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THE FIRST PHARMACIST OF MY TOWN
by Diosdado P. Basconcillo, as edited by Juanita Pangilinan de Reyes
February 19, 1947
From the basket of cakes to the executive table is the life of Gervasio Pangilinan, historian, poet, orator, leader, and pharmacist, which, to all, the town of Cavite will long remember. The earlier period of his life was a hard and busy one; yet, amidst those surmountable obstacles he became successful due to his industry and grim determination. A man of sound judgment and good nature, Mr. Pangilinan was a friend of everyone. He dealt with people squarely. All were friends to him. People of every walk of life went to him. His drug store was a rendezvous of "big" and "small" persons every night. People ask not only for medical advice but also for counsel in everyday life which Mr. Pangilinan was always ready to give. Big "politicos" met in the drug store to talk about their never-ending subject and news of the day. So friends had come and gone to his drug store and had invited him to deliver speeches, orations, etc. All these things come so often that Mr. Pangilinan was never left alone. His life was a good example for the young. He was a man who tried hard and succeeded. He had a keen insight of his future for had he taken the wrong course of life he should not have been the pharmacist Pangilinan known to almost all Cavitenos.
He was born on June 19, 1876 in San Roque, Cavite, to Doroteo Pangilinan and Nicolasa Enriquez. His first schooling was under Julian Acerda Cruz Trinidad; second, under Anastacio Pinzon y Jose in 1890. The next year he studied in San Juan de Letran under Professor Rev. Serapio Tamayo, then rector of the University of Santo Tomas. In 1893, he enlisted as apprentice in pharmacy at Canacao Marine Hospital, and in 1895, he matriculated in the School of Pharmacy Sto. Tomas University. He obtained his title on March 22, 1897 from Blas Carlos Alcuaz, secretary of the Royal Pontifical University of Sto. Tomas. The Rector during that time was Fr. Santiago Paya.
His Active Part in the Revolution
In the revolution of 1896, he joined the Spanish Army. He was surgeon in August and assigned to duty at the 1st. Company of the 1st. Battalion, 2nd. Regiment of the Infanteria Naval in barrio Quintana Sta. Cruz, Malabon, Cavite. In November he was ordered to assume duties in the infirmary of the same regiment at Cavite under the command of Captain Francisco Garcia (Medical Corp). During the struggle between Spain and the United States, he was assigned on April 25, 1898 to duty at the Battery in Sisiwan, Mariveles. The Spanish fleet was defeated, and had given up Fort Corregidor on May 3, 1898. He was sent with his company the same afternoon to Mariveles, Bataan direct to Manila. Her arrived in Manila on May 12, 1898. With the establishment of the dictatorial government by General Aguinaldo, he deserted the camp in the afternoon of June 5, 1898 by using a banca tied up in the lighthouse of Manila and came to Cavite. Her served the revolutionary government from April 8, 1898 to April 1900.
His Life as a Pharmacist
In April, 1900, he returned to his hometown, San Roque, where he began his practice of pharmacy in the "Botica San Roque" whose proprietor was Jose Salamanca. From October, 1900 to April, 1902, he was surgeon in the camp stationed at Santolan, Rizal, under the American Army. On January 1, 1903, he went to Balanga, Bataan to manage the "Farmacia Nueva" newly established in that place. He stayed a year in here. From March up to June 1904, he was pharmacist of Farmacia Miguel Sta. Maria at Lavezares, San Nicolas, Manila. From July 1, 1904 up to June 1906, he managed the Farmacia Union in San Roque, Cavite. He later managed the Farmacia Macabebe in Macabebe, Pampanga up to April, 1907. He had managed several drug stores before he established his own drug store, among which are Farmacia Filipino at Calle Clavel, Manila; Farmacia Union in San Roque, Cavite in 1908; Farmacia San Roque, in San Roque, Cavite. He managed one, too, in Magdalena, Laguna owned by Mr. Ramon Zaide; the Standard Pharmacy in Olongapo, Zambales owned by Mr. Edward Gallagher; Farmacia Paz owned by Dr. Matias Aznar in Cavite in July 1918, Mr. Pangilinan established the "Pangilinan's Drug Store". It is still open to the public until this date. As a pharmacist, he was successful and more than that he was admired and loved by the town people. Most of the time, he treated people gratis especially in time of emergency. Friends call him "Doc" because his long experience as a pharmacist plus his experience as a surgeon in the army helped him in understanding the sickness and their cure.
"I owe my life to that old man", I used to hear some exclaim.
"I even shouted at Mang Basio and called him bad names when he operated on my boil, but thanks to him. Hi is a swell man," others would say. The scars left by the treatment of Mr. Pangilinan will make the people he treated, remember him.
The "Laxo Vermifugo Pangilinan" is a very popular vermifugo for expelling worms. It is not only popular in Cavite but also in other provinces. I remember having taken one before and it made me feel like Mr. Pangilinan, too.
As a Political Leader
Mr. Pangilinan was not only a good pharmacist but also a born leader. Realizing that to serve his town with his drug store was not enough, he entered politics in 1911. Recognized to be the best man for the municipal council of Cavite, he was appointed councilor by the Cavite Provincial Board vice Councilor Marcelino Reyes, who resigned in 1911. In 1912, he was appointed vice-president of Cavite, Cavite by the Cavite Provincial Board in place of Rosendo Ejercito Santos. In 1919, when he realized that the whole-hearted support of the people was for him, he ran for the presidential seat of the town against the strong veteran candidates; namely, Serapion Nicolas, Maximo Reyes, Francisco Advincula, Rosendo E. Santos, and Greogorio Basa. And he was elected. He was inducted into office on October 16, 1919. Her served for one term.
As a Poet and a Historian
During his spare time, Mr. Pangilinan shifted to writing and found pleasure in it. In the literary circle, Cavite will remember Mr. Pangilinan for his poems, histories and orations in the Cervantes' language. He was considered the best authority in the Spanish language. His book "Cavite Ante La Historia," his poems such as "A Mi Patria" and others; his articles published in the different newspapers such as "Por Nuestra Heroica Provincia", published in the the La Vanguardia is his famous no only as pharmacist but also a poet, historian, leader and orator of his town.
He died last May 13, 1945 at the age of 69 of an ailment he had been suffering for years. He was survived by his wife, the former Pascuala Herrera, his son Rizal, and grandchildren. One of them Juana, who had taken his footsteps as a pharmacist, keeps his drugstore still open to the public to this date.
Such was the life of a man who made everything of himself yet he was never ashamed to work, to do something, something that was good and beneficial to his town and people.
Original second to the last pharagraph, 1944 text:
Now at the age of 64 he is still strong to serve his people. Mr. Pangilinan or Don Gervasio, as friends call him was not alone during his struggle and until now for Mrs. Pangilinan is also responsible for his success. They married on October 5, 1899. She is the former Pascuala Herrera also from the same town. They had eleven children and only two, Ildefonso and Rizal are living. Don Gervasio finds happiness in seeking his family together. One of them, Juanita, is in the Manila College of Pharmacy and will soon be a lady pharmacist to help her "Lolo".
Note: Pascuala Herrera Pangilinan died Nov. 15, 1957
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