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Without the White Coat

Miss Loreto D. Tupaz… Iloilo's Florence Nightingale

It may have been a reunion of some sort in the centennial celebration of Central Philippine University. The Iloilo Mission Hospital chapel was jampacked with nurses from the United States, Europe and the Philippines. It was a momentous occasion that brought back memories (unforgettable ones filled with joy and laughter) that was left behind by a disciplinarian… Miss Loreto D. Tupaz .

During my younger years I used to stay at the IMH “nurses' home” together with my younger sister when our beloved mother will go on duty. I may have enjoyed that beautiful park in the middle of the quadrangle riding the carabao made of cement and that crawling turtle also made of cement but I always stay clear if I see the shadow of “Miss Tupaz”.

They may have called her as the “Grand Dame of Discipline” , but it is these virtues that our “nanay” never forget to pass along to her students. Miss Tupaz serves as an example for her students, her name connotes discipline and punctuality. The “Miss Tupaz Syndrome” may have passed down the nurses that have trained under her bringing nursing care to the highest degree in the Philippines. She may be labeled as a conservative, but the teachings and knowledge that she left had guided a lot in pursuing their careers in the United States of America. Nursing had served as the link between Central Philippine University and Iloilo Mission Hospital and through the years Mission is synonymous with Central. From Franklin Hall to the IMH nurses' home, Miss Tupaz has always let her presence felt. You may see some of the nursing students either taking a quick left or right at the sight of Miss Tupaz. It may have been the “Miss Tupaz magic” that had kept some or all of the nursing students in toe, or is it the ideals that she stands for. A lady that stands at five feet plus and looking at her frail body which may not weigh more than 100 pounds where punctuality is an everyday virtue, in her own words comes regulations and policies. And one thing that separates her from the rest of the community, may it be in Mission or in CPU, she is a person with unquestioned honesty and integrity, traits and virtues that had not obscured her image in our community. It is the integrity and honesty that had been missing among us and had brought about some obscured images and questionable personalities within us and our community.

During her confinement at the old department H, my mom (nanay) used to get her some milk products, even though she may not have remembered. That frail lady lying in her bed was an inspiration to all, a light in Florence Nightingale's lamp to guide the future generations and gave light to one's road in this world's darkness in search for what is right and just being honest in our daily lives and conscience even though others won't take a bulge to do the same. The ideal “Christian life” ruled by our conscience and not by the selfish personal human needs of man.

May we all follow that footsteps that Miss Tupaz had left behind, an image well admired throughout the world, the best nursing care man has ever seen, the compassion to care, not just a cure or treatment, but the caring for the human being in this world. A memory left to my dear “nanay” which was passed along her children, the belief that man was not judged by the money that he/she have but by the virtues that had set forward and made to rule his/her life. The virtues which are now missing in our midst and generation and whose biggest products are graft and corruption which have governed our lives. Lessons learned: Don't be wolves in sheep's clothing and do what is right and always be ruled by your conscience (if you got one) when questions of honesty come out. Do what is right according to what had been set forward.