Lilia Hidalgo Lopez was born in 1912 in Leyte, the child of Honorio Lopez of Leyte (b.1888/d.1974) and Fermina Hidalgo (b.1894/d.1944). She had 3 other sisters (Aida, Herminia and Emma) and two brothers (Honorio Jr.and Tirso).
In 1930, the budding beauty was sponsored by the Visayan publication Atalaya to compete in the Miss Philippines quest of that year’s Manila Carnival edition. Her campaign, however, was thwarted by a fellow Visayan belle from Iloilo—Consuelo Acuña, who was crowned as the 1930 Miss Philippines.
Still, Lilia had a great experience as one of the muses of the Carnival. Just 18, she also had her studies to think about as well as the admirers who had come to woo her. One of them was Dominador Medalle Tan, (b.21 Mar. 1905) a young lawyer of the University of San Carlos in Cebu who passed the bar in 1927.. Once the din of the Carnival died down, the young couple were married in 1930.
The couple would have two children--Dennis and Anamarie. Anamarie was sent off to St. Scholastica where she became a classmate of our future female president--Cory Aquino. Lawyer Dominador Tan, on the other hand, enjoyed a successful political career, becoming an assemblyman (undefeated, from 1935-1969) and a Congressman of Leyte's 4th district. Serving under the Commonwealth government of Pres. M.L. Quezon, Tan was one of the authors of the 1935 Philippine Constitution.
The Tans would set up house in Ormoc, and their mansion was known for its beautiful architecture set amidst lush,landscaped gardens. Their residence was finished a year before World War II.
But the war would bring unfathomable sorrow to the Tans. On 16 Dec. 1941, the Tans boarded the ship S.S. Corregidor and departed from Manila for southern Philippines. It was approaching La Monja when it struck a mine between Corregidor and Sisiman Cove. It quickly sank taking away the lives of more than 900 passengers. Among those who perished were Lilia and her two children, Dennis and Anamarie. Lilia was only 30, and her kids, about 8 and 7, respectively.
The congressman survived the tragic accident but he was so devastated that he rarely talked about the family he had suddenly lost. To make matters worse, his grand residence was commandeered by the Japanese and was partially destroyed during the Battle of Ormoc bombings.
He would eventually recover from this profound personal losses and marry a second time to Patria Macandog, She was an actress who went by the screen name, Patria Rosal, and who had a brief career doing movies under Philippine Films. They remained together until Tan, regarded as the "Father of Ormoc" and one of the country's outstanding congressman, passed away on 6 Oct. 1992. Today, the ruins of the Tan-Lopez mansion still stands, a sort of a memorial to our history, when beauty was in flower--as personified by the lovely belle of the 1930 Carnival, Lilia Hidalgo Lopez.