Tuesday, May 19, 2009


CHARITY O. CROW, Miss Luzon 1933

Miss Luzon 1933, Charity Crow, was born on 6 Dec. 1915 at the Philippine General Hospital, daughter of Joseph William Crow of Hollister, California and Asuncion de Ocampo of Iloilo, Iloilo. Joseph was a member of the “Thomasites”—American teachers recruited to teach in the Philippines and tasked with reforming the public school system in the country. It was while assigned in Iloilo that he met and married Asuncion, who bore five more daughters (Carmen, Carrie, Charity, Celeste, Catherine ) and two sons (Clem, Carl).

Charity started schooling at St. Bridget’s Academy in Batangas where her father was then the Provincial Treasurer. Then she moved to Manila where she finished high school at St. Scholastica’s College in 1932. From there, she enrolled at the University of Sto. Tomas where she was elected as the “Most Beautiful College Girl”. Her beauty title brought her to the attention of Carnival organizers who enlisted her as a candidate to the 1933 Manila Carnival.

No doubt, it was more than her physical beauty that made her a leading contender to the crown—it was known that she treated every one with the highest regard, and people found unique qualities of having “beauty, brains and heart” so endearing. One story has it that once, she saw a dog drowning and she jumped into the water to save the canine’s life.

Charity was just a step away from winning the Miss Philippines title. Even then, she became even more popular in college. She graduated from UST with Summa Cum Laude honors. Charity was often invited to Malacañang Palace affairs and became friends with the family of Pres. Manuel L. Quezon. The high profile socialite met and married La Salle’s top athlete in 1938—Rafael Ygoa—then Asia’s No. 1 soccer goalkeeper. They had 4 children, born during the War years. After the Liberation, the Ygoa family moved to New York and then relocated to Colombia, in South America, where Rafael was appointed as Treasurer-Comptroller of TACA Airways. A fifth child was born there.

In 1948, Charity and her family returned to the Philippines at the request of Don Andres Soriano, who offered Rafael a job as a treasurer of the fledgling Philippine Airlines, Asia’s first airline. She took to her role as a housewife and mother back home, raising her 5 children while enrolling in modeling and cooking classes, both her personal interests. She also became involved in Catholic church activities, even supporting Fr. Patrick Peyton’s Holy Rosary Crusade.

A few years after, Rafael was asked to establish a leisure resort in Sotogrande, Spain and become its General Manager. Charity and the children followed suit and resided in Spain for 3 years. But then Rafael was called back to Manila to accept an offer he could not refuse: to be the head of the Philippine Airlines. He became eventually the Chief Operating Officer and President.

After retirement, the family moved to the United States. Charity and Rafael celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary at the Carmel Monastery in California in August 1988. Two years after, Charity passed away in February 1990. Rafael joined her in 2008 and the two rest in peace in Santa Monica, California. She is survived by her 5 children, 9 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.

(I am indebted to Ms. Cristina Igoa, daughter of Charity Crow, for the biogaphical sketch of her mother, sent via e-mail.)


BLANQUITA OPINION, Miss Visayas 1933

Blanquita's beauty career was launched early, when she was crowned as the 1925 Princess of Charity of Centro Escolar, an annual anti-tuberculosis fund raising program of the government. Eight years later, now a collegiate beauty, she placed third in the annual Manila Carnival Queen search. In later years, Blanquita became Mrs. de Testa and settled in Quiapo, Manila.


ANGELINA BIUNAS, Miss Mindanao 1933

Angelina was born in 1915 to Pilar Tronqued and Victor Biunas. Married Carmelo Alonso with whom she had 5 children: Milagros, Rolando, Rose, Tina and Jose Mari. She died in 2003 and is interred at the La Loma Cemetery.


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