Benito F. Legarda y Roces of Balic-balic, Sampaloc, Manila.
At the back of the Most Holy Trinity Church of Balic-balic, Sampaloc stands the vast Legarda estate which served as residence of Don Benito F. Legarda y Roces and Dona Trinidad Legarda since 1925.
Don Benito F. Legarda y Roces was born October 26, 1898 and passed away July 7, 1973. Don Benito graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of the Philippines in 1919 and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry degree from the same university in 1921. He married Trinidad Fernandez in 1925 (their son, Benito J. Legarda Jr., wrote the book “The Hills of Sampaloc” in 2001). In 1932 (when the former funerary chapel of Balic-balic became officially the Santisima Trinidad church), Don Benito completed his studies as a lawyer from the Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas (where his father, also graduated with the same degree).
During Don Benito’s centenary (1898-1998), special masses were offered in his memory with him being described as a “chemist, lawyer, businessman, civic leader, plant lover, music patron, promoter of industrial and vehicular safety, army officer, war veteran, opponent of foreign and domestic tyranny, husband and father.” (Philippine Star, October 26, 1998, p. 29).
Together with his wife, Trinidad Legarda, parishioners of Santisima Trinidad parish will most remember the couple as instrumental in getting the permission for the funerary chapel of Balic-balic cemetery to be re-opened for masses to be celebrated. Furthermore, they played a major role in renovating the church during the first renovation (1932) and in the inauguration and blessing of the new church structure in October 26, 1969. The cutting of the ceremonial ribbons were done by Mrs. Trinidad Legarda and assisted by Mrs. Encarnacion Manalo and Mrs. Elvira Fabic.
Image: October 26, 1969, Blessing and Inauguration of the new Most Holy Trinity parish church. Don Benito F. Legarda y Roces (second from right, wearing white pants), with Mrs. Encarnacion Manalo (to the left side of Don Benito). Msgr. Bienvenido Lopez, Auxiliary Bishop of Manila (second from left of photo) is standing besides the mayor of the City of Manila, Antonio de Jesus Villegas. Photo courtesy of Atty. Irving Favic.