Sunday, September 4, 2011

El Circulo Femenil de Silay and the Silay Puericulture Center

The Silay Puericulture Center was built in 1915 for P8,000 under the leadership of Dr. Jose Corteza Locsin, (later Senator and Secretary of Health), together with a group of women who called themselves El Circulo Femenil de Silay.  Their mission was to serve mothers and their babies. The center had a doctor, 2 nurses and 3 midwives offering medical services to the community during a time when infant mortality was high.  It was solely supported through the tireless efforts of these women raising money for its operations either by soliciting donations, government support, fund-raising activities like summer balls and bazaars, carnivals, concerts, food fairs, rummage sales, etc.  I remember fun summers as a teen when we would help in their activities since my mom was an active member and one of the last presidents of the club before it dissolved, mainly because government support for the puericulture center ended as well as the use of the building. Later, we learned that the building was used as an extension of the Silay City Health Office for rehabilitation and nutrition services.  Eventually, this too was transferred to another new location.

Looking at the old buildings and heritage houses in Silay brings back much memories and longing for things of the past. Life was so much simpler then. The puericulture center is where one of my brothers was delivered (an emergency one!), it was the place where Lola Miss (Miss Silva) spent all her years of dedicated nursing work, it was where we would ran for first aid every time we get hurt when playing in the plaza or in the surrounding neighborhood, and most importantly, it was the place where women could always come for free or low cost maternal health services. Behind the building used to be a large tennis court which also served as the venue for cultural shows and balls.  Today, the puericulture building is old and deteriorating.  It currently houses the different rescue groups of the city but I have a feeling that this building will be gone soon as it is not in the list of heritage structures.  It's a pity because it has a lot of important history in the growth and development of health services in Silay.  Maybe because I too am growing older that I feel that the present should always appreciate and learn from the past (yes, good and bad)... it is fact that the past has a lot to do with what we are now in the present.

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