Sat. Dec 14th, 2019

Google honors Filipina scientist Maria Orosa

Google features on Friday Maria Ylagan Orosa, a Filipino food scientist and veteran war heroine, in commemoration of her 126th birthday. Orosa was the brains behind the Filipino favorite banana ketchup, which has grown to become one of the staples of Filipino cuisine. (Image courtesy of Google)

Google on Friday featured Maria Ylagan Orosa, a Filipino food scientist and veteran war heroine, in commemoration of her 126th birthday.

“It is always inspiring to see the life and work of Filipino women from our history and we are glad to honor Maria Ylagan Orosa, one of the country’s most influential Filipinas, with a special Doodle,” said Bernadette Nacario, Google Philippines country director.

Nacario expressed hope that “this serves as a reminder for Filipinas to pursue their passions and use their talent and skills for the greater good.”

Orosa studied at the University of Seattle, where she completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in pharmaceutical chemistry and an additional degree in food chemistry.

In 1922, she returned to the Philippines to help address the rising problem of malnutrition in her homeland, despite being offered the assistant chemist position in the State of Washington.

With her extensive knowledge of chemistry, she was able to develop numerous culinary innovations, such as the Palayok Oven made from fitting a traditional earthenware pot with two sheets of metal.

This particular invention provided remote villages that lack access to electricity with a more effective means of cooking over an open fire.

Orosa was also the brains behind the Filipino favorite banana ketchup, which has grown to become one of the staples of Filipino cuisine.

Using mashed bananas as the base instead of tomatoes, she made the sauce a long-lasting hit.

Two other inventions that etched her in Philippine history were the Soyalac, a nutrient-rich drink made from soya beans, and the Darak, rice cookies packed with Vitamin B. Both of these saved countless lives during World War II.

In recognition of Orosa’s contributions to society, the National Historical Institute installed a marker in her honor at the Bureau of Plant Industry in Manila in 1983.

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