Monday, June 25, 2012

218. Carnival Beauties: REMEDIOS SANTOS, 1926 Miss Rizal

RIZAL'S MUSE. Remedios Santos, the first official Miss Rizal sent to the 1st National Beauty Contest of the 1926 Manila Carnival.

The first Miss Rizal, Remedios Santos, went to the Manila Carnival to compete for the first ever Miss Philippines crown. It was hoped that her mestiza features, her dreamy eyes and fair complexion would be noticed by the judges during the festivities.

In the big city, the delegates were distributed among 'foster families' in whose houses they stayed during the duration of the pageant.

Remedios was taken in by the Alfredo Roa Sr. family whose house was large enough to accommodate two more provincial beauties: Miss Misamis Oriental (Amparo Nery) and Miss Batangas (Anita Noble). Remedios made the rounds of the carnival activities--participating in parades and social functions, under the watchful eye of her chaperone, Mrs. Conchita Zamora Roa. The crown, however, was won by her room mate, Anita Noble.

Remedios was succeeded by the Fil-Am beauty, Encarnacion Ibanez Johnson as Miss Rizal 1927.

Monday, June 18, 2012

217. 1908 Sultana del Pasig, CONSUELO AGRAVA

CONSUELO DE CARNAVAL. Local beauty, Consuelo Agrava of Manila, captivated the carnival crowd with her morena beauty and soulful eyes, reigning as Sultana del Pasig in the 1st edition of the national fair.

The first-ever Manila Carnival of 1908 probably holds the record as the carnival edition with the most number of royal beauties. Not only did the fair had two queens (Pura Villanueva as 'Queen of the Orient' and Marjorie Colton as 'Queen of the Occident'), but each reina had a retinue of at least 12 damas with their own 12 consortes, plus 4 young courtiers or page boys.

Another special title was given to a local beauty to represent the royal realm of Pasig, an important district of Manila on whose land the great and mighty river that dictated the commerce of the land--Rio de Pasig--flowed.

The first Sultana del Pasig, Consuelo Agrava, from the Bureau of Education, was handpicked by city officials for her very apt beauty. She As “El Renacimiento” reported, Miss Agrava, was “truly of the Sultana type, dark, with ojos de sulamita” (eyes of a peaceful woman).

A spectacular float was made by her city exclusively for her, an Oriental pagoda featuring native nymphs positioned up front, in the act of rowing. Over the boat, large “tutubis” or dragonflies hovered around her, coming to life as the carroza was driven at the Hippodrome. At the poopdeck—the topmost part of the float—Consuelo did not sit, but reclined on a lounge—the dramatic pose of the sultana elicited much applause from an awestruck crowd.

After the Carnival hoopla, Consuelo returned to her work as an educator, becoming an active member of the Parent-Teacher's Association (PTA) of Manila where she was, at one time, named as Chairman of the Committee for Entertainment. She married Jose Alvarez Agoncillo with whom she had three offsprings: Antonia, Marina and Francsico.

Monday, June 4, 2012


CENTRO OF ATTRACTION. Miss Centro Escolar of 1934, lovely Nene with escort Jose, during the college day celebration.

During the Carnival years, one school that became one of the most ardent supporters of the national event was the Centro Escolar de Señoritas, a Spanish-influenced private institution founded in 3 June 1907 by two women educators, Librada Avelino and Carmen de Luna.

In fact, a fortuitous event at Centro Escolar in 1907 had resulted in the meeting, courtship and eventual marriage of the first Carnival Queen, Pura Villanueva with El Renacimiento editor Teodoro Kalaw of Batangas.

The all-girls school offered women education from kinder to college--with degrees in law, pharmacy, liberal arts, education and business. In its inaugural year, it attracted 250 students, but by 1927, it had had attracted over 1,500 girls, many from prominent families from all over the country.

A most-awaited school activity is the “Feria de Centro Escolar” or College Fair that began in the mid 20s, capped by the selection of a Miss Centro Escolar. Some of winners are still known to us; in 1929, Susana Casimiro reigned as Señorita de Centro Escolar and a certain Queen Nena in 1934.

Soon, the school was earning a reputation as the home of the most beautiful and accomplished ladies in the city, if not, the country. It was now wonder then that many of these campus beauties were always recruited as candidates to the yearly Manila Carnival Queen search. In fact, even the School Director, had a direct hand in the selection of the school representative.

Some of the Escolarina beauties who became Carnival Queen candidates included: Iluminada Perez (Princess at the 1929 Manila Carnival) Blanquita Opinion (Miss Visayas 1933 and a former 1925 Queen of Charity) and Luisa Marasigan, who was selected as the 2nd Miss Philippines in 1927.

Centro Escolar de Señoritas became a university in 1933 and became known as Centro Escolar University. CEU, as it is known today, has three campuses--the main Manila campus on Mendiola street, Malolos campus in Bulacan (1978) is in and the Makati Campus in the Makati Central Business District. The Parañaque campus was phased out in the early 1990s. CEU Cebu will be the first CEU campus outside Luzon. In 2007, Centro Escolar University—producer of some of the most beautiful Carnival beauties ever to grace the national fair—celebrated its centennial in 2007.