Monday, September 21, 2009


THE DOCTOR AND HIS NURSE. Dr. Pacifico L. Panlilio M.D. and his wife, Marcelina P. Nepomuceno, an early nursing degree graduate, both belonged to well-known families from Pampanga.

The Panlilios of Mexico and the Nepomucenos of Angeles are two of the most prominent and biggest families of Pampanga, populating the province with their progeny who went on to become achievers, professionals, successful businessmen, visionaries and community leaders. So when two members from these distinguished families forged a union through marriage, their future was already considered written in the stars. Indeed, the marriage of Dr. Pacifico Panlilio y Lising and Marcelina Nepomuceno y Paras consolidated their individual successes to emerge as a power couple in Kapampangan society.

Marcelina was born on 9 August 1881, the daughter of Ysabelo Nepomuceno y Henson and Juana Paras y Gomez. Ysabelo’s parents were Pio Rafael Nepomuceno and Maria Agustina Henson. When it was time for Marcelina to pursue her ‘karera’, she chose to study the relatively new course of Nursing, first offered at the Escuela de Enfermeras of the Philippine General Hospital. As part of the earliest batches of nursing graduates, Marcelina thus earned her place as a pioneering Kapampangan Florence Nightingale in the field of medical service.

It was at PGH that Marcelina met fellow Kapampangan, Pacifico or Pepe, as he was known by his nickname. A son of Juan Panlilio and Feliciana Lising of Mexico, the young Pepe was born on 30 October 1880 and attended a local school under the tutelage of Don Felix Dizon. He was then sent off to San Juan de Letran for his secondary schooling, and upon completion in 1896, he enrolled at the University of Santo Tomas then to the newly established University of the Philippines, becoming a Doctor of Medicine in 1909.

While taking his internship at the San Lazaro Hospital from 1910-11, he became a Doctor de Sanidad at Meisic, Manila. By December 1910, he was named as a health inspector and the next year, he served as a District Officer of Sibul Spring. In late 1911, he was stationed at the Dispensary of the Philippine General Hospital. Dr. Panlilio was also a member of good standing of the Manila Medical Society, the Malthusian League of London, and later joined the Masonry.

After their wedding in January of 1912, the couple decided to return to their roots and settled in Pampanga. Don Pepe had the chance to serve his town, becoming its Doctor de Sanidad from 1918-20. They divided their time between Mexico and Angeles as the couple also had some real estate property there. They would eventually raise 4 children: Josefina Guillermina, Noemi Guia, Filadelfo and Vladimir Crisostomo. The good doctor could have accomplished more, but on 9 August 1934, he passed away at the age of 54.

The widowed Marcelina and her children stayed on permanently in Angeles, living a full life and dying at the age of 78 on 16 April 1959. In the late 1960s, the children developed the property of their parents, a wedding gift from Marcelina’s uncle, Don Juan Nepomuceno. The plot of land along Jesus Street was transformed into a subdivision known as Pacimar—from Pacifico and Marcelina—whose united names lived on in this city landmark.


Pungsu said...

"...he(Pacifico Panlilio) enrolled at the University of Santo Tomas then to the newly established University of the Philippines, becoming a Doctor of Medicine in 1909."

PGH did not exist in 1909. The hospital opened its doors only 1910. Additionally, in 1910 he would have taken 10 years to finish a six year medicine proper schooling.
Medical internship comes right after medical school. Becoming a doctor in 1909 at a hospital that did not exist and then take the required internship to be a doctor in 1910-1911 is just so disjunct.

"When it was time for Marcelina to pursue her ‘karera’, she chose to study the relatively new course of Nursing, first offered at the Escuela de Enfermas of the Philippine General Hospital."

You probably meant "Escuela de Enfermeras" which at that time was not a true School of Nursing. It largely fit the term Medical Housekeeping. Up until 1925 there was nobody in the Philippines who could have thought the theoretical aspects of nursing. There was no School of Nursing to speak of. One quote in the expenditures report of the islands in 1925 budgeted 72,000 dollars for the nursing department's yearly expenses which added a head nurse(American)and a prospective nurse teacher coming from among the pensionados graduating that year. PGH having started as a Department of Medicine and Surgery of the University of the Philippines in 1910 still did not have a school for future nurses. The Philippine Normal School was the one that initially offered courses in medical housekeeping in 1901.

alex r. castro said...

You are correct, it is 'Escuela de Enfermeras', I misread Marc's text. I will check on the dates; my source is "Ninu't Ninu Qng Capampangan", which indeed has a lot of mis-types.

Pungsu said...

Can anyone enroll at a university that did not exist and obtain a diploma by the same university? P. Panlilio enrolled at the newly created Philippine Medical School which was subsequently absorbed and integrated by the University of the Philippines College of Medicine and Surgery with its auxilliary hospital, the Philippine General Hospital. Having completed the academic requirements he was awarded the diploma by the school that did not teach him.

Not exactly the type of career that we would have expected for a Cabalen. He subsequently joined an organization whose goals and teachings were contrary to our Roman Catholic beliefs. Adding more to his frowned upon affilition he became a founding member of the Masonic Lodge in Pampanga.