Acosta, Carmen

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Carmen Acosta was born in Manila on February 1, 1904 and died on September 13, 1986. She was the daughter of Godofredo B. Herrera, and Paterna Santos. Her father was a journalist and served for a time as municipal president (or mayor in modern usage) of Caloocan during the American colonial rule. She was a University of the Philippines Bachelor of Philosophy graduate and taught at theTorres High School in Manila.

A trilingual writer (Filipino, Spanish and English), Acosta soon left the teaching profession to become a full time journalist. She became editor of the Filipino weekly magazine Sampaguita, where she also published her essays, short stories and novels. She also wrote for other publications such as Liwayway magazine which honored her with a Short Story Writer of the Year Award” in c. 1952 for her story “Kandidata.” She contributed essays in English to some Philippine magazines, writing about relevant national issues of the day.

She became editor of Pagina Azul (Blue Page) the Spanish section of a Philippine magazine. Here she published her short stories in Spanish. She was also a radio playwright and her plays were aired over the government station DZFM, then managed by Francisco “Koko” Trinidad.,

She first joined government service in the early 1940s working as a linguistic researcher at the Institute if National Language (Surian ng Wikang Pambansa) then headed by the Father of Tagalog Grammar, Lope K. Santos. She was the first Administrator of the government agency which was later to be called the Philippine Housing Authority.

She later joined the Department of Labor in various supervisory capacities. She traveled extensively across the United States of America, observing the labor conditions in that country. Later she also traveled to France,Spain, Italy and Lebanon. In 1961 Herrera Acosta was appointed by President Carlos P. Garcia as the first Director of the Bureau of Women and Minors, an agency of the Department of Labor. As such, she helped in the formulation of labor laws to improve the working conditions of female laborers.

A multi-awarded writer, Herrera Acosta’s published books include “La Carta Redentora y Otros Cuentos” (The Saving Letter and Other Stories) in Spanish; and in Filipino, “Kandidata at iba pang mga Kuwento” (The Woman Candidate and other Stories); “Dangal ng Pangalan at Iba pang Mga Dulang Panradyo” (An Honorable Reputation and other Radio Plays); “Bulaklak ng Pag-ibig at Iba pang Mga Tula” (Flower of Love and other Poems); and “Kahapon at Ngayon” (Yesterday and Today), a book of essays.

She married Florinio Robles Acosta, a certified public accountant in 1940, and had one child, Carmencita H. Acosta who like her, became a journalist.

 

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