THE TONDO IDOL
Throughout his academic
and athletic career, Manila
City 2nd District Councilor
Lim has shaped his brand
of leadership and his work
ethic as a public servant.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY IVAN LLANETA
PHOTOGRAPHY BY IVAN LLANETA
Number one, first place, top spot. These are positions that we always aim for in school, at work, during competitions, and other events in our lives. For Manila City 2nd District Councilor Numero “Uno” Lim, it was an entirely different case growing up, as his very name is a reminder for him to always do his best.
THE ELDEST OF THE BROOD
Lim is the eldest son of Alberto, a Bicolano, and Rosario Lim, a Waray. He is also a brother to four siblings: Algebra, Mathematica, Arithmetico, and Scientifica. Growing up in a traditional Chinese-Filipino family with strict parents, Lim was always expected to excel in different areas—sports, academics, and even music. And he rose to the challenge, being a consistent honor student in his younger years. “As a student, I was always consistent with my name Numero Uno,” he says. Lim did not only do good in sports; he excelled in it. In fact, he was once a member of the country’s national tennis team. He was even the number one player in Asia at
one point in his athletic career.
Music-wise, Lim was trained in singing—being asked to perform during family gatherings—which proved to be helpful when he eventually ran for public office. This earned him the nickname “Tondo Idol,” perhaps a reference to the popular United States singing competition American Idol. The values and experiences he gained through his academic and athletic career have actually shaped his brand of leadership and his work ethics now that he is a public servant in the City of Manila.
YOUNGEST COUNCILOR ELECTED
Despite having the qualities and discipline of a natural leader, it was not Lim’s dream to become a public servant. It was actually his father Alberto’s dream to become one. “[My father] ran and lost four times. On his planned fifth attempt in 2007, everyone, especially our family, dissuaded him,” the councilor shares. The elder Lim agreed to no longer run for a fifth time on one condition: Uno will run in his place. And so he did.
Lo and behold, Uno won and became the youngestcouncilor in the City of Manila at just 26 years old. Lim served a three full terms until 2016, or a total of nine years, as a councilor to Manileños. After his third term in office, Uno went back to being a private citizen—a husband to his wife Kartini Bianca, and a father to their two children, Una and Dua. But after three years away from public office, Uno was called back to public service. “I knew that it would be difficult to get elected once more, having to compete with incumbents,” he says. “It was a difficult election having to run with an independent group. But with hard work and perseverance, I was elected number one.” One primary reason for this is that the Tondo Idol’s previous contributions to his district were not entirely lost on his constituents.