Perhaps to make a point and remind every one that the Manila Carnivals is for the old and young alike, the beauty pageant—always the highlight of the national festivities—became the inspiration of some provincial groups to hold their own petit carnivals with children reigning as royalties.
The Charity Fairs (Feria de Caridad), organized by the government to raise funds for its charitable advocacies, actually popularized the concept of having children reign as “queens” during these much publicized 1920s events. Schools even held their own themed charity fairs, featuring little misses addressed as “Infantil Princesas y Reinas” and decked in court costumes and pompadour wigs. Then the Anti-TB Society launched its own “Queen of Mercy” quest where only children were eligible to join.
These children’s beauty pageants were immensely popular and became springboards for beautiful young misses to join the Manila Carnival Queen search later on. For instance, Alicia de Santos was chosen as Queen of Mercy in 1929; two years later, she competed in the 5th National Beauty Contest and emerged as Miss Luzon. Similarly, little Blanquita Opinion, Queen of Charity in the 1925 fund-raising program of Centro Escolar alumnas, joined the Miss Philippines search eight years later and won the title of Miss Visayas 1933.
The idea caught on in the different provinces, and soon, petit carnivals were being organized with literally, their own petit royalties. This example shows a provincial carnival held in Aparri in 1939, with an adorable Queen Teresita and her satin-caped escort, ruling over the fair’s festivities. The tradition continues today, instigated by TV shows which holds annual talent-cum-beauty pageants like “Little Miss Philippines”.