María Orosa

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María Orosa
María Orosa.jpg
María Ylagan Orosa

November 29, 1893
DiedFebruary 13, 1945(1945-02-13) (aged 51)
EducationUniversity of the Philippines Manila
University of Washington

María Orosa e Ylagan[1] (1893–1945) was a Filipino food technologist, pharmaceutical chemist, humanitarian and war heroine.[2] She experimented with foods native to the Philippines and formulated food products like calamansi nip, a desiccated and powdered form of calamansi that could be used to make calamansi juice, banana ketchup, and a powdered preparation of soybeans called Soyalac, a "magic food" preparation which helped save the lives of thousands of Filipinos, Americans, and other nationals who were held prisoner in different Japanese concentration camps during World War II.

With her knowledge of local food properties, Orosa also made contributions in the culinary realm and taught proper preservation methods for native dishes such as adobo, dinuguan, kilawin and escabeche.


Maria Orosa (Historical Park and Laurel Park, Batangas Provincial Capitol Complex).

Born on November 29, 1893 in Taal, Batangas and died on February 13, 1945, Maria Orosa was the fourth child among eight of Simplicio A. Orosa and Juliana Ylagan-Orosa. She had an older brother, Engr. Vicente Ylagan Orosa Sr., Secretary of Public Works and Communications, later Chairman of the Peoples Homesite and Housing Corporation (PHHC) during the administration of President Ramon Magsaysay. Also the sister of pioneer Dr. Sixto Ylagan Orosa Sr. and aunt to famous Filipino banker Sixto L. Orosa, Jr., Philippine National Artist in Dance Leonor Orosa Goquiñgco, successful businessman José R. L. Orosa, award winning cultural journalist Rosalinda L. Orosa, and her biographer Helen Orosa del Rosario.


In commemoration, a street in Ermita, Manila (where the Philippine Court of Appeals is located), as well as a building in the Bureau of Plants and Industry has been named after her. As part of celebrations marking the 65th anniversary of the Institute of Science and Technology, she was one of the 19 scientists conferred an award. On November 29, 1983, the National Historical Institute installed a marker in her honor at the Bureau of Plant Industry in San Andrés, Manila. In commemoration of her centennial anniversary, a postage stamp was issued by the Philippine Postal Corporation.

On November 29, 2018, the occasion of her 125th birth anniversary is being celebrated in her hometown of Taal, Batangas.

Works by Maria Y. Orosa[edit]

  • The history and chemistry of neoarsphenamine (1921)
  • Preservation of Philippine foods (1926)
  • Rice bran: a health food and how to cook it (1932)
  • Roselle recipes (1931)
  • Soy beans as a component of a balanced diet and how to prepare them (1932)


  1. ^ Y is replaced by e before maternal surnames that begin with /i/ immediately followed by a consonant.
  2. ^ MARIA Y. OROSA (1893–1945). Pioneering Food Technologist and Inventor Archived July 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved October 11, 2010

Further reading[edit]

  • Davidson, Alan. (2003). Seafood of South-East Asia: A Comprehensive Guide with Recipes (2nd ed.). Ten Speed Press. pp. 279–295. ISBN 1-58008-452-4.
  • Orosa, Maria Y. and Helen Orosa del Rosario. (1970). Maria Y. Orosa, Her Life and Work (Helen Orosa del Rosario, Ed.). [Quezon City:] R. P. Garcia Pub. Co.