OLIVIA SALAMANCA

(1889 - 1913)

 

 

  The city of Manila paid a tribute to this pioneer woman doctor, by naming a grassy plot of around bounded by three thoroughfares General Luna, Taft Avenue, and San Luis, (now T.M. Kalaw) as plaza Olivia Salamanca.

 

  Olivia Simeona Demetria Salamanca y Diaz was born in San Roque, Cavite City, on July 1,1889. Her father was Jose Salamanca a pharmacist and colonel in the revolutionary army, a signer of the  Malolos Constitution and representative of Cavite. Her mother was Cresencia Diaz of Intramuros, Manila.

 

  Her early education was in Spanish, the language of the family. She learned English in the United States.

 

  Olivia was second of the three daughters, studied first in Cebu where her father work as pharmacist. She remember her teacher , thus: "Our teacher was pretty, but strict; how many times that I get knocked on my head for not knowing my lesson well” In December 1895, the family returned to Cavite and her father took charge of her grandfather’s drug store in San Roque.

 

  Her father engage private teacher for her at home. One of them was Maestra Inocencia Reyes, describe by her as “able, bright and quiet; plainly but neatly dressed  and always calm and cheerful.”

 

  As a child she enjoy playing with water. She recalled in her autobiography that she “would bathe to her heart’s content where ever she came close enough to a jar of water.” Year’s later she wrote :”I see now why I have such a weakness for natural bodies of water- a spring, a brook, a river, a fall, and a sea. They touch me very deeply and excite  in me a love of grandeur, an almost spiritual love, they fill me with delight and awe, mingled with a sense of incompleteness.

 

  She studied in La Sagrada Familia (now the academy of sacred heart) in Cavite, Cavite. She left this private school and enrolled n public school in Cavite with Dona Socorro Kaingal de Reyes as one of her first teacher.

 

  She took the competitive examination in 1905 and was sent to the United States as government pensionada.

 

  As she had not complete the secondary course, she enrolled at a high school at St. Paul, Minnesota, then at Drexel Institute in Philadelphia. The plan of her was to take up a teaching course, but her personal inclination was to take a medical course. She was admitted in 1906 to the Philadelphia Medical College in Pennsylvania. She won  a prize in anatomy in her second year college. She also took the U.S Civil Service examination and passed.


 

 

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