of Mandaue, Cebu, Philippines
Catalina Perez, probably 1940s
Catalina Perez was born April 30, 1900, the daughter of Catalino Seno and Bonifacia
Perez.  She died on May 21, 1998, age 98 years.  'Na Taling, as she was
known, lived in Alang Alang, in the house which belonged to her mother.  The property,
located on P. Burgos Street, was adjacent to that of several family members, including Isabel and
Teodorico Perez and Gregorio Cortes.
Well educated, 'Na Taling, pursued a career in nursing, primarily in the public schools.  A
pair of calendar-notebooks, largely used in the the 1970s and 1980s, give a glimpse of 'Na
Taling's career and her personality.  Key events are summarized in the following list:
|| * 1908-?
|| Elementary/Secondary Education.
|| * 1920-1924
|| St. Luke's Nursing School; Manila.
|| * 1924-1928
|| Red Cross Nurse; Cebu.
|| * 1928-1941
|| Supervisor of Nursing, Cebu Public Schools.
|| * 1941
|| Supervisor of Nursing, Camarines Sur Public
|| * 1941-1944
|| War Years; Cebu.
|| * 1945-1947
|| Supervisor of Nursing, Camarines Sur Public
|| * 1947-1963
|| Supervisor of Nursing, Leyte Public Schools.
|| * 1963-1998
'Na Taling's education began in the Mandaue Public Schools, where she
attended Elementary and Secondary grades.  Copies of her report card for the 1913-14,
1914-15 and 1915-16 school years indicate she was a good student, with an average grade of
Catalina's Report Card |
'Na Taling continued her education by attending St. Luke's Nursing School in Manila.
According to Mamerto Basilgo13
Catalina was recommended by the American employer of her uncle, Sancho Basilgo.  She successfully completed
nursing school and took the Nursing Exam on April 14-16, 1924.  Her overall passing
grade of 79.3% was second highest for St. Luke's Nursing School.  She continued to take
educational course work throughout her professional career, including two years of secondary
course work at Naga Teachers College.
Catalina's initial appointment was as a Red Cross Public Health Nurse in Cebu City, which she
began in 1924.  Then in October 1927, she received a letter from B. Frilden Nutter, the
Division Superintendent of Schools in Cebu with an offer to become the Supervising Teacher of
Hygiene and Sanitation for the Division.  Her initial salary was 1,080 Pesos per year, with
travel allowance of 30 Pesos per month.  With clearance from the Red Cross, Catalina
accepted this new position and began work in January 1928.
Catalina Perez about 1958|
Catalina served as Supervising Teacher of Hygiene and Sanitation until the middle of
1941.  At this point, she was transferred to Camarines Sur, again as Supervisor of Nursing
in the Public Schools.  As indicated below, this transfer was for cause.
Her first tour in Camarines Sur was cut short by the Japanese attack in December, and Catalina
returned to Cebu for the duration of the war.  She resumed her duties in 1946.  It
was during this period that she completed classes at Naga Teachers College.  Then, in
1949, Catalina was transferred to Leyte, where she again served as Supervisor of Nursing in the
Public Schools.  In October 1963, she took terminal leave from her supervisor position and
finally retired in April 1964, returning to Mandaue.
'Na Taling's career was not all smooth sailing.  She was a strict disciplinarian and
expected much of the nurses and teachers under her charge.  The following excerpt from a
letter written by a co-supervisor explains the important contributions Catalina effected in Cebu,
but also highlights some of the problems she created.
|| At that division staff conference, Miss Perez
was appraised of the serious problem of health in the schools, no clinics, no toilets, and no
first-aid teachers.  General cleanliness was poor.  Miss Perez saw the immensity of
the health problem.  With unselfishness and enthusiasm, health work was organized,
clinics began to be constructed, medicines and medical supplies were available.  The five
phases of school health programs were implemented.  Water facilities were provided in
all schools.  Sanitary toilets were constructed.  They were screened from public
view for privacy.  First-aid teachers were appointed and trained.  Health instruction
was emphasized.  The nurses religiously stuck to their itineraries.  But the prize for
these improvements of the health activities was the vituperative insults heaped upon her.
Those who were inclined to go home everyday and report late to duty, leave their station ahead
of time found in Perez a strict disciplinarian.  Those who zealously performed their duties
were her friends.  Many a time she has been accused of favoritisms by many.  I
agree with them.  She has her favorites among those who, like her, are doing their duty
well regardless of the cost in time, money, and health.  There was once upon a time a
nurse who lost her life in the service of those soldiers who suffered during the Crimean
War.  She was called the white angel.
The letter nicely reflects the strict discipline and high standards she
maintained.  These characteristics were undoubtedly important to her success in
improving conditions in the public schools.  However, her strictness clearly caused
problems as indicated by this excerpt from a letter written to the Division Superintendent
in Leyte by the Director in Manila.
|| ...and Miss Perez transfer from Cebu to another
division before the war was for cause.  She was found guilty of maltreating and
humiliating her subordinates...
Catalina's high expectations and strictness carried over into her
personal life.  In particular, she was proud of her Perez heritage, calling her grandfather
Don Ignacio in respect of his standing in
society.  Catalina would often regale guests with tales of her suitors, including many
prominent residents of Mandaue.  Twice in her notes, she listed 25 suitors, beginning with
a seventh grade classmate and extending through her professional career.  Sadly, none
lived up to her expectations, and she remained single throughout her life.  Catalina's pride
also led her to disapprove of the marriage of close relatives, whom she felt were marrying
beneath themselves.  This included her brother Carlos, whose marriage to a school teacher
she initially opposed.
These pages are our initial attempt to capture the history and genealogy of the Perez family.
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