Fernanda S. Balboa
Fernanda Salcedo Balboa (b. October 8, 1902 - d. May 24, 1999), a social worker and one of the most civic-minded women of the Philippines, was the Founder of the Reapers' Club in Tayug, Pangasinan.
She was born in Dagupan, Pangasinan. Her parents were Marcelino Salcedo and Maria Pilar del Prado, who were both teachers from their hometown. At the early age of fourteen, Balboa showed her civic-mindedness by forming a club that would help her community. They used to have a fundraising campaign that would benefit their hometown. Among their projects were the construction of a monument for Dr. Jose Rizal and beautification of the Tayug Plaza; and the reconstruction of the dilapidated town hall. She studied at the Centro Escolar de Senoritas, where she became active in extracurricular works, particularly in their college magazine in which she was the editor. After graduating in college (with honors), she took up law at the Philippine Law School where she also continued her passion for writing.
In 1926, she married Natalio M. Balboa who was then the legal counselor of the Central Bank of the Philippines. They were blessed with seven children, and all of them became professionals. On June 9, 1979, the couple received the Patnugan Award from the CAWP.
Social and Civic Works
Balboa ran a kindergarden school from 1933 to 1941. She helped in financing the studies of the brightest pupils that could no longer support their schooling due to poverty. During the World War II, she joined the underground movement, and helped in establishing the home for the soldiers who were recovering from their wounds and illness during the war. She also established a community kitchen in Antipolo and Dimasalang, and in places where food was scarce.
After the war and peace was restored in the country, the Philippine Association of University Women resumed its activities, where she was appointed executive secretary. For eleven years, she was the president of the League of Women Voters of the Philippines, an organization which helped in the passing the New Civil Code, particularly, the inheritance laws. She drafted and worked on the legislation of the creation of the Women's and Minor's Bureau under the Department of Labor.
The Association of University Women recognized her active socio-civic involvement in the country, and as such, granted her a scholarship to the Columbia University where she pursued studies in social legislation.
Balboa's life became a living proof of her dedication and participation in the country's civic, social, and political affairs. All this came from her philosophy: "Success is equal to the amount of sacrifice you give".
- Founder and President, Children's Museum and Library Inc., which aims "to discover and develop the ability and talent of the Filipino Youth."
- Founder, Friendship, Inc., which seeks "to generate widespread interest in giving opportunities to former prison inmates to earn decent living for themselves and their families."
- Organizer and Vice President, Women's Rights Movement of the Philippines, which aims "to gather and disseminate information on the status, rights, and obligations of women in the Philippines as well in other countries."
- Organizer and National Coordinator of the National Movement for Free Elections, among its purpose is "to wage a nationwide nonpartisan campaign in the Philippines for free, clean, and honest elections."
- Organizer and acting President of the Pan-Pacific Women's Association of the Philippines during its organizational stage
- President, Pan-Pacific Southeast Asia Women's Association (honorary president)
- Charter member, Philippine Mental Health Association
- Life member, Philippine Association of University Women
- Board member, Organization for the Advancement of the Deaf
- Member, Federacion International de Abogadas
- President, Moral Rearmament Foundation of the Philippines
- Member of the Executive Board, National Association for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse
- Member of the Executive Board, of the International Alliance of Women Conference, held in Germany in 1972
- Vice President, Business and Professional Women's Association of the Philippines
Awards and Citations
- Awardee of the Civic Assembly of Women of the Philippines, for her exemplary civic works in 1968.
- Recipient of the award for the Children's Museum and Library, Inc., from CAWP.
- Ancheta, Hermina M. and Michaela Beltran-Gonzales. Filipino Women in Nation Building. A compilation of Brief Biographies. Quezon City: Phoenix Publishing House, 1984.