Sunday, December 19, 2010


CLOSE-UP CONFIDENCE. Dr. & Mrs. Tomas Yuson (the former Librada Concepcion) on their wedding day in 1936. Dr. Tom Yuson was the leading Kapampangan dentist in his time, and a co-founder of the Pampanga Dental Association in 1930. Personal Collection.

Pampanga is renowned for its eminent medical doctors and surgeons of superb skills. The names of Drs. Gregorio Singian, Basilio Valdez, Mario Alimurung and Conrado Dayrit come to mind. The allied course of Dentistry has also given us notable Kapampangans professionals who have made a name for themselves in this less crowded field of dental science, and their achievements are no less significant.

In the first decades of the 20th century, when colleges and universities started offering medical courses, students were drawn more to Medicine and Pharmacy. Dentistry was not even considered a legal profession during the Spanish times--tooth pullers were employed to take care of problem molars, cuspids and bicuspids.

As public health was given emphasis during the American regime, the course of dentistry was given legitmacy with the opening of the Colegio Dental del Liceo de Manila. It would become the Philippine Dental College, the pioneer school of dentistry in the Philipines. Students started enrolling in the course as more schools like the University of the Philippines opened its doors to students. The state university established its own Department of Dentistry that was appended to its College of Medicine and Surgery. The initial offering attracted eight students. That time, with a population of eight million, there was only one dentist to every 57,971 Filipinos. More educational insititutions would follow suit: National University (1925), Manila College of Dentistry (1929) and University of the East(1948. In 3 to 4 years, these schools would be graduating doctors of dental medicine, many of whome were Kapampangans.

One of the more accomplished is Guagua-born Tomas L. Yuzon, born on 7 March 1906, the son of Juan Yuzon and Simona Layug. He attended local schools in Guagua until he was 16, then moved to Philippine Normal School in Manila. At age 20, he enrolled at the country’s foremost dental school, the Philippine Dental College, and finished his 4-year course in 1930. That same year, he passed the board and began a flourishing career as a Dental Surgeon in San Fernando.

In 1930, together with Dr. Claro Ayuyao of Magalang and Dr. H. Luciano David of Angeles, Yuzon founded the Pampanga Dental Association on 25 October 1930. The constitution, rules and by-laws were patterned after the National Dental Association. The initial members of 30 Pampanga dentists aimed to elevate the standard of their profession and foster mutual cooperation and understanding among themselves. Elected President was Dr. Ayuyao, while Dr. Yuzon was named as Secretary. The P.D.A. was the first provincial organization to hold demonstrations in modern dental practice and was an authorized chapter of the national organization.

As a proponent of modern dental medicine, Dr. Yuzon was one of the first to use X-Ray and Transillumination in diagnosing his patients. He was also an active member of the Philippine Society of Stomatologists of Manila. He received much acclaim for his work, and was a respected figure in both his hometown—where he remained a member of good standing of “Maligaya Club”, as well as in his adopted community of San Fernando. On 19 Sept. 1936, he married Librada M. Concepcion of Mabalacat, daughter of Clotilde Morales and Isabelo Concepcion. They settled in San Fernando and raised three children: Peter, Susing and Lourdes.

Guagua seemed to have produced more dentists than any other Pampanga town in the late 20s and 30s and some graduates from the Philippine Dental College include Drs. Marciano L. David (1925), Emilio Tiongco (1931, worked as assistant to dr. F. Mejia), Domingo B. Calma (who was a town teacher before becoming a dental surgeon), Eladio Simpao (1929), Alfredo Nacu (1929) and Hermenegildo L. Lagman (an early 1919 graduate and also a member of the Veterans of the Revolution!)

The list of of Angeleño dentists is headed by Dr. Lauro S. Gomez who graduated at the top of his class at National University in 1930, Mariano P. Pineda (PDC, 1930, a dry goods businessman and a Bureau of Education clerk before becoming a dentist), Pablo del Rosario and Vicente de Guzman.

In Apalit, Dr. Roman Balagtas placed ads that stated “babie yang consulta carin San Vicente Apalit, balang aldo Miercoles". He also had a clinic in Juan Luna, Tondo. Arayat gave us the well-educated and well-travelled Dr. Emeterio D. Peña, who was schooled at the Zaliti Barrio School, Arayat Institute (1916), Pampanga High School (1916-18), Batangas High School (1918-1919) and at the Philippine Dental College (1920-23). He squeezed in some time to study Spanish at Instituto Cervantino (1921-23). Then he went on to practice at San Fernando, La Union, Tayabas, Mindoro, Nueva Ecija and Tarlac. Also from Arayat were Drs. Agapito Abriol Santos and Alejandro Alcala (both PDC 1931 graduates). The latter was famed for his “painless extractions” at his 1702 Azcarraga clinic which ominously faced Funeraria Paz!

Betis and Bacolor are the hometowns of dentists Exequiel Garcia David (who worked in the Bureau of Lands and as a private secretary to Rep. M. Ocampo) and Santiago S. Angeles, respectively. Candaba prides itself in having Dr. Dominador A. Evangelista as one of its proud sons in the dental profession while Lubao has Gregorio M. Fernandez, a 1928 Philippine Dental College graduate, who went on to national fame as a leading film director, and Daniel S. Fausto, who graduated in 1934..

Macabebe doctors of dental medicines include Policarpio Enriquez , a 1931 dentistry graduate of the Educational Institute of the Philippines, Francisco M. Silva PDC, 1923) who also became a top councilor of the town. Magalang gave us the esteemed Dr. Claro D. Ayuyao who became the 1st president of the Pampanga Dental Association and Dr. Alejandro T. David, a product of Philippine Dental College in 1928, who was also a businessman-mason.

Dentists Dominador L. Mallari (PDC, 1932) and Pedro Guevara (UST, Junior Red Cross Dentist 1923-29) came from Masantol. Guevara even went on to become a councilor-elect of his town. The leading dentist from Minalin, Sabas N Pingol (PDC, 1929) announced that: “manulu ya agpang qng bayung paralan caring saquit ding ipan at guilaguid’. He moved residence to Tondo and kept a clinic at 760 Reyna Regente, Binondo.

In Sta. Rita, Drs. Maximo de Castro (PDC, 1931) and Sergio Cruz (PDC, 1932) had private practices in their town. Finally, well-known Fernandino dentists of the peacetime years include Paulino Y. Gopez (UP, College of Dentistry, 1931) and the specialist Dr. Miguel G. Baluyut, (PDC, 1927) who took a course in Oral Surgery at the Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. Trailblazers of some sorts were lady dentists Paz R. Naval, a dental surgeon, Consuelo L. Asung who held clinics in San Fernando and Mexico.

Next time you flash those pearly whites and gummy smiles, think of the early pioneering Kapampangan dentists who, with their knowledge, talents and skills, helped elevate the stature of their profession, putting it on equal footing with mainstream medicine.


Mpowur said...

Alex, Dr. Horacio David Luciano is my maternal grandfather. Your blog entry stirred my curiosity why is Luciano and David have been repeatedly interchanged.
Loved the mention of my Lolo Bentong in your blog. Thanks.

alex r. castro said...

I got these names, as they appear, from the Philippine Directory of 1934 which has a short history of the founding of the PDA. Would appreciate it if you can pls. respond with the right corrections.

John Popper said...

I'm very proud of the achievements of these Filipinos. I am hoping that dentistry schools in the philippines
will continue mold great dentists in the future.

askforzon said...

Thank you Sir Alex Del Rosario Castro for posting a brief history of the "Capampangan Cirujano-Dentistas" in your blog which included my relatives, among them: My late father, Dr. Daniel S. Fausto, Sr., my late aunt, Dr. Consuelo L. Asung, elder sister of my late Mom. By the way, Consuelo got married to a lawyer-CPA from Mabalacat, Apolonio Henson Ramos (his brothers were mostly lawyers also - Bentong, Rosendo, Antonio,(I forgot the names of the others.)The late uncle of my husband, Dr. Miguel G. Baluyut, whose further specialization studies to the Northwestern University of Illinois was financed by their uncle,Gov. Sotero J. Baluyut. In later years he would also become a politician upon the prodding of Apung Terung and became the town mayor of San Fernando in the mid-fifties. He and Dr. Yuson would become "balaes" thru the marriage of their children - Albina G. Baluyut and Susing C. Yuson.