Severina de Orosa

  (Redirected from Severina Luna de Orosa)

Severina Luna de Orosa (born 11 February 1890 – died 23 May 1984) was a Filipino physician and Hispanist writer. She was one of the earliest female Filipina doctors in the country. She was awarded the Premio Zobel literary prize in 1982, 23 years after her husband Sixto Y. Orosa won the same award. Two of her five children were choreographer Leonor Orosa-Goquingco and writer Rosalinda Orosa.

Severina de Orosa
Severina and Sixto family in 1920.jpg
Dr. Severina Luna de Orosa (left) and her husband Dr. Sixto Y Orosa (sitting right) with 3 of their children in 1920
Born(1890-02-11)February 11, 1890
Manila, Philippines
OccupationPhysician, writer

Early life and educationEdit

Severina was born in Batangas in the Spanish Philippines on 11 February 1890, the daughter of Batangas municipality councilman Remigio Luna and Rafaela Dinglasan.[1] In 1914, she graduated as valedictorian from the University of the Philippines College of Medicine (UP) in Manila, becoming one of the first female physicians in the Philippines. Her class initially started with 32 students but only 9 graduated by the end of the course. She met her future husband Sixto Y. Orosa in her class who graduated salutatorian.


From 1914 to 1915, she taught medical zoology and protozoology at UP.[2]

In 1916, she and her husband moved to Jolo (Sulu), as the first Christian doctors to introduce Western medicine in a predominantly Muslim area.[3] She collaborated with her husband in the public hospital of Sulu, of which he was director and chief surgeon, working as an obstetrician, pediatrician, bacteriologist, anesthesiologist, laboratory technician, and assistant surgeon.[4] In a 1917 report by the United States Department of War, Severina de Orosa was listed as an assistant resident physician at the public hospital of Sulu.[5] The couple worked in the Sulu area until 1926, during this time her husband published an anthropological book titled The Sulu Archipelago and Its People in 1923.[3] In 1926, Severina was appointed physician for the city schools of Manila and later became the chief of the maternity and children's hospital in Bacolod. [2]

Orosa was also an active writer in Spanish, Tagalog and English; she frequently authored articles to the Philippines Herald, and was nicknamed the “First Filipino Columnist” by the paper's editor, Modesto Farolan.[4] She also wrote a play about the consequences of sexual promiscuity and sexually transmitted infections called Almost Within Grasp. She authored the book Sex Education in the Home, which emphasised the importance of teaching sex education by parents to their children. Other books that she worked on were based on the Filipino national hero José Rizal, in Rizal and the Filipino Women and Rizal: Man and Hero.[2][6][4]


She died on May 23, 1984 at the age of 94. She was survived by her five children.[2] A marker in her honor was unveiled on December 20, 1990 at the Luna-Orosa Building in Ermita, Manila.[2]

Awards and honoursEdit

  • She was awarded the Premio Zobel literary prize in 1982, 23 years after her husband, Sixto Y. Orosa, won the same award. Her daughter, the writer Rosalina Orosa, also won the award in 1989.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Archipelago, Volumes 3-4; Volumes 25-40. Philippines: Bureau of National and Foreign Information, Department of Public Information. 1977. p. 38. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e "SEVERINA L. OROSA (1890-1984) - ESSAY". Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  3. ^ a b Gaerlan, Barbara S. (1999). "In the Court of the Sultan: Orientalism, Nationalism, and Modernity in Philippine and Filipino American Dance" (PDF). Journal of Asian American Studies. 2 (3): 251–287. doi:10.1353/jaas.1999.0022. S2CID 144022861. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d Orosa, Rosalinda L. (10 May 2008). "Mother's Day tribute to a valiant woman". Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  5. ^ United States War Department (1917). Annual Reports of the War Department. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 262. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  6. ^ "Philippine eLib Portal". 16 June 2008. Retrieved 7 November 2019.