Today in Philippine History, February 19, 1888, Dona Aurora Aragon Quezon was born in Baler, Tayabas

Saturday February 18, 2012 ()

On February 19, 1888, Dona Aurora Aragon Quezon, wife of Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon, was born in Baler, Tayabas (now Aurora province.)

Dona Aurora stayed in the background during her husband's political life, involving herself with women's organizations such as the National Federation of Women's Clubs, of which she was honorary chairman.

  
   (Aurora Aragon Quezon in Malacañang)

As the first presidential couple to reside in Malacañang, First Lady Aurora spent as little time as possible there, preferring to stay in a "nipa house" in Malacañang Park or in her farm, Kaleidan, in Arayat, Pampanga.

Still, she was an active First Lady, engaging herself in the campaign to give Filipino women the right of suffrage, which was achieved in 1937.

She was involved in the Girl Scouts of the Philippines and the Associación de Damas Filipinas, a noted orphanage in Manila, honorary president of another orphanage, the White Cross, located in San Juan. She accompanied her husband to Corregidor in December, 1941, where Quezon was inaugurated to a second term as President, being sworn in by Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos on December 30, 1941.

The First Family began their long journey to escape the Japanese invaders in February 1942 and finally reached the United States in June of the same year.

While in the U.S., she devoted her time to the care of her ailing husband, who died in Saranac, New York from tuberculosis on August 1, 1944. Mrs. Quezon then moved to California to await their return to the Philippines. She and her daughters volunteered as nurses for the Red Cross.

She served as the first chairperson of the Philippine National Red Cross when it was established as an independent Red Cross Organization in 1947, and held the position until her death. She was also named as honorary vice president of the Philippine Tuberculosis Society.

She continued to be involved in civic work, such as the efforts to rebuild the Antipolo Church. She received honorary doctorates from the University of Santo Tomas and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. She was likewise bestowed the Ozanam Award from the Ateneo de Manila University, and the Pro Ecclessia et Pontifice Cross from Pope Pius XII.

She died on April 28, 1949 in an ambush by the Huks in Bongabong, Nueva Ecija, en route to open a hospital dedicated to her husband.

The former sub-province of Aurora was created as a separate province named in her memory in 1979.

Reference: Philippine News Agency archives


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