Lina Flor: A pioneer of the radio age in the Philippines

Lina Flor
Lina Flor with her family.

Lina Flor, born Carolina Flores-Trinidad, is best remembered for her writing. She became a household name during the age of radio for the drama known as Gulong ng Palad. But Lina Flor was so much more than that, she was a society columnist, bilingual fictionist, scriptwriter, biographer and lyricist.

But the life of Lina Flor did not end at this; she also was a well-known cartoonist, actress, singer and journalism teacher. 

Her life in society began at an early age, as a teen she was signed up to be a radio performer/host in a small station KZIB. Eventually she transformed the station into the one of the biggest in the Philippines – KZRM. The station was Flor’s first initiation into a company that was dominated by American executives and American talents.

In the middle of her success at KZIB, Flor embarked on a new path when she was asked to edit a program column for the “Graphic.” She later became a regular for the company once the publicity girl for Radio resigned.

During her time at KZIB throughout the late 1920s and early 1930s Flor began to write short stories in English. In 1934 she published her first short story entitled “Big Sister.” Flor later published “Family Album” and “Grandmother Muses” and her work landed her in the Jose Garcia Villa’s annual Honor Roll.

Lina Flor

During the Japanese occupation and eventual onslaught of World War II, Flor changed her writings into Tagalog to strengthen her deep sense of nationalism.

Lina went on to publish several short stories in Tagalog and eventually began to write novels for various companies and also for her weekly columns in newspapers and movie columns. 

During this time Lina also started to write radio soap operas and in 1949 her first one aired on DZRH entitled Gulon ng Palad, inevitably changing the entire face of radio programming in the Philippines. Today Gulong ng Palad is still considered the most popular daytime series in radio history.

Flor didn’t stop at this; she went on to handle multi- careers as a featured writer an autobiographical essayist, a film juror, a social historian and even a cultural critic.

In her golden years, Flor became sick and frail but her mindset pushed herself into honing her craft and in 1972 Sparklers for the Day was published. The hot little paper contained the day-to-day listings of events, birthdays, weddings and anniversaries of prominent Filipinos.

Later in 1973 she embarked on writing poetry and she released Dilettante – a collection of versus and four cartoons. Though Flor considered the works a product of dabbling here and there, critics considered Dilettante her masterpiece.

Lina Flor passed away on February 11, 1976, leaving behind a legacy to the people of the Philippines. Her life is often written today with annotations that include “generous, thoughtfulness, graciousness, truly living a life for others.”

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Lina Flor