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Today in Philippine History, May 9, 1872

On May 9, 1872, Gregorio Torres Singian, the so-called Father of Philippine Surgery, was born in San Fernando, Pampanga.

Dr. Singian, who completed a degree in medicine from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in March 1896, founded the Philippine College of Surgeons in 1936.

Notably, when he was director of the San Juan De Dios Hospital in 1920, it was affiliated with UST and became the UST Department of Surgery in 1929 where he instituted programs and residencies that helped make Philippine medicine what it is today.

He traveled extensively to Europe, visiting clinics and acquiring expertise pertaining to surgery. Upon his return to the country, he put up a modern laboratory electro-therapy clinic.

Prior to that, in 1907, Dr. Singian was appointed as the first Filipino associate professor of surgery in the Philippine Medical School, which later became the University of the Philippines College of Medicine.

During the Filipino-American War, he served as a doctor in the Philippine forces under General Maximino Hizon and General Tomas Mascardo.

It is said that he treated President Manuel Luis Quezon for malaria, nursing him back to health in his home in Pampanga and they became life-long friends.

He was the editor of the “Revista Filipina de Medicina y Farmacia” [Philippine Review of Medicine and Pharmacy], the maiden issue of which saw light in 1910.

He died on January 29, 1937 at the age of 64. (PNA)

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