Quads born in Marinduque, the Philippines only quadruplets

BUENAVISTA, Marinduque – Back in 1956, the Sales Quadruplets—all boys named Bernardo, Bienvenido, Benjamin and Bernabe—held the distinction of being the only quadruplets in the Philippines. As such, they were looked at with awe and wonder, causing nationwide stir, visited by doctors, politicians, movie stars and gawking tourists.

Sales Quadruplets Story, 1957

The Sales quadruplets, possible the only living quadruplets in the Philippines, is nearing their first birthday. They were born to Mr. and Mrs. Aniano Sales of Buenavista, Marinduque last March 12, 1956 assisted only by an untrained “hilot” and delivered in a dingy hut at the foot of a coconut-covered hill. The father, 46, has no sure means of livelihood and works only for two or three days a week in a lumber mill at P2 daily wage. It is not surprising, therefore, that when the four babies were born, he felt confused. He did not know how to keep the babies in their home which is a 3×3 meter hovel, with cogon thatched roof and walls of bamboo and coconut fronds. And Elena Seco-Sales, the mother, 36, has six other children, besides. The family was living in abject misery.

Philippine Quads Thriving – The Philippines only quadruplets, born last March to the wife of a poor worker in Marinduque province, pose for the camera in Marinduque Provincial Hospital where they have been kept since birth. The four Sales boys, who have been thriving under hospital care, will remain wards of the state until their parents can take care of them. Photo by Associated Press Wirephoto, 1956

The mayor of Buenavista upon learning of the occurrence, lost no time in notifying me. I responded immediately by sending an ambulance to pick the children up and whisk them to the hospital. From within three hours after birth, the medical and nursing staff of the hospital took care of the babies with the meagre facilities at their disposal. Offers to adopt the quadruplets have been courteously turned down by the father, probably for sentimental reasons. Upon representations made by me, Filipro, Inc. of Manila donated Pelargon milk to the babies, with which they were fed since birth.

Despite apprehensions in some quarters about chances of survival; the children named Bernardo, Bienvenido, Benjamin and Bernabe weighed 3.5 lbs., 3 lbs., 4 3/4 lbs., and 3 3/4 lbs. respectively. Now, at 11 months of age they weigh 13 lbs. 15 oz, 13 1/2 lbs., 19 lbs., & 15 lbs. 6oz respectively. Except for Bernabe, the youngest, who is weak-kneed, they can now sit up strongly with no support or creep and pull their selves up. They have started to walk; understand many things said to them; and make sounds like “la-la” and “ma-ma”.

The Sales quadruplets have learned hot to overcome their shyness in front of stramgers and present a miniature program of poems, songs and dances for people who coem to visit them. Photo from Alex Castro Archives, The Sunday Times Magazine, 13 June 1965, P. 42

The upbringing of the children, however, remains a problem. A Fund Drive started by the Manila Times did not meet with satisfactorily response from the public. The father and the mother are sickly and remain without employment up to now. No wonder, they have not visited the babies for several months. The Marinduque Provincial Hospital staff is doing its best for the children, but they cannot remain in the institution indefinitely. The hospital staff stands ready to hand the care over to anyone the family chooses.

This story was written by the then Director of Marinduque Provincial Hospital, Dr. Pablo N. Marquez and first published on the Souvenir Program of the Marinduque Association Silver Jubilee Reception & Ball in 1957.

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Romeo A. Mataac, Jr.

Chief Correspondent at Marinduque News Network
Romeo is the founder and chief correspondent of MNN. Concurrently, he is a researcher in a leading global professional services company. Myong, as he is fondly called by his friends, is a true Marinduqueno by heart who loves travelling and exploring places.​

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