In 1933, Kapampangans held their grandest event ever, to celebrate the progressive stride made by Pampanga in the two previous decades. From 22 April to 6 May 1933, the Pampanga Carnival Fair and Exposition—“the greatest concourse of people on the island of Luzon”--was held at the Capitol grounds in San Fernando.
The much-awaited selection of Miss Pampanga 1933 provided the climax of the fair. Pampanga’s leading muses, most from socially prominent families. First, each town had to select its own “Miss Municipality” to compete in the provincial pageant. Socio-civic and youth groups like Mountainside, Circulo Escenico, Kayanikan ning Kuliat and Aficionados Baculud helped in drawing up a beauty list from which the loveliest was chosen. Not unlike contemporary pageants marked by sourgraping and backstage dramas, the Miss Pampanga search had its share of controversies.
First, the selection criteria was put in question. Following the Manila Carnival style of selection, Miss Pampanga was to be chosen based on newspaper ballots cast in her favor. A leading Kapampangan newspaper, “Ing Cabbling”, put out an editorial that cautioned using “social influence”, rather than physical beauty , as basis for judging. It even went as far as recommending an ideal mix of judges to make the selection truly impartial and objective, a panel to include a painter or sculptor, a poet, a high society lady, a professional and a respected elder from the province.
Then there was the case of a town muse who, in the voting, was boycotted by her own town mates because of her perceived snobbishness and haughty demeanor. In one tabulation, she gathered zero votes. Despite these minor issues, the contestants had a great time as they were feted and paraded about in motorcades. In the end, it was the slim and svelte Miss San Fernando, Corazon Hizon who romped off with the title.
The titled town beauties included the following:
MISS ANGELES, Maria Agustina Pilar Nepomuceno. (b. 13 October 1911-d. 5 June 1995) Daughter of Gonzalo Mariano Nepomuceno and Gertrudes Ayson y Cunanan. Not much is remembered about her reign or the circumstances of her victory. Later married noted doctor, Conrado Manankil y Tison. They have 4 children, one of whom—Marieta Manankil (now Mercado)—continued the tradition of beauty in her family by becoming Miss Angeles 1955.
MISS APALIT. Lina Espiritu
MISS BACOLOR. Luz Sarmiento. (b. 23 July 1914-d. Aug. 1988) to Laureano Sarmiento and Ines Lugue. Studied at the local St. Mary’s Academy, then attended Assumption Academy in neighboring San Fernando for her higher education. Became Pampanga’s entry to the 1934 Manila Carnival. After the contest, settled down as wife to Jose Gregorio Panlilio y Santos-Joven, in April 1934. An only child, Jesus Nazareno a year later. The couple made their home in their beloved Bacolor, where Luz propagated a lifelong devotion to Nuestra Sñra. del Rosario.
MISS CANDABA. Marina Reyes
MISS GUAGUA. Quintina Lapira
MISS LUBAO. Cornelia Flores
MISS MABALACAT, Pacita Sese. (b. 1916-d. 21 Aug. 2004) Daughter of the town treasurer, Andres Sese and Justina de Guzman. Graduate of Instituto de Mujeres. Married Mauro Feliciano of San Fernando.
MISS MACABEBE. Paciencia Gomez
MISS MAGALANG. Belen Gueco. Daughter of Lorenzo C. Gueco, a successful doctor, sugar planter, business man and PASUDECO stockholder and Elena Aquino. Her elder sister Paz was also a noted town beauty. Schooled at St. Paul’s Institute, Manila. She was an active and popular member of Rho Alpha and Nucleo Solteril. Her candidacy was supported by the Mountainside Club, headed by Jose Luciano, but pulled out of the provincial contest after some controversy. Nevertheless, she was feted house-to-house by her proud kabalens, who were rumored to have withdrawn their support for her. Later married Jose Tinsay.
MISS MASANTOL. Maria Guinto. Later married Artemio Manansala with whom she had 7 children, mostly U.S. based. Died 1969 of cancer.
MISS MEXICO. Candida Nuqui. A student of Sta. Rosa College in Manila when elected as town beauty.
MISS MINALIN. Benita Mercado
MISS SAN FERNANDO. Corazon Hizon (WINNER). Daughter Corazon Hizon of San Fernando, the daughter of Maria Paras and Jose Hizon. After her reign, the lovely Corazon, the toast of the Pampanga Carnival, married Marcelino Dizon also of San Fernando. They settled in the town they loved best and raised 9 children, all daughters—Monica, Maria Teresa, Maria Corazon, Lidia, Encarnacion, Concepcion, Maria Asuncion and Josefina. Monica’s daughter with Marcelino Enriquez, Maria Lourdes, continued the beauty tradition in the family by becoming Bb. Pilipinas- International 1987.
MISS STA. RITA. Juana Amio
MISS SEXMOAN. Marta Pinlac