women: Sofia de Veyra

Sofia de Veyra
Great Civic Leader
(1876 - 1958)

          Sofia de Veyra succeeded in several fields of activity which greatly benefited her country. She gained fame for her work in education, social and civic improvement, and religion. Throughout her busy life for more than half a century, her family remained as her most precious responsibility. In the words of President Elpidio Quirino, Mrs. De Veyra was “the ideal Maria Clara of present-day Philippines.”

Early Life and Education
           On September 30, 1876 in the little town of Arevalo, Iloilo, a baby girl was born to a couple – Santiago Reyes and Eulalia Tiaozon. The child was named Sofia. Little Sofia was a bright child. At the age of eight her brilliant intellect was noticed by all those around her.
           Sofia received her early schooling in a private Spanish school in Sta. Ana, Iloilo, conducted by the sisters of former Chief Justice Ramon Avancena. She worked in the school for her tuition, board, and lodging.
          She attended no other school after studying in Sta. Ana. Her “higher education” was obtained through self-study.

The Educator
          Changes in Philippine history were to affect young Sofia’s life. After the United States won the Philippines from Spain, American teachers were sent to our country. One of these teachers happened to board in Sofia’s home. Sofia quickly took advantage of the presence of this American teacher. She asked the American lady to teach her arithmetic and English. The teacher taught Sofia addition and subtraction, which were the first lessons she mastered, and gave her daily drills in phonetics and grammar.
          Sofia was soon appointed a teacher in Saravia, Negros Occidental. After a year she was appointed matron of the girl’s dormitory connected with the Bacolod High School. From Bacolod, Sofia was transferred to the Philippine Normal School dormitory in 1905 as assistant matron. Two years later, she founded with Miss Mary E. Colemar, one of the most useful institutions in the country – a training school for nurses. She also became the secretary of the Association Feminist, one of the earliest women’s societies.

Sofia’s Marriage
           In 1907, Sofia married Jaime C. de Veyra, then governor of Leyte. He was the first Filipino in the country to get that position. Mr. de Veyra later became the resident commissioner for the Philippines in the United States. He served in this position from 1917 to 1923. While in America, Mrs. De Veyra told the American people about the Philippines. She delivered lectures to convince Americans that their good system of government in the Philippines would be a fine example to other people in the Far East. In this way she helped her husband maintain good relations between the Philippines and the United States.

Mrs. De Veyra’s Social Work
           Sofia de Veyra was one of our first women to engage in work to improve the condition of the people. During her time it was not yet the practice for women to have activities outside the home. Mrs. De Veyra proved that a woman could work to improve her community without neglecting her home. Hers was an ideal home life, as will be described further on.
          Wherever there was social work to be done, Mrs. de Veyra was there. In 1917, she became president of the “Proteccion de la Infancia,” an organization formed to provide charity services to undernourished babies. She helped organize the National Federation of Women’s clubs, of which she was the president from 1913 to 1936. In 1928, she was a delegate to the Pan-Pacific Women’s Conference in Honolulu.

Service to Her Country
          Mrs. de Veyra’s accomplishments were rewarded with greater recognition by her country of her ability. She was appointed to post after post in the service of her country. These positions took much of her time and often there was no pay for her services.
         From 1923 to 1949, she served as a member of the governing body of the Philippine Red Cross. She became the vice-president of Catholic Women’s League. She was also appointed to serve on the board of review for moving pictures from 1923 to 1949 and on the parole and pardon boards.
        Mrs. Aurora Quezon and, later, Mrs. Trinidad Roxas, as First Lady of the country, appointed Mrs. de Veyra as social secretary at Malacanan.
        In 1929, Mrs. de Veyra became the vice-president of the Centro Escolar University, a position she occupied until her death. After the first world war, she received a medal from President Wilson for her gallant Red Cross war work. In July, 1951, she was decorated by President Quirino for her outstanding contribution to social welfare. She was cited as “Homemaker and Civic Leader of the Year.”

The Ideal Mother
         In serving her country well, Sofia de Veyra never neglected her family. She brought up her children as god-fearing, responsible persons who later on took their places as good and useful citizens in the community. She was not only a good mother. She was also a good mother-in-law.
        “In the midst of her busy life,” a daughter-in-law said, “she had time for the family of her married son. She would take time to clip articles and hints on how to improve home life and child care. These clippings she gave to me. There was no place in her disposition for anger, criticism or gossip. She gave all her time to religion, education, civic work and affection for her family and friends.”

Her Last Years
        Sofia de Veyra lived a long and useful life. Old age did not slow down her civic activities. During her last years, she took part in the activities of different civic organizations.
        So when Sofia de Veyra died on January 1, 1958, the whole country mourned the loss of a great woman.
        These were the words of tribute that the President of the Philippines released to the press upon her death: “Mrs. Sofia de Veyra was the embodiment of all the desirable qualities that a true Filipinas should possess. The performance of her duties as an exemplary mother who reared God and country-loving children did not hamper her from doing her other duties to her countrymen, by serving them devotedly in the field of education, religious work and social service. She lived a noble and honorable life and thus she died. Her death is just like the passing away of some sweet music which we will long remember, because in her life she had done much to spread sweetness and light.”

Friday, April 2, 2010

Leading Filipino Women: Felicing Tirona

Felicing Tirona
A Leader in the Fine Arts
(1903 - 1952)

             Music, drama or acting, and ballet belong to the fine arts. What we do along the fine arts contribute to the culture and progress of our country. Felicing Tirona was a Filipino woman who promoted the fine arts and established centers of study, making these arts available

The Bright Student
          Felicing Tirona belonged to a family of educators. She was born in Imus, Cavite on June 9, 1903. Little Felicing grew up to bring credit to her well known family of teachers. She finished her primary grades in Imus as valedictorian. She graduated also with first honors from the University of the Philippines High School.
Felicing then entered the College of Law of the University of the Philippines. As a law student, she won honors after honors. She won the silver medal at the annual oratorical contest of the College of Law. She got a prize offered for the best composition on the life of Chief Justice Cayetano S. Arellano. She graduated with honors, cum laude, from the College of Law. In the bar examinations in 1925, she got one of the ten highest grades.

Beauty and Brains
          Felicing easily became known as one of the most gifted Filipino women. She was beautiful and intelligent. But she had more than beauty and brains. She had also industry and perseverance.
         She now developed her talents in acting. She acted with great success in many dramas. She also wrote articles for the English section of the Spanish paper La Mujer. In 1927, she went to the United States to study voice and drama. Afterwards, she went to Europe to continue these studies.

A Leader of Fine Arts
        When Felicing Tirona returned to the Philippines she applied at once what she had learned abroad. She prepared two musical presentations called “The Leap Year Fantasy” and “The Story of Man.” Then, she suddenly became very ill. However, sickness did not discourage her. From her sickbed, she directed the two musical plays. She also continued her work of building up the fine arts in her country.
         During World War II, she established the Philippine Conservatory of Music of the Philippine Women’s University and later on the College of Music and Arts. Music, ballet, drama and painting were taught at this college. She also formed a voice clinic where many studied to become opera singers. In spite of her continued illness this admirable woman found time to write a book, “Training of a Singer.”
         Death, at last, took her on April 29, 1952.

Honors Won
         In recognition of her contribution to the fine arts, the Manila Music Lover’s Society listed Felicing Tirona in the honor roll of “Outstanding Musicians” of 1950. In 1951, the College Editors Guild gave her an award for her contribution to the growth of the fine arts. In the silver jubilee of the College of Liberal Arts of the Philippine Women’s University, she was cited as the ideal woman who personified the fine arts. After her death, during the sixth celebration of the Philippine Republic on July 4, 1952, she received an award for her “advancement of music and the fine arts.”

Leading Filipino Women: Maria L. Tinawin

Maria L. Tinawin
The Brave Nurse
(1895 - 1948)

          The name of Maria L. Tinawin is one of the most honored names in the history of nursing in the Philippines. She held many positions of great responsibility in different organizations. She carried out each of these responsibilities with a willing heart and willing hands.

Her Early Training
          Maria L. Tinawin was born on September 2, 1895 in Gapan, Nueva Ecija. She finished her primary grades in her hometown after which she went to Manila and enrolled in the Philippine Normal School. While studying here Maria met many student nurses, for in those days the students of the Training School for Nurses took some subjects in the Philippine Normal School.
Maria soon decided to be a nurse. As a student nurse, she excelled in many school activities and was often included in the honor roll and Efficiency Committee. She was especially good in operation room work. When she graduated in 1915, she was one of the twelve ranking graduates.

Early Career As A Nurse
          Maria first worked under the Bureau of Health as head nurse at the San Lazaro Hospital. In 1918, she transferred to the Bontoc Hospital in the Mountain Province. Shortly after, she returned to the San Lazaro Hospital and directed the hospital diet.
In 1919, desiring to continue her studies, she left her work in the hospital and sailed for the United States. Her trip was not financed by the government. Maria studied in the United States as a working student. She worked as a private nurse in California and studied Public Health Nursing in the University of California. Then she went to New York and worked in the Manhattan Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital and in the Flower Hospital as Charge Nurse. She did some field work as an employee of the Henry Street Settlement and also finished a summer course in administration and field supervision in Teacher’s College, Columbia University.

Her Red Cross Work
         Maria’s good record and work caught the attention of the American Red Cross. She was offered the position of Red Cross supervising nurse of the Philippine Chapter of the American Red Cross. She accepted the offer and began her Red Cross work in 1922.
         Her work included supervising the Red Cross nurses in Manila and in the provinces, training new Red Cross nurses, and teaching home hygiene and care of the sick at home. She travelled all over the Philippines teaching the simple rules of health hygiene. In her Red Cross work she had to serve in times of disaster. She was on duty in the Cagayan disaster of 1924, in the Batangas flood of 1926, in the Tondo fire of 1927, in the cholera epidemic of Iloilo in 1930, and other similar calamities.
          The American Red Cross rewarded her for her excellent work by appointing her as acting Director of Nurses of the Philippine Chapter.

The Great Nurse in Peace
          Maria tirelessly worked to improve the nursing profession. She started a news sheet on nursing called “Message of the Public Health Nurse.” She represented the nursing profession and the Philippines in conferences in other countries. These were the International Council of Nurses Congress held at Montreal, Canada in 1929, and another one held in London in 1934.

The Brave Nurse in War
          Both in times of peace and in time of war, Maria showed her leadership and unselfishness in serving people. When the war broke out in 1941, she gathered civilian nurses for the U.S. Army to serve on the mercy ship “Mactan,” which evacuated wounded soldiers to Australia.
         When the American liberation forces entered Manila in February, 1945, she was on the south side of the Pasig River. Under fire of the enemy she trawled towards the river and crossed in a small banca to the north side where the American troops had gathered. Then she gathered nurses to serve in emergency hospitals and internment camps where the freed American prisoners had been brought.
         Maria Tinawin was awarded a medal of honor in September, 1946, by General Douglas MacArthur for her services to the soldiers of Bataan and Corregidor and for the prisoners of war at the San Tomas internment camp.

Maria’s Last Days
          The health of the brave nurse, however, was now deteriorating. Her hard work had resulted in her suffering from acute diabetes and high blood pressure. In 1945, she resigned from the Red Cross but continued serving the nursing profession. She died on April 22, 1948.
          Maria Tinawin should be remembered for being a great leader in the nursing profession. In many instances she endangered her life in order to be of service. Although she came from a wealthy family, she gave up a life of comfort in order to serve in remote places like Bontoc in the Mountain Province.
          Truly, Maria Tinawin dedicated all her life to her country and her people.

Leading Filipino Women: Marina Dizon

Marina Dizon
(1876 - 1950)

        During the Philippine Revolution many men and women endured hardships to carry on our struggles for the freedom of our country. One of these brave women was Marina Dizon.

Marina As A Girl
       Marina Dizon came from a patriotic family. Her father, Jose Dizon, was one of the patriotic leaders of Cavite. He gave up his life for his country. He was one of the 13 martyrs executed by the Spanish officials in 1897.
       Marina spent her childhood in Trozo, Manila. She was a bright girl and delighted her teachers with her intelligence. Among her early teachers were Maestra Aniceta Cabrera and Guadalupe Reyes. They taught her useful and interesting things about the Philippines. Marina was fond of natural geography and history.

Marina Joins the Katipunan
       Marina grew up to be a very pretty woman. She married Jose Turiano Santiago. Her husband was one of Andres Bonifacio’s men in the Katipunan.
       When women were allowed to join the Katipunan, Marina lost no time in becoming a member. She worked with Gregoria de Jesus, the wife of Andres Bonifacio. Some historians say that Marina was the president of the Women’s Section of the Katipunan.
       Marina, like Gregoria de Jesus, kept important papers of the Katipunan. These papers were lists of the members of the secret society.

Marina’s Life of Danger
       Then the Katipunan was discovered by the government officials. The Revolution started soon after. Marina with her husband had to change their home many times as the government soldiers were after her. She had to change her name too.
       She and her husband fled to Meycawayan. From there they went to the Cordillera Mountains to hide. They stayed in safety in Tarlac for some time.
       During one of these flights, at a railroad station in Manila, Marina was almost captured by the Guardia Civil. She did not lose her head. She ran to the toilet at the back of the railroad station and burned the important papers she had with her. In this way she saved the lives of the Katipuneros who were listed on those papers.

Marina’s Later Days
       With her patriotic duties, Marina was also able to raise a big family. She had many children. These were among her teachings to them: “Dress simply. Save a part of what you earn. Study your lessons well. Practice all good Filipino customs.”
       After the revolution, Marina devoted her life to bringing up her children. She also continued her violin playing. She was able to see her dream of a free Philippines come true when our country was given independence by the United States on July 4, 1946. Marina Dizon died on October 30, 1950.

Leading Filipino Women: Aurora Aragon Quezon

Aurora Aragon Quezon
Mother of the Philippine Red Cross
(1888 - 1949)

           Aurora Aragon Quezon was the wife of President Manuel L. Quezon. She devoted many years of her life in welfare work especially with the Red Cross here. Her life was rich with acts of thoughtfulness and service for the poor and the needy.

Dona Aurora and the Red Cross
         When you see our Red Cross anywhere you should think of Aurora Aragon Quezon. For Dona Aurora was like Florence Nightingale, the self-sacrificing Lady with the Lamp who nursed the soldiers.
         Aurora Aragon Quezon was the daughter of the Aragons, an old and respected family of Tayabas (now Quezon). She was born in Baler on February 19, 1888. As a young girl she went to a Catholic school.
         She intended to become a teacher and went to Manila to study in the Philippine Normal School. But the fate had other plans for her. She met again the attractive Manuel L. Quezon, whom she knew as a child in Baler. They fell in love with each other, and in 1918 were married in Hong Kong, where she had gone for a summer vacation.

As A Wife
         The years that followed were busy ones for the young wife of the rising statesman. Manuel L. Quezon called his wife a model wife. She cheered him when he was worried with his problems. She offered helpful suggestions to him. She helped her husband carry out plans for the welfare of the poor and the needy.

As A Mother
         Aurora Aragon Quezon made a happy home for her husband. Three of their four children Maria, Aurora, Zenaida, and Manuel grew up to be healthy and intelligent members of this famous family. One of the Quezon children died at the age of two. Mrs. Quezon was a gentle and loving mother who taught her children to be kind, religious, and thoughtful of others.

The First Lady
         In 1935 Manuel Quezon was elected the first President of the Commonwealth. Dona Aurora thus became the First Lady of the Land. She continued to work for the welfare of everyone. Even high officials of the government went to her to help or advice when they disagreed with the President.
        She thought of different ways of helping the poor. Every Christmas Dona Aurora threw open the grounds of Malacanan palace (the official residence of the Philippine president) to them. She established the custom of giving a Christmas party at Malacanan for the poor children of the city. At the party, the children received gifts of food, clothes, toys and other things.

In World War II
        When World War II came, the Quezon family had to leave Manila. They first went to Bataan with the Filipino army. Later on they were taken safely to America by the United States forces. This was done so that President Quezon could continue being the head of the Philippine Commonwealth government. Mrs. Quezon and her daughter spent the war years in America doing welfare work with the American Red Cross. She served in American hospitals as a volunteer.
        This experience was to lead to her important role in setting up an independent Philippine Red Cross later on.

Chairman of the Philippine Red Cross
        In 1945, after the Americans had freed the Philippines from the enemy, Mrs. Quezon and her children returned home. The body of her famous husband, who had died in 1944, followed later on and was buried here with great honors.
       Mrs. Quezon now devoted her remaining years to serving the Philippine Red Cross and other charitable organizations. She was appointed its chairman. She was active in the campaign to rebuild churches and hospitals. She reported at the Red Cross headquarters regularly for work without receiving any salary. She used her influence to win support and friends for the newly independent Philippine Red Cross. She attended its meetings and guided its work. Under her wise guidance the Philippine Red Cross became a strong organization which could serve well the people.
       Then on April 28, 1949, she went on a trip to Baler. She was accompanied by many officials and her eldest daughter, Maria Aurora, and her son-in-law. A historical marker was going to be placed to mark the birthplace of President Quezon in Baler. The marker was to be unveiled by Mrs. Quezon.
       As Mrs. Quezon’s party was nearing Baler, a group of lawless men came out on the road and shot them. Mrs. Quezon, her daughter, and many others were killed. The whole country was shocked to hear of the death of Mrs. Quezon. A great and noble lady who had served her country well was lost to the people.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Leading Filipino Women: Maria Ylagan Orosa

Maria Ylagan Orosa
Food Preserver
(1893 - 1945)

           Maria Y. Orosa worked hard to improve the health of our people. She studied how to preserve different kinds of food in a scientific way. She taught people how to preserve food and fruits in cans for home use and for export. She is remembered and honored for her work in food preservation.

Maria’s Training
       Maria Y. Orosa was born in Taal, Batangas on November 29, 1893. Her parents were Simplicio Agoncillo Orosa and Juliana Ylagan. She had seven brothers and sisters.
       Maria studied in the public schools of Batangas. In 1915 she enrolled in the University of the Philippines to study pharmacy. She was not able, however, to finish the course in Manila. She was sent to the United States by the government to continue her studies. She finished her pharmacy course in America in 1918. Then she studied food chemistry.
      While studying in the United States, Maria had to work in order to have enough money for her expenses. She washed dishes in the restaurants, scrubbed floors, picked fruits, and worked in canning factories. The United States government paid only part of her expenses.

Teaching Food Preservation
      Maria returned to the Philippines in 1922. Upon her return she taught home economics in the Centro Escolar University. Then in 1923 she transferred to the Bureau of Science.
       It was in this Bureau that she worked out different methods of preserving fruits, foods, and fruit juices. She also found a way to make darak edible. Darak is a valuable food element that can help cure patients suffering from beri-beri.
      With her helpers Maria then taught many housewives how to preserve such native foods as adobo, mechado, dinuguan, and to convert our fruits as guavas, mangoes into jelly. Maria gave lectures on food preservation in the provinces.

Maria Improves Her Work
      When the government saw her excellent work, Maria Orosa was sent back to America in 1928 as a scholar. She was asked to study the best methods of food preservation. After studying again in the United States, she visited China, Hawaii, Holland, England, Germany, Spain, Italy, and France to observe their ways of preserving foods.

Improves Communities
       After her return in 1929, Maria devoted her time to teaching home making to other women. She encouraged them to form rural improvement clubs. The purposes of these clubs were:
1. To learn and teach home making.
2. To learn and teach child care.
3. To learn and teach meal planning.
4. To learn and teach food preparation and preservation.
5. To learn and teach poultry raising.
6. To learn and teach gardening.
       Maria worked hard to organize such clubs all over the country. She had organized 537 clubs by 1941.
      Maria encouraged the members to engage in home industries such as making slippers, rugs, and baskets.
      Maria hoped that through her work she would improve the health of mothers and children of the country. She also believed that homes with gardens would be better places to live in.

Maria’s Work in World War II
      World War II came. Everyone suffered, for food became scarce. Maria Orosa’s food preservation became noble work. The food that she canned were sent to many American prisoners in Capas, Los Banos, Dao, and Santo Tomas.
      She made demijohns of fruit juice from calamansi. She sent the fruit juice to the prisoners so that they could have their vitamins. In this way Maria saved the lives of hundreds of prisoners. Throughout the war, Maria worked on without fear and without stopping.
      During the fighting in Manila in 1945, Maria was at work at the Bureau of Plant Industry in San Andres. She was hit by shrapnel during the bombing. Her friends rushed her to the Remedios Hospital in Malate. Then the hospital itself was hit by bombs. The bombs killed Maria and other patients.
      By the death of Maria Orosa, the country lost a woman who had devoted all her life to the service of the people. One of the buildings of the Bureau of Plants Industry where she worked has been named after her. It is called the Maria Y. Orosa building.
     The great work which Maria Orosa started goes on today. Many people whom she trained and taught carry on the work of improving the life of the common people.

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