Carmen Planas

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Carmen Lim Planas (March 23, 1914 – August 25, 1964), known as "Manila’s Darling", was the first woman to be elected to any public office in the Philippines when she was elected councilor of Manila by general suffrage in 1934. She later served as the capital city's Vice Mayor from 1940 to 1941; and from 1946 to 1951.

Formative years

Carmen Planas was born on March 23, 1914 in Tondo, Manila to Illuminado Planas and Concepcion Lim. Her siblings include Atty. Charito Lim Planas (former Vice Mayor of Quezon City), socialite Adela Planas-Paterno (former Miss Visayas), and businessman Severino L. Planas. She was a consistent class valedictorian from grade school through college.[1] At the Zaragosa Elementary School, she was the top pupil in fourth grade. In the seventh grade, she transferred to Collegio de Sta. Rosa where she also became an honor student. She attended high school at the Holy Ghost College (now known as the Holy Spirit College).[2][3]

She enrolled in pre-law course at the University of the Philippines, where she became a scholar. She earned numerous gold medals in the U.P. College of Law. Once, her debating ability was tested on the issue of women suffrage. She was assigned to take the affirmative side, and advocated it brilliantly. Then, she was assigned to argue the negative side on the same issue, and she defended it with convincing eloquence. This display of rare talent earned her two medals. She also won in Spanish declamation contest.

Political Career

During the height of the Cuervo-Barredo case, Planas made an eloquent and impassioned speech in front of a youth rally, criticizing Commonwealth President Manuel Quezon's interference in the judiciary. The following day, she appeared on the front pages of the metropolitan papers with the headline "U.P. COED ATTACKS QUEZON." She was summoned by Malacañang, and asked why she lambasted the president. She replied that she was only criticizing what the president had done.

After the incident, Wenceslao Vinzons, who was the leader of the Young Philippines Party, nominated her to be their party candidate for the city council of Manila. Later, she became the first woman elected to the city council.

Planas was given the nickname "Manila's Darling" and "Manila's Sweetheart" by her constituents. This was due to an incident when she was hurrying out of the office to go to an appointment, passing by a reporter who had been hoping to interview her. The reporter jokingly asked if she was on her way to a date. Without missing a beat, she replied that her date was with the City of Manila.

Social Works

During the World War II, Planas did not stop serving her fellowmen. She did some undercover work, and rendered exemplary service to the guerillas. She was always seen bringing food and other forms of aid to hospitals and to the homes of the injured ex-servicemen. After the war, she served in various positions in the government. She became the governor and secretary of the Philippine National Red Cross, legal adviser to the Philippine Association of Women Doctors, the Filipino Youth Symphony Organization, and the Women's International League.

In recognition of her excellent work, she was sent by the Philippine National Red Cross as the lone delegate to the convention of Red Cross governors in Oslo, Norway. She was also the Philippines Lawyers Association delegate to the Lawyers International Conference in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Death and legacy

She died at Grant Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, on August 25, 1964 at the age of 50. Planas had devoted her life to public service, and was never married. She had a simple philosophy in life:

"I just do the best I can in any given problem. The results I leave to God who must have a reason for everything that happens."

A street in Tondo, Manila was renamed after her.


  1. Carmen Planas. Retrieved on 19 June 2013.Template:Dead link
  2. Varias-de Guzman, Jovita (1967). Women of distinction: biographical essays on outstanding Filipino women of the past and the present. Philippines: Bukang Liwayway. 
  3. "My sister Carmen", Manila Standard, March 29, 2014. 

Original Source

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