Tuesday, August 30, 2011

*266. EMILIANO J. VALDES, Kapampangan Philanthropist

ONE IN A MILIONG . Mabalacat-born Emiliano "Miliong" J. Valdes, Kapampangan businessman, landowner and philanthropist. When he passed away, his descendants donated the land on where the Emiliano J. Valdes Memorial TB Pavilion was built.

The generous Kapampangan philanthropist who gave his name as well as financial donation to fund Pampanga’s leading TB hospital was born in Mabalacat, to parents Francisca Valdes and Cenon de Jesus on 5 January 1873. “Miliong” was baptized in the same town as “Emiliano de Jesus”, but for some reason, he took on his mother’s last name, a tradition that was followed by his female siblings (Agripina, Maria Salome and Agueda). His two older brothers, Sisenando and Pedro used De Jesus as their surnames.

Miliong married Macabebe-born Eusebia Garcia Hernandez (b. 29 October 1876) and the couple settled in Culiat (Angeles) along Plaridel St. where they built a grand mansion with a spacious front lawn in 1936. By then, Miliong’s business in real estate had grown and prospered, more than enough to live a life of comfort for themselves and their large family of 10 children: Luz, Jose, Salud, Socorro, Francisco, Emilio, Lorenzo, Augusto, Remedios and Africa. They Valdeses had barely enjoyed their new house when Eusebia died in Angeles on 20 September 1936.

To forget his loss, Miliong focused his energy on growing his business, and not even the war years could dampen his enterprising drive. His house, however, was commandeered by the Japanese and turned it into a military headquarter. Perhaps to forget the sad events that transpired in his Angeles residence, he sold the house and lot after the war, and the space has since become a commercial area.

Miliong died on 28 August 1953, but not before leaving behind funds and resources for his philanthropic pursuits. His heirs donated 5 hectares of land as well as Php 75,000.00 for the construction of a TB Pavilion in Angeles in 1972. Turberculosis had always been a prevalent disease that plague Filipinos for decades, and it was hoped that the Emiliano J. Valdes Memorial TB Pavilion would alleviate the conditions of Kapampangans as well as Filipinos afflicted with the dreaded disease. An Anti-TB postage stamp was even issued to commemorate the construction of the state-of-the-art hospital building.

Sadly, the TB Pavilion closed its doors in the 80s with the successful control of tuberculosis, but for a decade or so, the TB Pavilion stood as a tangible testament to the kind and generous spirit of one Kapampangan man who believed in sharing the fruits of his success: Emiliano J. Valdes.

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