Sunday, May 30, 2010


The provinces of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur were among the early provinces who joined the bandwagon in holding their own petit fairs and carnavals, largely influenced by the national annual event in Manila in which they were consistently represented. The Ilocos Carnivals were intermittently held from the early 1920s right through the late 1940s, long after the last Manila Carnival folded.

Ilocos Sur had its first Carnival in Vigan in 1922, ruled by Queen Carmen I. The next year, another grand carnival was held, and by coincidence, Carmen's successor was also named Carmen.

In 1925, a French-Spanish-Filipina by the name of Lucia Trullench reigned over the festivities. The next year, Rosario Calvo was elected as the Ilocos Sur delegate to the Manila Carnival quest for Miss Philippines. Ilocos Norte also fielded their own candidate for the first time in 1926.
Another carnival was held in Vigan in 1927, from 21-30 July. Reigning as queen of the festivities was Queen Jesusa I, whose duties were limited to the affairs of the provincial exposition, as separate representatives were sent to the national pageant.

That year, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte named two beauties to compete at the 2nd National Beauty Contest, in the persons of Susana Tugade and Petra Molina.

Another carnival was held the following year, 1928, and this time, Queen Remy II was the royal queen, and her coronation had a fancy French court theme complete with powdered wigs and pompadours.

In 1929, the Ilocos Sur Carnival and Provincial Exposition was held in Vigan from 18-27 January 1929, under the patronage of the provincial boards of Ilocos Sur. In the 1931 edition of the Ilocos Sur carnival, Queen Mena I was named as the royalty of the fair.

The Gran Carnaval y Feria de Ilocos was held in 1935 from 18-27 January 1935 and it proved to be an extravagantly-staged event that even featured a “Tower of Progress”, obviously copied from the Manila event, that stood as a symbol of Ilocandia’s commercial and industrial boom.

It was only a decade later that Ilocos Norte followed suit with its post-war Carnival and Industrial Fair held in January of 1946. The last Ilocos carnival was once again held in Ilocos Sur, held from 21-30 January 1949, dedicated to His Excellency, Pres. Elpidio Quirino.

Monday, May 24, 2010

119. 1915 Queen of the Benguet Carnival, EVELINE CHAINUS GUIREY

Eveline Chainus Guirey was the eldest of 10 children of Guirey, a Benguet baknang (well-to-do man, equivalent to an English country squire) and Dakalay , an Igorot who also went by her Christian name, Flora Pacalso. Born in 1902 in Gumatdang, Itogon, Chainus was schooled by missionaries at the Bua Public School near Baguio.

She was just 13 when she was elected Queen of the Benguet Carnival, becoming the fair's major attraction and drawing crowds of up to 8,000 people. With long straight hair, a morena complexion and a regal bearing, petite Chainus captivated Benguet with her every appearance, whether dressed in her native costume of green and purple silk or in a Western gown with a long gauze train. On her head was a unique tiara made of copper and silver plates with a precious ruby stone set at the center.

As part of her royal duties, Chainus was invited to go to the Manila Carnival with her court, and her presence elicited even more buzz what with their exotic mountain dresses and personal adornments. In appreciation, the Philippine Carnival Association gifted her with a silver tea set.

After her graduation from Bua, Chainus was handpicked by the school director Mrs. Alice Kelly, to go Manila to take up education at Philippine Normal School and later, a nursing course at St. Luke's Hospital. But she contracted turberculosis from which she never recovered. She died with Episcopal Bishop Florencio Mosher by her side. Schools were closed, classes were suspended and a large crowd--including VIPs like Mayor E. J. Halsema, Mt. Province Gov. Luna, Vice Gov. de Guzman, Chief of Police Joseph Keith and Jim Wright of the Trinidad School Farm attended her funeral on Oct. 5, 1920, which was pre-faced by a requiem mass. She was just 18 years old.

A decade later, J.J. Murphy established a motion picture theater along Session Rd. and named it Alhamar-Chainus, in her memory. Contrary to a popular belief, Chainus is not the subject of a statue of a Benguet girl that stands in the Italian Garden of Camp John Hay, erected long before her death.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Surigao was once Caraga, a large district that also included parts of Davao Oriental and eastern Misamis Oriental. The province was further reduced in 1911 when the politico-military commandancia of Butuan, then a sub-province of Surigao was created into the province of Agusan. The still undivided Surigao province held its first and only Carnival from Sept. 7-15, 1929. It was held at the height of the rainy season, but this did not prevent the Surigaonons from celebrating their own fair to the hilt.

The crowning of the Surigao Carnival Queen, Her Majesty, Queen Lourdes I was attended with much fanfare, and the coronation had an Egyptian theme patterned after the national carnival. The Queen was surrounded with a retinue of beauties, Miss Municipality winners from the towns of Surigao.

One other sensation of the Surigao Carnival of 1929 was the Bureau of Agriculture exhibit which displayed the agricultural and commercial products of the province.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

117. Carnival Beauties: ROSARIO PANGANIBAN, 1926 Miss Pampanga

QUEEN CHARING. Rosario Panganiban in her official Miss Pampanga photo, for the 1926 Manila Carnival. A popular beauty, she was also elected Miss Philippines of the leading national magazine, The Free Press. Dated 1925.

Rosario Hernandez Panganiban or Charing, holds the distinction of being the first ever girl to wear the Miss Pampanga title. Born on 30 May 1904 in Macabebe, Charing’s eye-catching beauty was apparent even in her college days when, in 1924, she was chosen as Miss Centro Escolar University of 1924. The next year, she was voted as Miss Philippine Free Press, chosen from over two thousand photographs of the most beautiful Filipinas of that time. Then, in the province’s 1st ever Carnival held in Angeles in 1925, Charing was named Miss Pampanga. At her coronation, she wore a crown of sampaguitas instead of traditional rhinestones and was feted around the town with a motorcade.

As Miss Pampanga, Rosario was sent to compete in the 1st National Beauty Contest of 1926, a parallel pageant of the Manila Carnival. Another Kapampangan from Tarlac, Isolina Palma was a fellow contender. The provincial candidates roomed with selected families in Manila for the duration of the contest activities. One of the official functions Rosario and the rest of the candidates attended was a tea danzant hosted by the Bachelors Club, held at the Hotel de Francia, then one of the premier hotels located at the corner of Avenida Rizal and Plaza Goiti.

An evening parade followed, with the beauties riding in flower-decorated cars. The motorcade wended its way through Avenida, Azcarraga, Legarda, Escolta, Taft Avenue until it reached its final destination, the Manila Grand Carnival Auditorium at the Luneta. Here, the candidates transferred to their own lighted “chariots”, each bearing the name of their respective provinces. They were then wheeled around the auditorium to be viewed by the crowd and the judges who rendered their decision in a secret balloting.

Thus, by this process, the very first ever Miss Philippines was chosen. The coveted title went to a Batangueña, Anita Noble. Miss Noble boasts of an illustrious pedigree with a score of patriots and heroes on both sides of her families that included the Agoncillos. (Three decades later, Anita’s daughter by Juan Nakpil, Edith Nakpil, would become Miss Philippines 1955). A separate title, Miss Pearl of the Orient Seas, was given to Zamboanga’s bet, Carmen Fargas, who tied twice with Miss Noble, going into the finals.

Rosario took her loss in stride as more exciting things were happening in her young life. While still a campus coed, Rosario found her true love in Vicente Salumbides, a budding filmographer from Lopez, Quezon. They met through Vicente’s niece, Nanita, who was a classmate of Rosario, then just recently-proclaimed campus queen. Salumbides studied acting and directing in Hollywood then later took up Law at the University of Southern California. In 1924, Vicente formed a movie production outfit together with Jose Nepomuceno.

When the Manila Carnival of 1926 ended, Vicente convinced some of the candidates to appear in his films—including Muslim princess and former Miss Cotabato, Sofia Lota (real name: Pinaganda Magadi Sinambal Malibatang). In a scene from the movie “Fate or Consequence”, Vicente had to engage Sofia in a passionate embrace. Rosario, who would also appear in Vicente’s next film, was livid. “When I saw you (Vicente) kissing Miss Cotabato”, Rosario recalled, I suffered the worst feeling of jealousy although we were not engaged at that time. I don’t want to experience another attack of that sort. It’s better to be away from temptation”.

She finally married the famed director in 1927 with Jacobo Fajardo and First Lady Dña. Aurora Aurora Quezon as sponsors (Later in 1939, Dña Aurora became a partner in Salumbides Film Co. Ltd.). Charing’s uncle, Don Emiliano J. Valdez walked the bride to the altar. The marriage was officiated by Rev. Fr. Selga (director of the Weather Bureau) at the Church of St. Vincent de Paul in Malate. Vicente filmed their wedding which became the basis of the movie, “The Soul Saver”, in reference to Charing’s conversion of the agnostic Vicente to Catholicism. Their union bore 8 children: Thelma (+), Vilma (+), Nida, Marlene (+), Ruby, Vicente Jr., Rizalina and Florante (+).

Certainly one of the most photographed beauties of her time, Rosario appeared in photo spreads on major Philippine magazines such as Liwayway. She was also featured in the Free Press Album of Filipina Beauties, a tribute to the country’s fairest ladies of 1926-27. A bust in her likeness was also cast in bronze by noted sculptor, Guillermo Tolentino. Rosario, our 1st Miss Pampanga, passed away on 14 September 1969.

It is interesting to note that a famous relation of Rosario is the actress Yolanda Marquez (Mary Hernandez in real life), who was a featured player in Salumbides’ “Milagro Ng Nazareno”. She is more popularly known as Mary Prieto.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

116.CEBU CARNIVAL QUEENS, 1914 – 1941, part II

Petite Evangelina was the daughter of the district engineer from Pangasinan who was assigned in Cebu. She was a pre-med intern and a cadet sponsor of Cebu Junior College, a branch of the U.P., at the time of her election. “Lily” as she was called, eventually moved to Manila to work as a doctor, where she met and married Diosdado Macapagal. His election as president of the Philippines in 1961 instantly made her into a First Lady.

“Bitoon sa Babaye” of 1932 was Socorro Zamora, an elementary and high school valedictorian of St. Catherine’s School, an exclusive girls’ school run by Belgian nuns. She was the unica hija of Ricardo Zamora and Maria Codilla of Ormoc. She enrolled at UST where she became a popular coed in her chemical engineering class. She then took up pre-law at Southern Colleges (now University of Southern Philippines). Tragically, she died during the bombing of Leyte in 1944.

The Velosos are a well-known clan from Malitbog, Leyte. Her consort was Bernardo Torres. She later married prominent physician Dr. Leonardo S. de Villa.

This multi-titled Chinese mestiza beauty swept all the beauty contests held in the 6 sitios of metropolitan Cebu. Maria was a popular high school student at Southern College at the time of the contest which also saw the election of her court: Julia MacVean (Miss Luzon), Julita Veloso Abad (Barili, Miss Visayas) and Daisy P. Hontiveros (Miss Mindanao, former Miss Capiz and future wife of national artist and film director, Lamberto Avellana).

The Noels are from Carcar, and earlier, the family had produced a beauty queen in the person of Amparo Noel, Queen of the Visayas. Known as “Clara Bow of Cebu”, Angeles studied at Cebu High School where she was known for her fashion flair and poise. Her consort was Eddie Molina, a dashing Philippine Military Academy graduate.

Daughter of former governor Jose Roa, and Apolonia Regis of Carcar, Carmen was a leading high society figure of Cebu. She was to die in a sea tragedy aboard s.s. Corregidor, which sank in Manila Bay on December 1941, just shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Twice named Miss Cebu by the Free Press (1937-38), Milagros was the oldest child of Ramiro Valenzuela and Josefina Dela Victoria. At her coronation, she was escorted by Manuel Urgello, whom she later married in 1939. They had five children: Adelwisa, Manuel Jr., Ernesto, Lucy and Roberto. Mila died in 1950.

Her co-winners include Valeriana Alducente (Miss Visayas and voted Miss Cebu 1936 by Free Press) who became a teacher at Abellana High School after the contest, and was married to Lorenzo Encomienda, former mayor of Lauban, Tayabas.

Daughter of Vicente Echavez of Aloguinsan, Cebu. At the time of the contest, she was a student at the Little Flower of Jesus Academy. She was escorted to her crowning by her brother, Vicente Jr., a lawyer. She eventually also married a lawyer who later became a judge in one of Cebu’s northern towns.

The only daughter of Paulino Gullas, a representative of the second district of Cebu. Se married her consort, Mike Jayme, who became a lawyer.

For the 1940 edition of the Cebu Carnival, two queens were chosen to reign over the festivities. The first was Cristina Aberasturi, a Spanish mestiza and an interna at the St. Catherine’s School in Carcar. Her court included: Milagros Lebumfacil (Toledo, Miss Luzon) who became the wife of Imelda Marcos’s elder brother; Amelia Tan Villanueva (Miss Visayas), already a gifted teacher when she joined the contest, and Soledad Misa (Cebu City, Miss Mindanao)

The 2nd Carnival Queen of Cebuin 1940 was another Spanish mestiza, Carmen Gonzales, dubbed as the “Deanna Durbin of Cebu”. She was a student of St. Theresa’s College, and she was attended to by her court of honor that included: Bernardita Tabada (Miss Luzon), Elena Borromeo Herrera (Miss Visayas) and Dolores Dineros (Miss Mindanao).

The impending war did not dampen the Carnival spirit of Cebuanos, for in 1941, two queens were again elected in one of the liveliest carnivals Cebu ever had—which was to be the province’s last. Nena Gonzales of Lahug got the crown of Cebu Carnival Queen.

Sharing the throne was Flordeliza P. Mancao, proclaimed Miss Labor Day, and especially chosen to reign over the Labor Day celebration. She was the daughter of Pedro Mancao and Sofia Panuncialman of Carcar. No less than the Mayor of Manila and Secretary of Labor, Leon Guinto, crowned her. She was escorted by Engr. Cesar Dakay. Three years after her reign, she married Dr. Rafel Ong of Capiz and was at one time a Home Economics teacher at the Carcar Central School.

115.CEBU CARNIVAL QUEENS, 1914 – 1931, part I

The Manila Carnival fever caught on not only in the provinces of Luzon but also in the cities down South—cascading down to Cebu which led the way in staging the most opulent spectacles outside of Manila. If Manila had Wallace Field as the venue, Fuente Osmeña was the original site of the Cebu carnival events. The carnival season in the Queen City of the South, it was said, rivalled those of Manila in terms of pageantry and presentation, and the royals who reigned over the festivities were no less beautiful and accomplished than the national winners.

The 1st ever Carnival in Cebu was held 6 years after the national Carnival. The winner, Enriqueta Aldanese belonged to the prominent Aldanese family from Sibonga, Cebu. She had also been the Dia del Español Queen (Spanish Day Queen) for that year. Later, in 1918, Enriqueta bagged the Manila Carnival Queen title, an even bigger honor that made her into a national figure. She eventually became the wife of Don Jose Paris, an engineer.


The second Cebu Carnival was held in 1917 and a beauty from Barili, Basilisa Abad, was chosen as Queen. She married a certain Dr. Atenzo and settled in Mindanao with her children.

Another Spanish mestiza from Parian was the winner of the 1918 Cebu Carnival crown—Rosario Llamas.



Angeles Climaco was the last queen to be crowned at Fuente Osmeña, the original site of the Cebu Carnivals. “Angeling” was the daughter of Don Arsenio Climaco, the provincial governor, and her mother was Dna. Juanita Osmeña. At her coronation, she was escorted by Nick Osmeña, eldest son of then National Assembly Speaker Sergio Osmeña, who was an active participant of the Manila Carnivals. Catalina Apacible, also that year’s Manila Carnival Queen winner, lent her crown for her to wear. Nene was then more than a dear friend of Perico Limjap, Sergio Osmeña’s brother-in-law, and would shortly become her husband. Angeles married Dr. Ildefonso Ubud, whom she outlived.

Angelic-faced Cecilia Michael was the queen-elect of the 1925 Cebu Carnival and was escorted by Francisco Racaza. She later married Rafael Ramos.

The 1927 winner , fondly called Encarnita, practically grew up in Manila and was the daughter of the Cebu provincial treasurer. Her consort was Victorino Climaco, the younger brother of Queen Angeles, and a pharmacist by profession.

In 1930, Jose Nolasco, the Director-General of the Cebu Carnival, lauched a city-wide search for the next queen. All the districts of Cebu fielded a delegate, making the contest more competitive. In the end, it was Ma. Consuelo Cabasa, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Juan Cabasa of Pasil district, who emerged victorious in the most spectacular edition of the carnival pageant. Her damas included: Maria del Mar (Parian) and Remedios Manlunas (Sambag). Consuelo, escorted by Paciano Reyes, had the distinction of being crowned by the 1930 Miss Philippines and her namesake, Monina Consuelo Acuña. She later became the bride of Capt. Gallardo of Bohol, but the couple remained childless.

The charming Concepcion Cuenco (b. 18 Feb. 1912), daughter of Sen. Mariano Jesus Cuenco and Filomena Alesna, reigned as the 1931 queen. Her consort was Dr. Protacio V. Solon. Concepcion also snagged the Miss Free Press Cebu titles two years in a row, in 1931 and 1932. She married Engr. Mariano F. Manguerra of Sta. Rosa, Laguna. Her 4 surviving children (Victoria, Mariano, Ana Maria, Cecilia Catalina) are all professionals. The youngest, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, is an accomplished Fil-Am author.

In that same carnival, another beauty was named “Bito-on sa Babaye”Rita V. Pañares, daughter of Bartolome Pañares and Manuela Villaflor of Barli. Rita was a valedictorian of her elementary and high school classes at Colegio dela Immaculada Concepcion At the University of the Philippines, she was a champion debater together with the 1929 Miss Philippines, Pacita delos Reyes. She married a UP professor, Atty. Alvarez.