(AVP presentation by RJ Lacson for Ayala Museum ,Feb. 2006)
celebrates the centennial of its founding in February, marking 100 years of caring for the optical needs of Filipinos.
Dr. Federico B. Sarabia, the country’s first optometrist, was only 21 years old when he returned to the Philippines to set up practice in 1906. He had completed his doctorate in optometry at the Northern Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago.
Dr. Sarabia set up his first clinic in Iloilo City then moved the clinic to Escolta, Manila’s downtown center in 1918 where his clientele included distinguished patients like President Manuel L. Quezon and Trinidad Rizal (a sister of Dr. Jose Rizal) whose eyeglass case marked “Sarabia Optical” in now on exhibit in Fort Santiago.
Dr. Sarabia was appointed by President Quezon as chairman of the Optometry Board of Examiners. Later, he founded the Philippine College of Optometry.
At that time when company chains were still uncommon, Dr. Sarabia established multiple branches of his clinics aside from Manila and Iloilo City such as in Cebu, Bacolod, Davao and Roxas City.
Today, Dr. Sarabia’s descendants up to the current fourth generation include 23 optometrists and four opthalmologists who are now spearheading the centennial of Sarabia Opticals.