Tuesday, October 22, 2013


CARMEN OF CAPIZ. The Queen of the 1924  Capiz Petit Carnival and her royal retinue, pose during the coronation night that duplicated the festive air of the national carnival in Manila.

Not to be outdone, the province of Capiz held its own carnival with opulence and gaiety that rivalled that of the capital city. It was a fortuitous event as their native son, Representative Manuel A. Roxas had, by 1921, married Trinidad de Leon, herself, a former Manila Carnival Queen. Roxas's political stature would soon rise, becoming a Speaker of the House for 12 consecutive years, and eventually elected as the country's fifth President.

The 1924 Capiz Petit Carnival had a certain Carmen I as Queen. There was to be another Capiz Carnival the next year, held on December of 1925. The next year, Capiz sent its first representative to the 1st National Beauty Contest of the Manila Carnival, in the person of Rosario Picazo.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

262. Carnival Memento: SOUVENIR SILHOUETTE

THE GREAT PROFILE.  A Manila Carnival silhouette portrait from 1936, a favorite souvenir from the national fair.

French Etienne de Silhouette, a chronic shadow cutter, gave his name to this simple art of portraiture, using a person's shadow as a template. It was a cheap way to capture one's likeness, making use of featureless profiles either traced from a shadow and then filled in with black ink or cut freestyle using black paper and a pair of scissors.

The Americans introduced this art form in the 20th century, but it did not catch on, only a few Filipinos mastered this craft (a certain artist named Marcelino practiced this art).

A few surviving examples come from the Manila Carnival area, which had booths that offered silhouette portraits as carnival souvenirs. This particular example is courtesy of the 1936 Manila Carnival. 

The profile of a man in a tuxedo is cut from textured black paper and mounted on a special hardboard that had the text, "Souvenir from the Manila & Carnival Exposition 1936". 

Silhouette souvenirs were also given away at the 1953 Philippine International Fair.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

261. Carnival Album: MISS MINDANAO 1936 & MISS MACABEBE

MACABEBELLES TWO. Miss Mindanao of 1936, Cleofe Balingit lends her royal presence to the Garden Day festivities in her town.

Reigning Miss Mindanao 1936, Cleofe Jayme Balingit, and her town mate, Miss Macabebe 1936, presided over the festivities of the Macabebe Garden Day, held on 29 February 1936.

Balingit, backed by her newspaper sponsor, "Ing Catimawan", barged into the winning circle by placing 4th to Miss Philippines 1936, Mercedes Montilla. She was a popular beauty official of her town, welcoming VIPs to participating in local events like this one.

After her reign, she made a name for herself as a Red Cross volunteer, and undertook many socio-civic causes.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


The Pan-Pacific Pageant was staged during the Commonwealth years as a symbol of goodwill and cooperation between America and its Pacific holdings and territories, including the Philippines. The highlight of the pageant was the ceremonial presentation of flags, carried by representative beauties from America and the Philippines. The Philippines was represented by former Miss Philippines 1931, Maria Kalaw.

Miss Maria Kalaw (right) dressed as Maria Clara  presented the Philippine flag on the same occasion.

Miss Anne Alger (left) dressed as Miss Liberty presented the American flag to Gov. Gen. Frank Murphy during the Pan-Pacific Pageant. Alger is a descendant of two U.S. presidents, the Adamses.