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A.1.1. Early Beliefs and Practices

(Diseases and their causes and treatment were shrouded with
mysticism and superstitions.)
1. Beliefs about causation of disease:
a.) another person (an enemy or a witch)
b.) evil spirits
2. Belief that evil spirits could be driven away by persons with
powers to expel demons.
Belief in special gods of healing, with the priest -physician (called
“word doctors”) as intermediary. If they used leaves or roots, they were
called herb doctors (“herbolarios”)

Early Care of the Sick

The early Filipinos subscribed to superstitious belief and practices in
relation to health and sickness. Herb men were called “herbicheros” meaning one who
practiced witchcraft. Persons suffering from diseases without any identified cause
were believed bewitched by “mangkukulam” or “mangagaway”. Difficult childbirth
and some diseases (called “pamao”) were attributed to “nunos”. Midwives assisted in
childbirth. During labor, the “mabuting hilot” (good midwife) was called in. If the
birth became difficult, witches were supposed to be the cause. To disperse their
influence, gunpowder were exploded from a bamboo cane close to the head of the

Health Care During the Spanish Regime

The religious orders exerted their efforts to care for the sick by
building hospitals in different parts of the Philippines. The earliest hospitals were:

• Hospital Real de Manila (1577) – it was established mainly

to care for the Spanish king’s soldiers, but also admitted
Spanish civilians; founded by Gov. Francisco de Sande.
• San Lazaro Hospital (1578) – founded by Brother Juan
Clemente and was administered for many years by the
Hospitalliers of San Juan de Dios; built exclusively for
patients with leprosy.
• Hospital de Indios (1586) – established by the Franciscan
Order; service was in general supported by alms and
contributions from charitable persons.
• Hospital de Aguas Santas (1590) – established in Laguna;
near a medicinal spring, founded by Brother J. Baustista of
the Franciscan Order.
• San Juan de Dios Hospital (1596) founded by the
Brotherhood of Misericordia and administered by the
Hopsitaliers of San Juan de Dios; support was delivered from
alms and rents; rendered general health service to the public.
Nursing During the Philippine Revolution

• Josephine Bracken, wife of Jose Rizal- installed a field hospital in

an estate house in Tejeros; provided nursing care to the wounded
night and day

• Rosa Sevilla de Alvero- converted their house into quarters for the
Filipino soldiers; during the Philippine-American War that broke
out in 1899

• Dona Hilaria de Aguinaldo- wife of Emilio Aguinaldo; organized

that Filipino Red Cross under the inspiration of Mabini

• Dona Maria Agoncillo de Aguinaldo- second wife of Emilio

Aguinaldo; provided nursing care to Filipino soldiers during the
revolution, President of the Filipino Red Cross branch in Batangas

• Melchora Aquino (Tandang Sora) –nursed the wounded Filipino

soldiers and gave them shelter and food

• Capitan Salome – a revolutionary leader in Nueva Ecija; provided

nursing care to the wounded when not in combat

• Agueda Kahabagan- revolutionary leader in Laguna, also

provided nursing services to her troops

• Trinidad Tecson (“Ina ng Biak-na-Bato”)- stayed in the hospital

at Biak na Bato to care for wounded soldiers

Hospitals and Schools of Nursing

Iloilo Mission Hospital School of Nursing (Iloilo City, 1906)

It was ran by the Baptist Foreign Mission Society of America.
Miss Rose Nicolet, a graduate of New England Hospital for Women and
Children in Boston, Massachusetts was the first superintendent for nurses. It
moved from its present location to Jaro Road, Iloilo City in 1929. Miss Flora
Ernst, an American nurse, took charge of the school in 1942. In April 1944
graduate nurses took the first Nurses Board Examination at the Iloilo Mission

Saint Paul’s Hospital School of Nursing (Manila, 1907)

The hospital was established by the Archbishop of Manila,
Jeremiah Harty under the supervision of the Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres
located in Intramuros. It provided general hospital services. It opened its
training school for nurses in 1908, with Mother Melanie as superintendent and
Miss Chambers as Principal.
Philippine General Hospital School of Nursing (Manila, 1907)
PGH began in 1901 as a small dispensary for Civil officers and
Employees in the City of Manila and later grew as a Civil Hospital. In 1906,
Mary Coleman Masters, an educator advocated for the idea of training Filipino
girls for the profession of nursing with the approval of Government officials,
she first opened a dormitory for Girls enrolled at the Philippine Normal Hall
and the University of the Philippines.
In 1907, with the support of Governor General Forbes and the
Director of Health and among others, she opened classes in nursing under the
Auspices of the Bureau of Education. Admission was based on an entrance
examination. The applicant must have completed elementary education to the
seventh grade. Julia Nichols and Charlotte Clayton taught the students nursing
subjects. American physician also served as lecturers.
In 1910, the Act No. 1976 modified the organization of the
school placing it under the supervision of the Department of Health. The Civil
Hospital was abolished and the Philippine General Hospital was established.

St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing (Quezon City, 1907)

The hospital is an Episcopalian Institution. It began as a small
dispensary in 1903. In 1907, the school opened with three girls admitted.
These three girls had their first year in combined classes with the PGH School
of Nursing and St. Paul’s Hospital School of Nursing. Miss Helen Hicks was
the first principal. Mrs. Vitaliana Beltran was the first Filipino superintendent
of nurses and Dr. Jose Fores was the first medical director of the hospital.

Mary Johnston Hospital and School of Nursing (Manila, 1907)

It started as a small dispensary on Calle Cervantes (now
Avenida). It was called the Bethany Dispensary and funded by the Methodist
Mission for the relief of suffering among women and children. In 1907, Sister
Rebecca Parrish together with registered nurses Rose Dudley and Gertude
Dreisbach, organized the Mary Johnston School of Nursing. The nurses’
training course began with three Filipino young girls fresh from elementary as
their first students.

Philippine Christian Mission Institute Schools of Nursing

The United Christian Missionary Society of Indianapolis, Indiana- a
Protestant organization of the disciples of Christ operated three schools of nursing:

Sallie Long Read Memorial Hospital School of Nursing (Laoag

Ilocos Norte, 1903)

Mary Chiles Hospital School of Nursing (Manila, 1911)

The hospital was established by Dr. WN Lemon in a
small house on Azcarraga, Sampaloc, Manila. In 1913, Miss Mary Chiles of Montana
donated a large sum of money with which the preset building at Gastambide was
bought. The Tuason Annex was donated by Miss Esperanza Tuason, a Filipino
Frank Dunn Memorial Hospital (Vigan Ilocos Sur, 1912)

San Juan de Dios Hospital School of Nursing (Manila, 1913)

In 1913, through the initaiative of Dr. Benito Valdez, the board of
inspectors and the executive board of the hospital passed a resolution to open school
of nursing. The school has been run by the Daughters of Charity since then. Sister
Taciana Tinanes was the first Directress of the School

Emmanuel Hospital School of Nursing (Capiz, 1913)

In 1913, the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society sent Dr. PH
Lerrigo to Capiz for the purpose of opening a hospital. Miss Rose Nicolet assisted
him. The school offered a 3-year training course for an annual fee of Php 100.00.
Miss Clara Pedrosa was the first principal

Southern Islands Hospital School of Nursing (Cebu, 1918)

The hospital was established in 1911 under the Bureau of Health. The
school opened in 1918 with Anastacia Giron-Tupas as the orginizer. Miss Visitacion
Perez was the first principal

Other Schools of Nursing

1. Zamboanga General Hospital School of Nursing (1921)
2. Chinese General Hospital School of Nursing (1921)
3. Baguio General Hospital School of Nursing (1923)
4. Manila Sanitarium Hospital and School of Nursing (1930)
5. St. Paul School of Nursing in Iloilo City (1946)
6. North General Hospital and School of Nursing (1946)
7. Siliman University School of Nursing (1947)

The FIRST Colleges of Nursing in the Philippines

University of Santo Tomas-College of Nursing (1946)

In its first year of existence, its enrolees were consisted of students from
different school of nursing whose studied were interrupted by the war. In 1947, the
Bureau of Private Schools permitted UST to grant the title Graduate Nurse to the 21
students who were of advance standing from 1948 up to the present. The college has
offered excellent education leading to a baccalaureate degree. Sor Taciana Trinanes
was its first directress. Presently, Associate Professor Glenda A. Vargas, RN, MAN
serves as its Dean.

Manila Central University-College of Nursing (1947)

The MCU Hospital first offered BSN and Doctor of Medicine degrees in 1947
and served as the clinical field for practice. Miss Consuelo Gimeno was its first
principal. Presently, Professor Lina A. Salarda, RN, MAN, EdD serves as its Dean.

University of the Philippines Manila-College of Nursing (1948)

The idea of opening the college began in a conference between Miss Julita
Sotejo and UP President. In April 1948, the University Council approved the
curriculum, and the Board of Regents recognized the profession as having an equal
standing as Medicine, Engineering etc. Miss Julita Sotejo was its first dean. Presently,
Professor Josefina A. Tuason, RN, MAN, DrPh is once more reappointed as the Dean
of UP Manila College of Nursing