PICKING DAISY. Kahirup's bet to the Cebu Carnival Queen search--Daisy Hontiveros--would become a leading force in advancing the cause of Philippine theater, in partnerhsip with her husband, award-winning director and National Artist, Lamberto Avellana Sr. She is shown here at age 17.
In the court of the 1934 Cebu Carnival Queen Maria Lagrimas Ong, one lovely runner-up was destined for even greater things after her fourth place finish in the quest for the province’s carnival royalty. Daisy Pardo Hontiveros, who reigned as Miss Mindanao (Julieta Abad was Miss Visayas and Julia MacVean was Miss Luzon), would become the future wife of National Artist and award-winning film director Lamberto Avellana and would distinguish herself as a leading light in Philippine theater.
Lourdes Genoveva Dolores Pardo Hontiveros was born on 26 January 1917 in Capiz, Capiz to Jose M. Hontiveros and Vicenta R. Pardo. She was the eldest in a brood of 10 children, that included Jose, Leon Jose, Alejandro, Renato Jose, Eduardo Jose, Juan Nepomuceno Jose, Ma. Teresita Vicenta, Benjamin Jose and Ramon Nonato.
Nicknamed “Daisy”, she went to the Assumption Convent in Iloilo for her elementary years beginning in 1924. In 1930, she started high school at Capiz High. It was here that she was chosen as Miss Capiz and, in her senior year, she was prevailed upon by the influential Kahirup Club to join the quest for the 1934 Queen of the Cebu Carnival. Young Daisy did not disappoint her sponsors and emerged as Miss Mindanao.
That same year, after graduation, Daisy was accepted at the University of the Philippines in Padre Faura where she took a drama course. She became a very popular and accomplished actress in school, and was named 1st Intercollegiate Girl in only her first year. She also became a talented writer (editor of Philippine Herald in 1937-38) and radio actress.
On 19 June 1938, she married Lamberto V. Avellana at the Remedios Church in Malate, whom she had previously met in 1932 at a party. The two had actively immersed themselves in theater and radio work and this interest led them to organize the Barangay Theater Guild in 1939. They had four children: Marijo (died in infancy), Mari, Ivi and Bating.
Lamberto Sr. would earn fame with his film “Anak Dalita” which won the Grand Prix at the Asian Film Festival in Hong Kong in 1956. Their theater guild produced the Nick Joaquin play, “Portrait of the Filipino as an Artist”, which became the longest-running play in the Philippines. Daisy appeared as Candida in the 1965 film version.
When Lamberto passed away in 1991, Daisy carried on with her theatrical pursuits, and in 1994, she was named “The Cinema’s Living Treasure” at the Manila Metro Film Festival. She was also a Centennial Awardee for Theater by CCP. Aliw Awards honored her with a Gawad Siglo ng Aliw for Theater in 1999. Daisy continued directing stage readings of plays at FEU from 2002-2006. On her 90th birthday, she was given a tribute by the CCP and NCCA. The province of her youth, Capiz, honored her, along with Jovita Fuentes, with a “Saludo” in 2009.