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“Doubt Kills more dreams than Failure ever will.”

-Suzy Kassem( American author, film director, philosopher, short story writer, essayist, and poet.)

Harsh Reality of Life

There comes a point in one’s life when you feel like retreating and squeezing into an empty shell. Shutting down all doors, closing your windows and blocking away all the holes that expose even the most conspicuous space of a single ray of light.All that is left but total eerie darkness and silence. I was bothered by the thoughts of watching a loved one slowly deteriorate, regress and degenerate right in front of me. For the past few weeks, I have been reflecting on those thoughts.

Figured everyone on this planet goes through such painful phase, this is the harsh reality and vicious cycle we all call LIFE There are many a time when we let FEAR overcome and shadow our goals and dreams.

Social Media Experiment

There were many times I found talks about massacres and a number of Filipino natives who were killed during the Phil-American War. What made the Social Media Experiment interesting was a discussion how Cholera was able to bring both Filipinos and Americans together to overcome an epidemic which wiped out 202,000 Filipino Men, Women and Children I was surprised to learn that there were also American Civilians and US Veterans who succumbed to Cholera.


battle of Caloocan Phil American War 1899

For the past few years, I have been active with a Facegroup called Phil-American War. 

As an avid novice Historian Buff, I grew up fascinated with History, specifically about the events of the Philippine American War.I have read and studied Philippine History as part of the curriculum from my primary years, secondary and college life.At that time the subjects were a prerequisite before I finally majored in Marketing Management.

What made the Phil-American War Facegroup interesting where the pictures and documents I have never seen this time at the side of the Americans.  There were numerous talks and discussions about the war and atrocities that were committed on the side of the Americans as Filipinos as well. Filipinos were branded as Insurgents and not Nationalist who were fighting for foreign oppression and Independence of a young Republic.

Timeline of the Philippine-American War Pre-War 1898


Prior to the Spanish–American War, the Philippine Revolution against Spain had been suspended by the Pact of Biak-na-Bato. Following on that pact, Emilio Aguinaldo, who had been leader of the Katipunan, went into exile in Hong Kong along with other revolutionary leaders. Some revolutionaries remained in the Philippines and continued the revolution. When the Spanish–American War broke out, American forces sailed for the Philippines and decisively defeated the Spanish Navy. Aguinaldo then returned to the Philippines, and resumed a leadership role in the revolution. As the Spanish–American War continues, Aguinaldo proclaims Philippine independence and establishes an insurgent government. On December 10, 1898, the U.S. and Spain sign the Treaty of Paris, ending the war. In one provision of the treaty, Spain ceded the Philippines to the U.S. (wikipedia Timeline of the Philippine American War)

Dr. Felix Ira Concepcion Medical Doctor, Entrepreneur, and Educator(1898 to 1975)

There was an infant who was born on July 11,1898. His parents Zacarias Yra and Felicidad Concepcion(for verification);

John Tewel Collection 1924

Lass resembles my Grandmother Carmencita Salumbides Ira

hailed from Saluysoy, Meycauyan Bulakan. A few weeks ago I had a discussion with my father about our family tree. I only got to realize the reason why we had only a small clan. For years I have been wondering about the family tree’s background. The only pictures I saw was at the time Dr. Felix Yra Concepcion where when he graduated from the old Ateneo De Manila in Intramuros in high school(1915?) and when he graduated as a Medical Doctor from the University of the Santo Thomas in Intramuros in the early 1920s

For years we have attempted to trace the family tree. I was told my grandfather even at his time attempted to trace and create the family tree. This made me wonder, My great grandfather Zacarias Yra was a known Panday or blacksmith from Saluysoy Mecauyan Bulacan. The years and the World War II have seemingly erased the information I was looking for.

The Philippine American War Facebook Group was somehow able to piece together some missing information I was looking for.My dad who turned 89 years old informed me that there were different epidemics that occurred before the turn of the century. One of which was the  Cholera which occurred between 1902 and 1905. This information gave me an insight during those difficult years of my grandfather.


Epidemics in the 1900s
Before the 20th century hit, on September 29, 1898, the Americans established a military Board of Health with Dr. Frank S. Bourns as president.

The purpose of this Board of Health was to care for injured American troops but as the hostilities between Filipinos and Americans waned in 1901, a civilian Board of Health was now deemed appropriate with Dr. Louis Mervin Maus as the first health commissioner.
In the 1900s, the Filipinos health status was in shambles. The country reeled from epidemics of cholera, plague, and smallpox. Other serious infectious diseases like tuberculosis, typhoid fever, and malaria were also so common but since they’ve been around for so long, they were not considered epidemics anymore.

The Philippines had a high death rate of 28 per 1,000 persons during non-epidemic years (compared to present death rate of only 7 per 1,000). During epidemics, the death rates rose to as high as 60 per 1,000. Infant mortality rate were also very high.

The Cholera Epidemic of 1902-1905
This nightmare started on March 20, 1902 when two cases resembling cholera were admitted at San Juan de Dios Hospital for treatment. Hospital physicians immediately notified the Board of Health. Within an hour, a Health Commissioner arrived and confirmed the diagnosis.
Just as cholera had done in other countries, the Philippines proved to be a fertile ground. In the first three days, thirty-seven cases were confirmed. In just ten days, the cases rocketed to one hundred & two with an astounding death rate of ninety percent.

Realizing the gravity of the situation, the Board of Health carried out Government Order 66, which called for the burning of infected nipa huts. So, on March 27, 1902, the entire Farola district in Tondo was burned down, leaving its natives confused and homeless.

During these epidemic years, people were not educated on how to prevent cholera from spreading. The contaminated water supply, rampant defecation in the rivers, and lack of hospitals contributed to the rapid spread of the disease.
As the epidemic raged on, the American health commissioners were helpless against the disease.

The first health commissioner Lieut. Col. L.M. Maus could not handle the strain and suffered a mental breakdown. His replacement Dr. Frank S. Bourns stayed on for only a month and resigned to pursue his own business interests.
All in all, 200,222 lives including 66,000 children were lost. Three percent of the population was decimated in the worst epidemic in Philippine health history. Few remember this horrible tragedy.

During the cholera epidemic of 1902-1905, the Americans advocated cremation of bodies, outlawing of funerals, and land quarantine. All these foreign actions conflicted with Filipino customs of funeral visits and visiting of the sick. The result was the worst epidemic in Philippine history with around 202,000 Filipinos dead! Few remember and take heed of this horrible tragedy.

The Search 1920 to 1970

My late grandfather and clan have attempted to check the records in the past. I have a speculative notion now why my grandfather became a General Practitioner who specialized in Surgery, CardioVascular and Internal Medicine. What made me decide to tell this story is to remind me. It would be best to leave and forget the past. What is important is to remember a loved one while they are still alive and what life they have lived to bring the clan to its present status.


Somehow this will remind me that trials, epidemics, tribulation, and war will always be there to face us. What is important is how you can carry on despite such trials. The choice would be to either succeed or remain as an unknown nameless statistic casualty in this world.

Essence of Social Media

Social Media and the Internet are powerful tools. I originally began writing this blog that Doubt Kills More Dreams than Failure. Never doubt your dreams, we have limited time in this world to do what we have to do and achieve.

There are numerous stories of individuals who have started from scratch and overcoming their weakness. Dr. Felix Ira Concepcion grew up with a father who worked as a Panday or blacksmith. Yet my grandfather became an outstanding Medical Practitioner, Writer, Pharmacist, Educator, and Entrepreneur. He passed away at the age of 75 due to Cancer of the Esophagus at the Family Clinic in Sta Cruz Manila.

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