Wednesday, February 29, 2012

205. Carnival Beauties: ROSARIO LUCES LUNA CAYETANO, 1926 Miss Marinduque

MARINDUQUE'S FIRST MISS. Rosario Cayetano, the first Miss Marinduque of 1926, as she appears in her official portrait at the Manila Carnival search for the first Miss Philippines, won by Anita Noble of Batangas.

Rosario Cayetano, the first Miss Marinduque, was born on 15 Oct. 1904, to Don Luciano Cayetano and Isabel Luces Luna of Gasan. She was the fifth child in a family of six daughters, namely, Trinidad, Amparo, Alicia, Clotilde and Hortencia. She also had a half-brother, Angelito Sevilla.

"Charito", as she was called, went to a local school in Gasan and earned her high school diploma from UP High. She was one of the first women from Marinduque to enroll at the state university for a degree in Pharmacy. In fact, it was at the U.P. that Charito, who had been reaping accolades for her beauty and charm since childhood, was picked to represent her province at the 1st National Beauty Contest of the Manila Carnival. At age 22, she competed for the first ever Miss Philippines crown against over 35 provincial bets. The title went to the Batangas beauty, Anita Noble.

LARDIZABAL-CAYETANO NUPTIALS. Rosario Cayetano and beau Cito Lardizabal, both provincemates, tied the knot on Christmas Day, 12 December 1927, a year after relinquishing her title. Photo courtesy of Agnes Lardizabal Apeles, daughter of Rosario Cayetano-Lardizabal.

After the contest, she went right back to finish her Pharmacy course. Just a year later, she married her beau, Jose "Cito" Ocampo Lardizabal of Boac, on Christmas day, 25 December 1927. Jose's striking looks and achievements mirrored Charito's own gifts and talents. The son of Severino Lardizabal and Aquilina Ocampo of Boac, Jose was a brilliant lawyer at the time of his union with fellow Marinduqueno, Charito.

Charito and Cito proved to be a pioneering "career" couple--she ran a pharmacy in Gasan, while he advanced rapidly through the ranks of the judicial branch of the Philippine government--from Justice of the Peace in Gasan to Provincial Fiscal of Quezon Province.

The Lardizabals had eight daughters and one son: Esperanza, Norma (+), Linda (+), Nilda, Clemencia, Jose (+), Milagros, Agnes and Rosario. Interestingly, Agnes and Clemencia had Carnival beauties as godmothers--Mercedes de Jesus, Miss Marinduque of 1927 (for Agnes) and Aurora Reyes-Recto (for Clemencia), Miss Visayas 1926--whom Cito escorted in the 1926 pageant. Only son Jose "Joey" Lardizabal became a well-known TV-radio personality and and award-winning talk show host, appearing with Elvira Manahan on “Two for the Road” and hosting “The Morning Show” on ABS-CBN Channel 3, before he died of cancer on January 1971 at age 30.

A 2002 calendar designed and printed by family members of the Cayetano-Lardizabal family to honor the life and legacy of a remarkable 98 year old Marinduquena, Rosario Cayetano, Miss Marinduque 1926. Photo courtesy of Mrs. Agnes Lardizabal-Apeles.

After Cito's death from coronary thrombosis in 1963, Charito moved to the family home in Makati while the rest of the children completed their education. In 1978, Charito immigrated to the U.S. after daughter Agnes's petition was approved. From 1978 to Sept. 2003, she lived in Los Angeles, California. Having worked all her life, Charito finally took up a hobby after her arrival in the U.S.--playing the slot machines in Las Vegas!

Charito lived to see her children settle down, raise their own families while pursuing successful careers in the U.S., Canada, Europe and the Philippines. She died two weeks short of her 99th birthday on 29 September 2003 in Harbor City, California. At the time of her death, she had 19 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren.

The life of Rosario Cayetano has spanned two continents and nearly the entire 20th century. She is remembered as a strong, vibrant force in the lives of her children, grandchildren, descendants and extended family members--her greatest source of pride. Their lives continue to reflect her unique character and values, which by doing so, also continue to bring honor to her name.

(Many thanks to Mrs. Agnes Lardizabal-Apeles of Calabasa, California, daughter of Miss Marinduque 1926, Rosario Cayetano-Lardizabal, for the wedding picture of her parents and for the biographical sketch of her mother)

No comments: