Trinidad Fernandez Legarda

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Trinidad Fernandez-Legarda was a Civic leader and Diplomat. The first lady ambassador and chief of mission of the Republic of the Philippines.



She was born in Cuyo, Palawan on March 28, 1899. She is one of the thirteen children of Clemente Fernandez and Vicenta Rodriguez. She married Benito "Ben" Legarda and had three children namely: Benito Legarda, Jr., Filomena F. Legarda and Carmen Legarda.


  • Woman Suffrage

She was a leading suffragette and campaigned actively for woman suffrage. In 1931 she wrote an essay on "Philippine Women and the Vote". She was associated with women leaders like Pilar Hidalgo Lim and war heroine and martyr Josefa Llanes Escoda.

As ambassador to the Republic of South Vietnam (1958-1962), the country where 2,000 soldiers had been sent for civic action (1966), she negotiated the first Treaty of Friendship between the two countries. The signatories were former President Carlos P. Garcia and the late President Ngo Dinh Diem during the former's state visit and goodwill tour in South Vietnam in 1959. Mrs. Legarda played a key role in this successful trip of President Garcia.

  • Aside from the usual diplomatic functions, Mrs. Legarda got many invitations to visit orphanages, day nurseries, children's camps, and the like. The Vietnamese expressed their gratitude to our people for her civic work in South Vietnam. She was not only ambassador to South Vietnam but also minister plenipotentiary to Laos and Cambodia. She was accredited to look after the interests of Filipinos in two countries.
  • She also headed or helped organize and promote various civic, cultural, professional, and social movements in the country. As executive secretary, then president for six years of the National Federation of Women's Clubs, the biggest women's aggrupation in the Philippines, she was responsible for the post-war rehabilitation of the federation and the reconstruction of its damaged headquarters. The federation undertakes a wide range of civic and charitable activities. Among them are providing lodging for young ladies, setting up community playgrounds, conducting free nursery schools, and holding seminars on leadership.
  • She also became the president of the Manila Symphony Society for twenty five years (1933-1958). She helped build the Manila Symphony Orchestra, the country's oldest symphony orchestra and the first one that gave a regular musical season in east Asia since the pre-World War II days of the world's great classics. For her dedicated and pioneering leadership in this field, Mrs. Legarda is known as the "Mother of the Symphony Movement of the Philippines."
  • Other notable organizations in which she has involved herself are the following:
  • Civic Assembly of Women, Pan-Pacific Philippines, Community Chest of the Philippines, Community Development Commission, Associated Charities of Manila, Philippine Red Cross, Catholic Women's League, Philippine Mental Health association, and other equally important groups. Because of her involvement in these organizations, she was elected "Civic Leader of the Year" for 1952, the first Filipino woman to be given this honor by the Community Chest Organizations.

In 1945 after the liberation of the Philippines, she was chosen to represent the Philippines in the International assembly of Women held in New York. That same year, she attended the biennial convention of the general Federation of Women's Clubs in Oregon; in the subsequent conventions of the same organization (1948 and 1950, held in Massachusetts and Minnesota), she was also the Philippine delegate.

  • Doña Trining likewise attended as Philippine representative the following conferences abroad: Rotary International Conference, Michigan, 1950, Mexico city, 1952, and Philadelphia, 1956; Fifth International Conference of Social Work, France, 1950; Eighth UNESCO General Conference in Uruguay 1954; Community Chest Lay Leaders' Conference, Idaho, U.S.A., 1956.
  • Girls Scouts of the Philippine. She was an original, having witnessed the signing of the GSP, chapter in 1940 and elected Vice National Commissioner in the first election of GSP officers. She also served as 2nd Vice-President and International Commissioner. She was elected national president for 1977-79, relinquishing the post only when an accident impaired her mobility. However, she continued to meet GSP officers for meetings in her residence until her health no longer permitted this from 1986 on. Her attachment to the GSP was such that she asked to be buried in her Girl Scout terno.

External Link

Roces family tree


  • de Guzman,Jovita V.,Vicente A. Santiago,Remedios T. de Leon and Teresita E. Erestain. Women Of Distinction; Biographical Essays on Outstanding Filipino Women of the Past and the Present. Philippines: Bukang Liwayway, 1967



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