Back to the barrios
Juan grew up in the Mountain Province where he considers his childhood home. This place teaches him the value for family, community and hard work. It also opened his mind to the concept of inequality and realized that not all people lived the same.
     World war II came and it brought his family to experience challenges in order to survive. It was an experience that brought them closer.  After the war in 1945, his family moved in Baguio where the rest of their lives begun. He got back to school by the age of nine. He finished grade school and high school on top of his class. In their high school yearbook, it even included one of his classmate’s prediction, “Juan Flavier will go to college at the University of the Philippines, become a doctor, attend the John Hopkins University, and one day become secretary of health.” [1] For him, Baguio gave him and his co-teens paradise and romance all the same. Life in Baguio was full of adventure.
     In 1952, he went to Manila to start college. He studied at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine to become a doctor. In UP, he learned community care from Fr. Delaney, an American Jesuit priest, who was a great influence on countless leaders from the State University. He also met his future wife in UP by the name of Alma Susana Aguila, the daughter of a Protestant lay minister and a former governor of La Union. He proposed marriage to her and she said yes in one condition, he would never enter in politics or be in any government position. With that pledge, they eventually got married in 1961. They were blessed with four lovely children.
     After graduating from med school, he took up the medical board exam and passed. He also opted to practice and be trained abroad after graduation but due to circumstances, he was not able to do so not until later in his career. He became a teacher in Bacteriology and Pathology for a year at the University of the East Medical Center.