Don Vicente Quirino was one of the early Filipino educators. Born in 1835 of a Spanish father and a Filipino mother in Manila, he studied at Letran and the University of Santo Tomas where he obtained the title of Professor of the first two years of the Second Form (Ensenanza) on July 19, 1871.
Soon thereafter he became engaged to Trinidad Arcinas, daughter of Vicente Arcinas and Juana San Mateo, and one of the 16 children in that large family. Family tradition has it that he was undecided if he should enter the priesthood, but after eight years of being enengaged, Trinidad demanded that either they got married or break off the engagement, as she was then nearing her thirties.
As it was, they did not have children until some years later, when Jose Felix was born in Manila in 1884. Their only son became a physician and the well-known gynecologist - Dr. Jose A. Quirino, until his untimely death in Antipolo, Rizal, in 1913, in what was probably the first fatal car mishap in the islands.
Vicente, soon after his marriage and prompted by his bride, decided to open his own school in Bacolor, Pampanga, and after a few years constructed his own edifice in San Fernando, where he had as pupils among others Crisostomo Sotto (the poet known as Crissot), General Jose Alejandrino, Jose de Leon, founder of the Pampanga Sugar Development Company, Marcelino Aguas of Mexico, Aurelio Pineda of barrio San Jose in San Fernando, and Roman Valdes of Porac.
“He believed in the adage then prevailing that learning entered through the blood,” related General Alejandrino to Vicente’s grandson, the historian and National Artist for Historical Literature Carlos Quirino, many years later. “How he used to raise welts on my back – but I deserved it. He was strict, but very just, and I respected him highly.”
The outbreak of the Philippine Revolution in 1896, and the subsequent Philippine-American War, put an end to Vicente’s venture in Pampanga. He then opened a school in Binondo, at the corner of San Fernando and Elcano streets.
“For a good many years he was engaged in the teaching profession,” observed Manuel Artigas y Cuerva in his “Resena Historica de la Real y Pontifica Universidad de Sto. Tomas de Manila” (Manila, 1911, pp. 126, 227, 305 and 420).
Bed-ridden for a year after a bad fall that broke his pelvis bone, he succumbed to pneumonia in 1911, and was buried at the Paco cemetery. He was distantly related to the Vigan family by that surname.
- I. Printed Sources: Manuel Artigas y Cuerva, “Resena Historica de la Real y Pontifica Universidad de Sto. Tomas de Manila,” Manila, 1911, pp. 126, 227, 305 and 420.
- II. Diploma from the University of Sto. Tomas dated July 19, 1871 and attested to by the Secretary, Dr. Antonio Estrada.
- III. Data furnished by the grandson, Carlos Lozada Quirino in 1972.