Tuesday, September 16, 2008


The 1913 edition of the Manila Carnival opened with a lot of speculations, with many predicting that the pomp and grandeur of the past Carnival outings can not be duplicated by the Carnival Committee this year. Sure enough, when the gates of the Carnival opened, there was no Auditorium or stage—traditional centerpiece of the Manila Carnivals where all-important events—like the coronation of the Carnival royalties—took place.

But the absence of an auditorium did not prevent the Committee from staging a noteworthy event, for in 1913, the hallmark of the Carnival proved to be the “Dia Filipina”, a special ‘Philippine Day’ that aimed to showcase the commercial progress as well the richness of the country’s culture. This objective found full expression in the most lavish, most extravagant float parades with a record-breaking number of participants from various sectors of the government and the private industry. To fuel excitement and attract participation, cash rewards were given out for the most creative floats that awed the Carnival spectators no end.

The ‘procesion comercial’ (commercial parades) were held on a Saturday weekend, and they began from Meisik in Tondo all the way to the Luneta. Not just carrozas were dressed up for the parade, but also automobiles, and many observed that the fabulous decorations rivaled those seen in major cities and towns of Europe and America.

Leading the Saturday parade where the police troops of Manila, smart in their khaki uniforms. The float of the Carnival mascot, El Diablo Rojo (The Red Devil) followed next, and it was so designed as to show the large devil stooping down to cover the Queens of the Carnival. The Constabulary Band came in next, playing military airs and thereafter, the float of the City of Manila, the music band of La Paz y Buenviaje ( a leading cigar firm), the airplane-shapedfloat of the Union Truck Company, La Germinal float, San Miguel Brewery float, Sanitary Steam Laundry float, Normal School float and a host of gaily-decorated automobiles from Mr. Warner Tivan, Auto Palace and Berry’s.

The next day, the Carnival crowds were treated to a more spectacular parade as more participants from various socio-civic associations, schools and universities joined in the festivities. The parade kicked-off with twelve marshalls at the helm, a marching band from Meralco, soldiers and constables on foot and the committee members of ‘Dia Filipina’. There followed a magnificent golden float in the shape of a gondola, riding the ocean waves and bearing the Queens of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

There was a hitch however, as this float broke down in front of San Sebastian Church and the royals and their courts had to transfer in two cars and caruajes to complete the parade.

Trailing the royal float were other minor beauties from various Manila districts and several school battalions from Liceo, Instituto Burgos and San Pablo. A motley group of civic associations from Sta. Cruz, San Lazaro and Sta. Clara like Ang Sulo, Lakas ng Mahihirap, Biglang Awa, Hijos de Siglo, Mithi ng Katalinuhan, fielded delegates.

At the end of the parade, the winners of float contest were announced, with corresponding cash awards. The Best School Battalion was won by Liceo de Manila, Best Banner: Kap. Kawanggawa (Confederacion de Sta. Cruz), Best Float: Bureau of Public Works, Best Automobile: Union Truck, Best Carriage: Normal School, Best Motorcycle: Union de Ciclistas, Best Commercial Float: La Paz y Buenviaje, Best Student Float: Tuna Alegre, Best in Uniform: Habag Kapatid, Best Women’s Group: Liga de Mujeres, Best Band: Meralco, Best School Participation: Instituto de Burgos and Most Number of Delegation: Paaralang Artes y Oficios.

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