Wednesday, February 29, 2012

205. Carnival Beauties: ROSARIO LUCES LUNA CAYETANO, 1926 Miss Marinduque

MARINDUQUE'S FIRST MISS. Rosario Cayetano, the first Miss Marinduque of 1926, as she appears in her official portrait at the Manila Carnival search for the first Miss Philippines, won by Anita Noble of Batangas.

Rosario Cayetano, the first Miss Marinduque, was born on 15 Oct. 1904, to Don Luciano Cayetano and Isabel Luces Luna of Gasan. She was the fifth child in a family of six daughters, namely, Trinidad, Amparo, Alicia, Clotilde and Hortencia. She also had a half-brother, Angelito Sevilla.

"Charito", as she was called, went to a local school in Gasan and earned her high school diploma from UP High. She was one of the first women from Marinduque to enroll at the state university for a degree in Pharmacy. In fact, it was at the U.P. that Charito, who had been reaping accolades for her beauty and charm since childhood, was picked to represent her province at the 1st National Beauty Contest of the Manila Carnival. At age 22, she competed for the first ever Miss Philippines crown against over 35 provincial bets. The title went to the Batangas beauty, Anita Noble.

LARDIZABAL-CAYETANO NUPTIALS. Rosario Cayetano and beau Cito Lardizabal, both provincemates, tied the knot on Christmas Day, 12 December 1927, a year after relinquishing her title. Photo courtesy of Agnes Lardizabal Apeles, daughter of Rosario Cayetano-Lardizabal.

After the contest, she went right back to finish her Pharmacy course. Just a year later, she married her beau, Jose "Cito" Ocampo Lardizabal of Boac, on Christmas day, 25 December 1927. Jose's striking looks and achievements mirrored Charito's own gifts and talents. The son of Severino Lardizabal and Aquilina Ocampo of Boac, Jose was a brilliant lawyer at the time of his union with fellow Marinduqueno, Charito.

Charito and Cito proved to be a pioneering "career" couple--she ran a pharmacy in Gasan, while he advanced rapidly through the ranks of the judicial branch of the Philippine government--from Justice of the Peace in Gasan to Provincial Fiscal of Quezon Province.

The Lardizabals had eight daughters and one son: Esperanza, Norma (+), Linda (+), Nilda, Clemencia, Jose (+), Milagros, Agnes and Rosario. Interestingly, Agnes and Clemencia had Carnival beauties as godmothers--Mercedes de Jesus, Miss Marinduque of 1927 (for Agnes) and Aurora Reyes-Recto (for Clemencia), Miss Visayas 1926--whom Cito escorted in the 1926 pageant. Only son Jose "Joey" Lardizabal became a well-known TV-radio personality and and award-winning talk show host, appearing with Elvira Manahan on “Two for the Road” and hosting “The Morning Show” on ABS-CBN Channel 3, before he died of cancer on January 1971 at age 30.

A 2002 calendar designed and printed by family members of the Cayetano-Lardizabal family to honor the life and legacy of a remarkable 98 year old Marinduquena, Rosario Cayetano, Miss Marinduque 1926. Photo courtesy of Mrs. Agnes Lardizabal-Apeles.

After Cito's death from coronary thrombosis in 1963, Charito moved to the family home in Makati while the rest of the children completed their education. In 1978, Charito immigrated to the U.S. after daughter Agnes's petition was approved. From 1978 to Sept. 2003, she lived in Los Angeles, California. Having worked all her life, Charito finally took up a hobby after her arrival in the U.S.--playing the slot machines in Las Vegas!

Charito lived to see her children settle down, raise their own families while pursuing successful careers in the U.S., Canada, Europe and the Philippines. She died two weeks short of her 99th birthday on 29 September 2003 in Harbor City, California. At the time of her death, she had 19 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren.

The life of Rosario Cayetano has spanned two continents and nearly the entire 20th century. She is remembered as a strong, vibrant force in the lives of her children, grandchildren, descendants and extended family members--her greatest source of pride. Their lives continue to reflect her unique character and values, which by doing so, also continue to bring honor to her name.

(Many thanks to Mrs. Agnes Lardizabal-Apeles of Calabasa, California, daughter of Miss Marinduque 1926, Rosario Cayetano-Lardizabal, for the wedding picture of her parents and for the biographical sketch of her mother)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

204. Carnival Beauties: SALUD AUSTRIA, 1927 Miss San Lazaro

SALUTE TO SALUD. San Lazaro's beauty bet to the search for Miss Manila 1927. She ended up as a runner-up to Luisa Marasigan, who was named Miss Manila, and later, the 2nd Miss Philippines.

After the success of the 1st National Beauty Contest which sort of refreshed the Manila Carnival, a more comprehensive search for Manila's delegate to the next year's Miss Philippines contest was launched city-wide.

In 1927, local district officials were encouraged to select and name their own muses to compete for the title of Miss Manila. The official list included the following names, culled from the most distinguished families of Manila's various districts:

Nitang Moreno (Gagalangin), Lourdes Baltazar (Malate), Herminia Guerrero (Malate), Beatriz Concepcion Puzon (Sta. Ana), Presentacion Perez (Singalong), Rosario Flores (Sta. Mesa), Severina Narciso Mendoza (Pandacan), Josefina Conde (San Miguel), Conchita Tuason (Sampaloc), Leonila Mat. Castro (Tondo), Evarista Laconico (Trozo), Pacita Legarda (Binondo), Amparo Trinidad Papa (Quiapo), Erlinda Villarica (Sta. Cruz), Salud Austria (San Lazaro) and Luisa Marasigan (Intramuros).

As early as the first counting, San Lazaro's bet Salud Austria--she, with the deep-set brown eyes and fine mestiza features--emerged as a frontrunner, together with Pacita Legarda and the Tabayasin beauty, Luisa Marasigan. In the end, the crown of Miss Manila was awarded to Luisa, who was also given a special title, Sultana de Pasig. Salud, as a runner-up copped the "Rosa Malaya" title, a minor award, but a well-earned one, nonetheless.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


VAYA ZAMBOANGA! The first ever provincial carnival of Zamboanga was held in 1923, officially known as the Zamboanga Carnival and Industrial Fair.The big event, which had a distinctive Indo-Malayan motif, was widely publicized nationally. Here, the royalties of the carnival pose for their official picture.

The first ever Zamboanga provincial carnival was undertaken from 15-23 December 1923 and was officially dubbed as the Zamboanga Carnival and Industrial Exposition. Espousing the same spirit as the national carnival, the event aimed to highlight the contribution of the local industries to the vibrant provincial economy as well as to showcase the beauty of Zamboanga culture.

Local social clubs like the Red Rovers spearheaded the search for the carnival royalty and that year, a local deep-set eyed beauty was elected as a Sultana. Her court, dressed as Malayan majesties, consisted of a Sultan, 7 charming princesses, 6 fez-wearing princes, 6 courtiers and two boy pages.

There were several other editions of the Zamboanga Carnival, with interest peaking in 1926, with Carmen Fargas’ unprecedented victory at the Manila Carnival Queen quest. As Miss Zamboanga of that year, she was chosen as Miss Pearl of the Orient Seas. The last pre-war Zamboanga Carnival was held in 1934.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

202. Carnival Beauties: ROSA REYES, 1926 Miss Bataan

ROSA REYES, the first Miss Bataan of 1926, competed in the 1st National Beauty Contest of 1926.

The first official Miss Bataan to compete in the first ever national search for Miss Philippines was the lovely Rosa Reyes. Readers who know her are encouraged to send any information about this Bataan beauty who competed alongside provincial delegates for the prestigious Miss Philippines title, won by Batangas' Anita Noble.

Rosa Reyes was succeeded by Rosalina Fonacier, Miss Bataan of 1927.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

201. Carnival Movers & Shakers: ARSENIO K. LUZ, Director General

One of the most influential and high-ranking member of the Manila Carnival committee was Arsenio Katigbak Luz, who served as a Director General of the national event for several years. He comes from a well-known family from Batangas, the son of Segunda Solis Katigbak, regarded as Dr. Jose Rizal’s first true love. Segunda married Don Manuel Mitra Luz, with whom she bore 9 children—Cristeta, Manuel Jr., Flora, Paz, Julio, Justa, Valeriano, Fernando and Arsenio.

Luz became a successful businessman and journalist, and at one time was a writer for El Renacimento and La Vanguardia. He also became an editor for El Ideal and the Philippine Herald, which he also managed in 1922. His credentials included being the first president of the Rotary Club of the Philippines, the first director of Manila Hotel and also manager of the first sweepstakes organization in 1933.

Starting in 1921, Luz was appointed as Director-General of the Manila Carnival, a position he would hold until the 1930s. He would introduce innovations in the national fair, seeking out new international talents and troupes to liven it up and modifying the layout to make the presentation more interesting. There was one year that he made the fairgrounds circular in shape defined by strings of light and a lighted tower. Indeed, year after year, his 'galaxy of new features' were never seen before in previous carnivals.

Luz married a cousin, Amparo Katigbak. They had a daughter, Amparito Luz, a trained soprano and a member of the Mossesgeld Choral Ensemble.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

200. 1924-1925 ANGELES CARNIVAL

QUEEN OF THE ANGELES CARNIVAL OF 1924. Rosario Hernandez Panganiban of Macabebe, was, at one time, a resident of Culiat. The multi-titled Charing remains the most celebrated beauty of Pampanga to this day. Dated Aug. 1924.

The town of Angeles, by the 1920s was enjoying some relative prosperity, a far cry from the wild land that it once was in 1796, when Don Angel Pantaleon de Miranda and wife Rosalia de Jesus, cleared the place known then as Culiat. As part of San Fernando, Culiat was recognized as a town in 8 December 1829, and from that moment on, there was no stopping Angeles’s progress.

In 1920, the airport at Fort Stotsenburg was opened, and two years after, the 1st modern ice plant was put up in the town. In 1923, 20th century progress came to Angeles when the Angeles Electric Light and Power Plant started its operations. Indeed, things were looking up for the town and when the Americans put up the 1st national fair that was the Manila Carnival, Angeles was quick to support the festivities, fielding its best band to the music competitions which eventually won the top prize.

In August 1924, a local town carnival was held, and we only have a handful of pictures documenting the event. Surprisingly, the event was not reported in the historical compilations of Mariano V. Henson, who is acknowledged as the foremost historian of Angeles and Pampanga. Other municipalities of Pampanga were invited to set up booths and showcase their agricultural, commercial and industrial produce—just like the way things were done in the national carnival. The towns were also encouraged to send in their delegates to vie for the Angeles Carnival Queen.

Reigning as Queen of the Angeles Carnival was Pampanga’s most celebrated beauty queen, Rosario H. Panganiban of Macabebe. The Philippine Women’s College beauty would go on to clinch more important titles in the next two years—1926 Miss Philippines of Free Press and 1926 Miss Pampanga to the 1st National Beauty Contest. At her coronation, the lovely Charing was whisked around Angeles in a car, in a fancy floral parade.

Not much is known about the 1924 Angeles Carnival except the fact that there was a repeat the next year, in February of 1925. prefaced a bigger provincial event—the 1925 Pampanga Carnival—where Rosario, once again, reigned as queen.