Nazaria Lagos is known as the Florence Nightingale of Panay. She was a pioneer Red Cross leader in the Visayas region. She was a strong woman, compassionate mother and has a deep and deathless love for God and country. She was born not only to become a mother of her own children but of the many wounded Filipino soldiers, sick civilians and of the sick children during the war.
Born From A Wealthy Family
Nazaria L. Lagos was born on August 28, 1851 in Barrio Burongan (now Jaguimit), Laglag town (now Dueñas), Iloilo. Her parents were Don Juan de la Cruz Lagos and Doña Saturnina Labrillaso. As an only child, she was well taken cared of and brought up in comfort but she was not a spoiled girl. When she was six, her mother hired Maestro Gregorio "Oyong" Tingzon as her teacher. She was a beautiful, brilliant young girl who could speak Spanish well and talk to the Spanish officials.
At a very young age of 12, she married her second cousin Segundo Lagos, a son of a wealthy land owner, Don Bartolome Lagos whose ancestors were the founders of Dueñas town and the religion. During her years in marriage life, Nazaria faced lots of challenges of home life with patience. She possessed good qualities of being a wife and a mother and was equipped with proper knowledge on nursing and medical care by Dr. Cuadra, a family friend and doctor, who often visited the family and stayed in the vast family hacienda.
Red Cross and Revolutionary Work
Through the order of Military Governor Don Ricardo Monet with the support of parish priest Father Lorenzo Suarez, Nazaria was appointed as President of the first local unit of Red Cross in the province of Iloilo.
During the revolution under the general supervision of Gen. Martin Delgado, Nazaria Lagos was chosen as secretary and Segundo (her husband) as the adviser of the Revolutionary Volunteers to go against the Spanish Government. Her house in Barrio Burongan (now Jaguimit) was made as a secret meeting place of the high-ranking officers of the revolution in the whole province of Iloilo. Nazaria and Segundo built a secret Army Hospital in their Hacienda in Jaguimit and which Nazaria was appointed as Chief of the Army Hospital and Manager of the Army Food Supply Depot for the Filipino soldiers. This is for the preparation of the revolutionists for the war against the Spaniards. The building of the hospital came from Nazaria and Segundo's own money. The supplies of the food came from the production of their farm. She gave an all out support for the welfare of the Filipinos. Nazaria Lagos and her family together with their "obreros" or workers began to work secretly in Hacienda Jaguimit. She personally supervised the construction of the hospital made from local materials. They made bamboos as beds, chairs and tables and cabinets for the wounded Filipino soldiers.
The war started. Many Filipino soldiers were sick and wounded, and they were brought to the hospital in Jaguimit. The hospital was not only for the Filipino soldiers but as well as the sick and wounded civilians. Since the hospital is certainly located between the North and South revolutionary groups, supply almost ran out. For such a gigantic tack for a woman to bear, the Red Cross helped her in asking donations like food, clothing and medicine. Her tenants had contributed their time and efforts to help in caring for the wounded soldiers. Her knowledge in herbal medicine played an important role in this extraordinary task during the Revolution. Spending almost all her time, effort and fortune for the brother Filipinos, she even was able to bear the death of her two children when the smallpox epidemic struck the country during the years of the turmoil.
Role In Philippine Independence Day Celebration
In Dueñas Nazaria Lagos and her two daughters together with the Red Cross members, sew the Philippine flag. In spite of the scarcity of the clothes, sewing needles and threads, they made improvised needles out of umbrella wire and abaca fibers as the threads. The flag was hoisted at 9 o' clock in the morning of June 12, 1899 in the Dueñas town plaza. Nazaria and the people of Dueñas knelled down with tears rolling down their cheeks and prayed for their safety and independence while the National Hymn was played.
Her Last Years
Nazaria Lagos reserved a legacy not in wealth but as a model mother, leader and a great woman in history. Unfortunately, she became blind and on January 27, 1945, at the age of 93, silently passed away at Sitio Amuyao, Jaguimit, Dueñas, Iloilo. She had served her country and family with love and devotion.
Nazaria and Segundo Lagos will long be remembered from generation to generation. Their service to their fellowmen is worth emulating and their names will be written in Bold Letters in the minds and hearts of all Filipinos, patriots, nationalist and lover of democracy.
Wikipilipinas: Nazaria Lagos, http://en.wikipilipinas.org/index.php/Nazaria_Lagos
Nazaria Lagos, A Great Woman In History, Newstoday 2007, http://www.thenewstoday.info/2007/02/05/nazaria.l.lagos.a.great.woman.of.history.html