Camiling, a premiere town of Tarlac lying next to Pangasinan, was once a part of Paniqui. It was declared an independent town in 1838, with Don Vicente Galsim serving as the first gobernadorcillo. The town, with a name derived from the ‘kamiring’ tree that once grew abundantly there, is rich in history and tradition. Camiling is the birthplace of prominent Filipino personages such as U.N. Diplomat and General Carlos P. Romulo, U.P. President Onofre Corpuz and of course, Dr. Jose Rizal’s young love, Leonor Rivera.
In the 1930s, amidst a time of peace and plenty, Camiling held its own ‘petit carnivals’ in conjunction with the town fiesta that was held annually from May 6, 7, and 8. The first recorded provincial fair of Tarlac was held in 1927, same year as the town fair of Concepcion. Camiling followed suit in 1930, with a mini-fair that adapted certain successful elements of the grand national carnival in Manila.
Two pictures from that event show the lavishness of the petit fair, aping successfully the costumed pageantry of the Manila Carnival. Reigning queen over the festicities was Queen Pura I, a namesake of the very first Carnival royale of Manila (Pura Villanueva).
In 1933, the chosen Queen was a pedigreed beauty named Remedios Romulo Kipping. If her name sounds familiar, it is because the lovely Camiling Queen is a direct descendant of Leonor Rivera-Kipping. Leonor was a second cousin of Dr. Jose Rizal; they had met while he was but in her early teens. Unfortunately, their love did not prosper owing to Rizal’s departure for abroad to escape arrest and Leonor’s mother’s objection over her controversial suitor. Leonor was the inspiration of the character “Maria Clara” in Rizal’s “Noli” and “Fili” novels.
Leonor, instead, married the British engineer Charles Henry Kipping, whom she had met while staying in Dagupan. A lone child of their union, Carlos Jr., married Lourdes Romulo, sister of Carlos P. Romulo. They had four children namely, Carlos III, Linda, Araceli and Remedios, the future Queen of the Camiling Fair. Remedios was a student of Sta. Catalina de Manila, a school run by Dominican sisters, when she was elected to reign as the monarch of the fiesta. At her coronation, she was dressed as a Russian Empress.
The Camiling petit carnival that year had a grandiose mixed European-theme as these pictures show, reflecting the rise of this premiere commercial town, which, in prominence and affluence, ranked second only after the Tarlac capital.
Remedios later married Cesar Jimenez, with whom she had 6 children: Miguel, Meddie, Anna, Rita, Jimmy and Josefina.