Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Concepcion, one of the largest municipalities of Tarlac province is also known as the birthplace of Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. The historic town celebrates its town fiesta (pyestang balen) every 25th of April, which surprisingly is the feast day of San Marco. It can be surmised that the April 25 date originated from the petit carnivals that were popular during during the first decade of American Rule in the Philippines.

Concepcion, like many other towns copied the happenings of the annual national Manila Carnival of the Philippines, integrating the crowning of a Miss Petit Carnival in its program if activities. In his write-up about his town fiesta, historian Dr. Lino L. Dizon notes: “Both adults and children eagerly awaited not only the beauty queens of the Karnabal – as the dominant Kapampangans of the municipality pronounced such an event – but also the piyalben quing patiu (sights in the town square).

The early 1900s would have been dominated by the musicus (brass bands) parading around the town and the arcos (arcs) built in the heart of the plaza festooned with banderitas, where zarzuelas and crissotans were held. Later years would have seen the karnabal become more mechanical, with the arrival of the arueda (ferris wheel, from the Spanish rueda), the merry-go-round and other rides, collectively called chubibu (literally, ‘pacifier’ in Spanish). And each taga-Concepcion, irrespective of social class, would be eagerly inviting fiesta-goers to their dining table or even their lowly dulang, sharing genuine hospitality and their taung fiesta, like the lechun, the bringhi, the achara, and the putu lansung.”

The 1927 Petit Carnival of Concepcion was attended with similar fanfare. That year, Queen Paz I was elected as the carnival royal. Nineteen year old Paz Feliciano (b/ 13 Nov. 1918/ d./ 18 Feb. 2008) was born to a prominent family of hacienderos who were one of the original settlers of Concepcion., together with the Aquinos, Pinedas, Yumuls, Castros, Bermudezes and Cortezes. Paz had a sister, Consolacion (later married to an Ibarra)

She later married Atty. Patricio Y. Pineda Sr., a prominent lawyer and one of the incorporators of the Rural Bank Association of the Philippines. Their children included Corazon, Cecilia, Patricio Jr., Bernadette, and Maria Paz.

One of the princesses of Queen Paz I was an equally well-known town beauty, 17 year old Aurora Aquino. She would go on to be the second wife of Assemblyman and Sen. Benigno Aquino Sr., (after Maria Urquico) who was, in fact, a third cousin. They were married on 6 December 1930, and their union resulted in the following children—Maria Aurora (Maur), Benigno Simeon, Jr. (Ninoy), Maria Gerarda (Ditas), Maria Guadalupe (Lupita), Agapito (Butz), Paul, and Maria Teresa (Tessie)

Doña Aurora Aquino, mother of the late Sen. Benigno ''Ninoy'' Aquino Jr., mother-in-law of the late Pres. Corazon C. Aquino, and grandmother of current president Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III, died at 9:05 a.m. on 24 December 1998 at the Makati Medical Center. She was 88.

(THANK YOU to Prof. Lino Dizon for the use of the photo of Paz I and her consort, taken from his article: Fiestang Balen: Biography of a Town Fiesta.

Monday, July 19, 2010

127. Carnival Beauties: ENCARNACION I. JOHNSON, 1927 Miss Rizal

ENCHANTING ENCARNITA. Miss Rizal of 1927 charmed the King Escort of the 1927 Miss Philippines, and became Mrs. Guillermo Jose and the mother of two tennis champions.

In 1926, the province of Rizal fielded its very first Miss Rizal to the 1st National Beauty Contest in the person of Remedios Santos, a dreamy-eyed mestiza beauty who went to Manila for the pageant and whose room mate was the eventual winner, Anita Noble of Batangas. The next year, Rizal chose another mestiza bet, the slender Filipina-American Encarnacion Ibañez Johnson.

While Encarnita did not place in the finals, she caught the eye of the King Consort of Luisa Marasigan, the 1927 Miss Philippines winner. Guillermo Jose, a family friend of the Marasigans (her sisters were schoolmates of Luisa at Centro Escolar), had been requested to provide escorting duties to the new Queen by the school directress, Carmen de Luna, who also happened to be his godmother. In their moments together, Guillermo would often ask Luisa about “Miss Rizal”. Luisa, sensing his attraction to Encarnita, urged her escort to pursue and court her.

Guillermo took the Queen’s advice and successfully wooed Encarnita. She became Mrs. Guillermo Jose and settled in Manila. Guillermo became very much active in the tennis sports scene ( he became the president of the Philippine Tennis Association in the 1950s) and the couple even had two sons who became national tennis champions: Johnny and Danny Jose. Johnny became a member of the victorious 1955 Philippine Davis Cup team along with Raymond Dero and Felicisimo Ampon. In 1962, Johnny won a Gold Medal in the Asian Games held in Jakarta. Today, the Guillermo Jose Memorial Tennis Tournament is held annually and this has become a venue where budding young tennis players are discovered.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


ARO KATIMYAS DA DENING DALAGA!. The official candidates for the Miss Pampanga title in the 1933 Pampanga Carnival Fair and Exposition, San Fernando, Pampanga.

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